Solar panels on the cricket centre 

Exeter 'leading the way' on carbon targets

The University of Exeter's carbon reduction targets are among the most ambitious set by UK universities and colleges, according to rankings published by Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK).

The rankings – which place Exeter third among Russell Group universities and 14th in the higher education sector – suggest the University is one of those "leading the way".

Since declaring an environment and climate emergency in 2019, the Universityhas created a comprehensive plan to cut carbon emissions and improve the environment on its campuses and beyond.

A plan to reach net-zero is now in place, setting out how emissions will be cut by 30% by 2025 (relative to 2018/19) – then 60% by 2030 and 100% by 2050 at the very latest.

"The environment and climate emergency agenda at the University of Exeter extends to every student and colleague, and seeks to engage the community and the wider region," said Dr Emma Page, Head of Environment and Climate Emergency at the University of Exeter.

"The programme of initiatives under way is supported by senior leaders with environment and climate emergency policy commitments, across colleges developing climate action plans and by investment in discreet carbon-saving and low-carbon alternative activities and decisions.

"In addition, we have launched a joint Student Societies Sustainability Alliance forum to work with academics, students and professional service colleagues to drive action and create a positive action programme.

"We are just at the beginning of our journey and every step counts, however large and small.

"We are on our way to net zero."

Exeter currently scores 82 out of 100 in SOS-UK's rankings for: "How ambitious is your institution?"

It scores full marks for addressing all aspects of its carbon footprint – including "scope three", which are indirect emissions caused by the University's actions, such as purchasing of goods.

Exeter also scores the maximum for taking a "science-based approach" and including staff and student representation in the process of setting targets.

The University has produced videos outlining its commitments on climate and the environment: see the overview here: and the full video here:

Date: 15 February 2021

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