The University of Salford joins the Race to Zero campaign

Categories: Schools

The University of Salford shows commitment to a zero-carbon future by joining the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) climate campaign – Race to Zero.

Race to Zero is a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth. The objective is to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonized economy ahead of COP26, where governments must strengthen their contributions to the Paris Agreement. This will send governments a resounding signal that we are united in meeting the Paris goals and creating a more inclusive and resilient economy.

Joining the campaign is an opportunity for the University to demonstrate its commitment to carbon reduction and the Net Zero Carbon agenda. Our first Carbon Management Plan, launched in 2011, had a target to reduce scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 43% by September 2020 compared to a 2005/06 baseline. That target was surpassed, with a 70% reduction achieved by the end of the academic year 2018/19. The current objectives are to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 81% by 2030, with Net Zero Carbon achieved by 2038, in line with the Greater Manchester carbon reduction strategy. This commitment forms part of the University’s Environmental Sustainability Plan, Striving for a Sustainable Salford.

Huw Williams, Chief Operating Officer at the University of Salford said: “We recognise our responsibility, and our opportunity, to have a positive impact on society. We’ve always played a major role in improving the lives of our local communities, and today we take this challenge more seriously than ever. In addition, we have a responsibility to enable our students and staff to contribute to a sustainable world and fully recognise our responsibility to address the direct negative impacts of our own operations.”

By becoming a Race to Zero signatory, the University of Salford has joined 732 Higher and Further Education institutions, representing 9,308,943 students, in a commitment to:

  • Pledge: Pledge at the head-of-organisation level to reach (net) zero GHGs as soon as possible, and by mid-century at the latest, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5C. Set an interim target to achieve in the next decade, which reflects maximum effort toward or beyond a fair share of the 50% global reduction in CO2 by 2030 identified in the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5degC 
  • Plan: Within 12 months of joining, explain what actions will be taken toward achieving both interim and longer-term pledges, especially in the short- to medium-term. 
  • Proceed: Take immediate action toward achieving (net) zero, consistent with delivering interim targets specified.
  • Publish: Commit to report publicly both progress against interim and long-term targets, as well as the actions being taken, at least annually. 

Jason Challender, Director of Estates and Facilities at the University of Salford said: Joining the campaign demonstrates our commitment to climate action and becoming Net Zero Carbon by 2038. As a higher education institution, we recognise our responsibility to help students become future leaders equipped with the skills and knowledge to respond to the climate crisis. By becoming a Race to Zero signatory, we strengthen our dedication to building on what we have already achieved and taking action to become a sustainable, resilient organisation by meeting our ambitious but achievable targets.”

The University is also a member of the COP26 Universities Network and has a number of academics on the Directory of Experts for their climate related research. One of the experts, Professor Andy Miah, Chair in Science Communication & Future Media said: This is an incredibly important moment for the university sector and COP26 has mobilised us to level-up in so many ways. From greater political engagement on climate action to re-imagining education around climate priorities, we're really making big changes and the Race to Zero is another crucial step in our journey towards a sustainable future. Our involvement with the landmark Climate Exp0 conference and the ActNowFilm campaign to hear stories from young people from all over the world has given us remarkable insight into what the next generation expect from leadership and what they want for their future.”

Find out more information about environmental sustainability at the University of Salford.

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