A new strategy published on 28 January 2010 by HEFCE demonstrates higher education’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions. Universities and colleges have a key role to play in tackling climate change. They have the opportunity and responsibility to lead through their teaching and research activities as well reducing their campus emissions. The agreed strategy sets out ambitious sector-level targets to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 and by at least 34 per cent by 2020, against a 1990 baseline. Meeting these targets will be challenging and will require commitment, innovation and collaboration. Institutions are called on to contribute to these targets by reducing their own emissions.
Published by the HEFCE, Universities UK and GuildHE the strategy secured strong support through consultation (HEFCE 2009/27) and sets out areas where HEFCE will work with higher education institutions and other partners to achieve carbon reductions. It aims to focus efforts in areas that offer the greatest carbon reduction return and identify issues that need further action.
HEIs are required to have carbon management plans and HEFCE will link future capital funding to carbon performance. To assist institutions HEFCE have also published good practice guidance on developing carbon management plans. This complements existing guidance and sets out what HEFCE’s requirements are in this area.
The World Resource Institute developed a classification of emission sources around three ‘scopes’:
– scope 1 emissions are direct emissions that occur from sources owned or controlled by the organisation, for example emissions from combustion in owned or controlled boilers/furnaces/vehicles
– scope 2 accounts for emissions from the generation of purchased electricity consumed by the organisation
– scope 3 covers all other indirect emissions which are a consequence of the activities of the organisation, but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the organisation – for example, commuting and procurement.
‘Carbon reduction target and strategy for higher education in England’ (HEFCE 2010/01).
‘Carbon management strategies and plan: a guide to good practice’ (HEFCE 2010/02).
‘Capital Investment Framework: consultation on the assessment process’ (HEFCE 2009/48).