Environment and sustainability

We are facing a global environmental crisis and the University of Hertfordshire is taking definitive action to respond to this challenge.

With almost 3,000 staff, 30,000 students and a campus covering over 200 hectares, we are committed to not only reducing the environmental impact of our estate and the University’s activities, but also to championing a sustainable mindset across our communities, embedding the principles of sustainability as a recurring green thread across our institution - and beyond.

Our impacts, aims and objectives are aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals Framework. While our main focus is on environmental considerations, as a university we work collaboratively across all Schools of Study and business departments across the University to ensure a holistic and inclusive approach to sustainability.

Our commitments at Herts

To mitigate the environmental footprint of the University’s activities and operations, our Environment and Sustainability Framework is set around four key impact areas: climate change, biodiversity, waste and resource management, and sustainable communities.

We’ve made several commitments relating to these four impact areas. As set out in our Environmental Policy, we’re committed to:

  • Preventing pollution
  • Complying with environmental legislation
  • Striving for continual improvement
  • Reducing our impact on the climate by becoming Net Zero by 2050
  • Protecting and enhancing biodiversity
  • Reducing the impact of our waste and resources utilisation
  • Building a sustainable community through education, student experience, research, enterprise, and global engagement.

Our pathways to sustainability

We take a targeted and holistic approach to sustainability that’s embedded across the university by bringing together our stakeholders, including staff, students, the local community, businesses and partners, as well as action plans from across the university.

Our four pathways reflect the scope of our impact, reach and influence, and provide a framework for delivering our environment and sustainability aims and objectives.

Our performance so far

While the past two years have been an an opportunity to reassess how we use our spaces and buildings and how sustainability can be incorporated into our future planning and strategy, we've continued to deliver on our environment and sustainability commitments and ambitions.

Some of our key recent achievements and successes include:

  • 20% reduction in carbon emissions (2018-19 - 2021-22)
  • 21% reduction in water consumption (2018-19 - 2021-22)
  • Over 100 members of staff trained in Carbon Literacy
  • The launch of Herts' first ever sustainability-focused Research and Development Accelerator.

Find out more about our performance so far in our Environment and Sustainability Annual Report 2021-22.

Get involved