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Cornwall campuses


Environmental sustainability and climate change are probably the greatest issues facing humankind in the twenty first century: they are a major focus of Exeter’s research and teaching activities and a key responsibility for the staff and students at our University.

The University declared an environment and climate emergency in 2019 and in April 2022, based on support and input from students and staff, the University brought forward its carbon net zero target.

The new target covers direct emissions (known as Scope 1 & 2) and – crucially – also includes Scope 3 (all other indirect emissions caused by the University's activities, such as purchases).

We are actively working to ensure we meet these ambitious targets in Cornwall. This includes our Exeter owned facilities and our shared provision in Truro and Penryn. Our targets differ to our partners, but we still intend to meet our 2030 net zero targets for our portion of the facilities and services we share with our partners.  

Our approach to meeting net zero

The approach we are taking is based around three steps:

  • Reduce – this is our top priority and includes for example cutting unnecessary purchases and reducing travel
  • Low carbon – using low-emission options for necessary activities
  • Natural offsetting – when the above two options have been exhausted.

Carbon offsetting is a contentious topic in the net-zero discussion. The University’s approach is to prioritise natural assets that contribute to carbon sequestration as well as improving other areas of natural capital (the benefits of nature), including biodiversity and social wellbeing.

The main themes of our sustainability work are buildings, travel, waste and recycling, food and drink, procurement, biodiversity, digital, changes to teaching and changes to culture.

Here are a few examples of our actions so far.