Climate Action Framework Principles

Keele's Climate Action Framework Principles set out the whole University approach we will take in order to reach net zero carbon by 2030, and tackle the climate crisis through research, education, our own carbon emissions, the use of our land and estate, and through university partnerships and governance.

Our Climate Action Framework Principles builds on our Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy commitments which set out our objectives to embed sustainability in all that we do and how we endeavour to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Our climate action framework aims to ensure that we:

  1. Produce our own low carbon energy on site
  2. Reduce our carbon emissions throughout all areas of our activities and operations across scopes 1,2 and 3
  3. Remove carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere by maximising the use of our natural environment to increase the drawdown of carbon and maximise its long-term storage in our plants and vegetation.

Through the Climate Action Framework principles, Keele University commits to the following actions.

To achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030, which includes our campus operational emissions (scopes 1 and 2) and indirect emissions such as commuting, business travel and procurement (scope 3), building in the processes to measure these emissions in a meaningful way, and ensuring decisions around the university estate are made with a net zero future in mind.

Have world-leading research in environmental and social sustainability supporting the transition to the net zero carbon economy and enable students, researchers and innovators to use the campus as a genuine ‘living laboratory’ for climate action research and innovation projects, as well as raising public awareness. We must also commit to considering and acting upon the carbon and wider sustainability impacts of how we do our research.

Ensuring that all our students from Foundation year to Postgraduate Research students have climate-related learning embedded into their programmes of study and working with the Students’ Union, into co- and hidden curriculum opportunities, empowering them as future leaders to contribute to achieving a net zero society both now and in the future. We also commit to delivering pedagogically innovative teaching practices to reduce carbon emissions.

Ensuring there is clear leadership and governance for implementation of the Climate Action Framework principles, with climate (and wider sustainability considerations) a key requirement of decision making processes and built into university governance at all levels, with climate-related actions a key area of responsibility for all managers and leaders of Schools and Directorates.

Ensure that supporting a net zero carbon society and economy is a key requirement in all University investments and funding decisions, including working with other stakeholders such as pension providers.

Have a strategy for international engagement and partnerships that supports a net zero carbon transition.

Engage with staff, students and the wider community to support behavioural and cultural changes to reduce carbon emissions and ensure our climate actions are inclusive and contribute to the health and wellbeing of our staff, students and wider society.

Communicate to our key partners on our climate action commitments and encourage collaborations on transitioning to a net zero carbon society and economy. Ensure our communications raise public understanding and engagement with the climate emergency and urgent need for action.

Managing and making decisions on the natural resources of our estate to maximise the drawdown of atmospheric CO2 and enable its long-term storage within our soils and vegetation, and consider the carbon implications of any disturbance to soils and vegetation.

Ensure that the university’s climate emergency commitments are a regular part of university communication, to ensure engagement and leadership throughout the university.

Seek to ensure and communicate co-benefits between the Climate Action Framework and links to other agendas, for example the benefits to well-being, and links to decolonisation of the curriculum, race equality, global citizenship, and impact; as well as to deal transparently with tensions such as international travel and recruitment.

Implementation and Reporting Progress

The University Executive and University Leadership Group will ensure that our Climate Action Framework principles are communicated and reported at all levels of the University and that our commitments towards a transition to a zero carbon economy and society is embedded within governance structures.

We have identified priority actions to deliver our Climate Action Framework principles:

  • Develop a costed Net Zero Carbon Reduction Plan by the end of 2021 for renovation of our estate and operations, including an evidence-based carbon trajectory that will enable us to track our progress and keep within our ‘carbon budget’, in line with the Paris Agreement objectives (while working to reduce our emissions as we develop the plan).
  • Improve the data quality relating to the University’s carbon emissions, recognising that this is a strategic tool to understand, track and systematically reduce our carbon footprint.
  • Support our Schools and Directorates to develop their own plans and actions for achieving our net zero target.
  • Deliver Carbon Literacy training to the University Leadership Group and other key staff as well as further roll-out to wider staff and students.
  • Develop a climate emergency consultation process including development of a staff and student ‘citizen assembly’ on the climate emergency, alongside other forms of on-going participation.

Implementation and progress against our Climate Action Framework principles will be monitored and reported at the University Environment and Sustainability Steering Group (ESSG). Progress against our targets and implications to the university’s decision making will be reported on a six-monthly basis to University Executive Committee, University Leadership Group, Senate and Council.