This is a complex topic. In a nutshell Net zero means not adding any overall emissions to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. To achieve this goal, the University will need to eliminate, reduce, or mitigate emissions associated with its activities. We label carbon emissions according to whether they are produced directly (such as gas use) or indirectly (such as the energy used in producing something that we buy).
Put very simply:
- Scopes 1 and 2 (directly controlled) – Mainly buildings and vehicles (owned by UoL) – gas, oil, diesel, petrol, refrigerant gas, heat, steam, and electricity use
- Scope 3 (indirectly controlled) – Mainly humans – what we use (such as waste produced) and buy
Our net zero plus plan commits the University to reach net zero (all scopes) by 2040. However, how we get there is important as early action reduces cumulative emissions and can significantly reduce our overall negative impact.
The University of Leicester is unusually ambitious as we include all scopes within our net zero target:
- If we cause it, we report it
- If we pay for it, we count it under net zero (if it’s in our financial statement, we include it in the net zero target).
Offsetting our carbon emissions is not yet a strategic priority whilst our focus is on reduction emissions, although we are a member of the Carbon Coalition to enable colleagues to offset relevant research activities where appropriate.
- Our initial focus will be to establish the sequestration (carbon absorption) baseline (and therefore potential) of our green space
- We are one of ten universities taking part in the pilot Habitable science research challenge.
Net zero roadmap
The following areas are important as we embark on this journey: