Each month, academic, professional services and student sustainability leaders come together to discuss the ongoing sustainability work across the University.
Each member of the Sustainability Delivery Group is responsible for organising, resourcing and delivering cross-cutting sustainability projects and embedding sustainable values throughout the institution. The breadth of departments represented allows the group to ensure a joined-up approach across the University.
In March, Delivery Group members came together to discuss the latest projects that each member was working on across the University.
Developing Green Impact
To begin with, the Delivery Group considered proposals to develop Green Impact. Green Impact is a staff sustainability scheme supported nationally by SOS-UK (formerly part of the NUS). At Sheffield, Green Impact has been supported by the University’s Estates department for over ten years. In this time, it has engaged hundreds of staff members as well as training student project assistants and auditors.
Sustainability Projects Assistant Alice Potter, presented proposals to grow Green Impact, to help maintain continuity in the scheme over time and for Green Impact to support the University’s central sustainability work. Proposals ranged from communicating success stories more effectively through to the creation of departmental-specific action plans to drive ambitious sustainability actions in high achieving departments. The Delivery Group welcomed the proposals and supported the suggestion to consult amongst Green Impact teams for their ideas on the scheme’s development.
Sustainability action plan
Next, the group reviewed the University wide sustainability action plan. This action plan is being developed as part of the University’s sustainability strategy which will be published alongside the new University-wide vision.
The group welcomed the proposal to make the action plan ‘live’. This means that sustainability activities will be updated at regular intervals following the latest policies and responding to the demands of staff and student communities. Actions within the plan are a collation of ongoing work driven by the Delivery Group as well as plans for the coming years.
Four academic-led task and finish groups are currently working to produce the longer term science-based targets for decarbonisation to create a pathway for the University to become carbon neutral. Once launched, the action plan will incorporate these proposals as they are approved during regular review and update processes.
Regional sustainability project
Finally, the group listened to the latest updates from Rob Hardie, Sustainability Project Officer working on the best ways that the University can engage with partners locally and in the wider region. There is enormous energy and appetite from civil society, anchor institutions, the private sector and in political circles to act upon environmental issues. The University can add value to this enthusiasm by communicating its expertise and providing the systems level thinking that can support meaningful sustainability action.
Note: This meeting took place before the rapid development of the coronavirus situation. As a result, any timescales mentioned are no longer valid.