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Annual Report

Our 2020/21 environmental sustainability report summarises our performance against our environmental objectives and commitments, and shows our progress towards embedding good environmental practices across all areas of our operations

This report details our recent performance and provides insight into proposed initiatives that would be implemented during the 2021/22 academic year to support the delivery of our Environmental Sustainability Action Plan 2020-23 (ESAP 2020-23).

The highlights of our performance during the year under review are:

  • Environmental Sustainability Performance: The approval of our environmental sustainability action plan (ESAP 2020-23) and Environmental Sustainability Policy 2020 by our Senior Executive Team (SET) are part of our immediate responses to the current environmental challenges. Our Environmental Sustainability Policy sets our environmental vision and the ESAP 2020-23 is the framework against which we are delivering our environmental commitments and objectives. We moved up 47 places from being ranked 83 (Second Class Lower) in 2019 to 36 (Second Class Upper) in the 2021 People & Planet’s League Sustainability League Table. The People & Planet League Table is the only comprehensive and independent assessment of the environmental and ethical performance of UK universities and colleges.


  • Environmental Management System (ISO 14001:2015 EMS): We are currently using the EcoCampus phased approach to implementing ISO 14001:2015 environmental management system (EMS) and to monitor and report our environmental performance. We are pleased to report that we were awarded EcoCampus Gold award during the year under review and we working towards attaining ISO 14001:2015 EMS and EcoCampus Platinum certification by July 2022.


  • Environmental Sustainability Leadership and Research: We were ranked 5th in the UK for quality of research outputs (REF 2014) and the impact of our pioneering research, innovation and partnerships is helping to address the world’s greatest challenges and to transform the lines of people across the globe. We have also continued to use our Graduate Attributes programme to empower our students to become active citizens and leaders who will contribute to addressing the current and emerging environmental challenges.


  • Civic University and UN Sustainable Development Goals: We are currently actively involved and collaborating with local, sectoral and wider partners to deliver evidence-based good environmental outcomes, optimise resources as well as share good practices. We are also using the EAUC’s sustainability leadership scorecard (SLS) to monitor our performance towards embedding the principles of the UN SDGs into all areas of our operations. During the year under review, we attained Gold SLS status for most areas, and we will continue to work towards maintaining this performance and improving in areas where we attained Silver.


  • Students’ Union: The Students’ Union has been classified as excellent for three years running in the Green Impact audit and during the year under review it has also now established a Sustainability Board.


  • Carbon Reduction and Responding to Climate Change: The national and international restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic significantly skewed our current performance. Our 2020/21 business travel carbon footprint reduced by 96% compared to our 2018/19 baseline. Our carbon footprint (CO2e) reduced by 47.4% from 26,857 tCO2e during the 2018/19 academic year to 14,138 tCO2e at the end of the year under review.


  • Building Energy Use: We are pleased to report that projects implemented from the £2.46 million energy efficiency loan from Salix (at 0% interest rate) are at advanced completion and commissioning stages. We also successfully attracted a £124,399.20 grant to develop our heat decarbonisation plan (HDP). This HDP will be fundamental to developing our net zero strategy.


  • Water Use: We recorded a 39.8% reduction (from 345,588 m3 to 208,032 m3) in water used across our residential and non-residential buildings compared to our 2018/19 based. This reduction could be attributed to the partial operation of our campuses, again because of the pandemic.


  • Waste Management and Resource Efficiency: Most of the data used to generate our waste management and recycling performances were based on standard industry benchmark. The total waste reported to have been generated from our three main campuses reduced by 52%.


  • Construction and Refurbishment: During the year under review, we secured an investment of £152,692 to install photovoltaic panels and improve the roof of the Queens’ building (one of the buildings that was refurbished during the 2020/21 academic year). We are pleased to report the fit-out of our Department W building achieved the Ska rating of Gold.


  • Biodiversity: During the year under review, our Grounds and Gardens Team delivered a suite of gardening workshops with staff and students and initiated the creation of an orchard across our Mile End Campus. As part of our response to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, we planted six Black Poplar trees. Black Poplars are among Britain’s rarest tree species.


  • Sustainable Procurement: We are pleased to report that 98% of our contractors and suppliers (total spend of £59.29 million) currently have an Environmental Management System (EMS), and that 80.7% of these 49 contractors and suppliers had certified ISO 14001:2015 EMS.


  • Embedding Environmental Sustainability: We have continued to promote the benefits of embedding education for sustainable development (ESD) into all our academic offering. We are pleased to report that 62% of the 138 undergraduate programmes we offer have some elements of ESD and the principles of sustainable development. Our online module on sustainable development had 454 updates during the year under review and 109 professional services and academic staff attended the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) environmental sustainability skills for the workforce. Furthermore, our Environmental Sustainability Champion group that we launched during the 2020/21 academic have continued to be actively involved in promoting the benefits of good environmental practices.

The full Environmental Sustainability Annual Report 2020-21 is available below. 

Please contact if you have any questions. 

Queen Mary Environmental Sustainability Annual Report 2020-21 [PDF 459KB]

Queen-Mary-Environmental-Sustainability-Annual-Report-2019-20 [PDF 422KB]



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