Sustainable UCL


Environmental Sustainability Management System

UCL’s Environmental Sustainability Management System (ESMS) provides a structured framework for managing our sustainability impacts in a way that is integrated into our operations.

It takes into account the things that UCL is required to do because of legislation/ regulations as well as the things UCL chooses to do (such as increasing biodiversity on campus). The system therefore supports the delivery of UCL’s Sustainability Strategy and enables all individuals to contribute towards its objectives.

ISO 14001?

ISO 14001 is the international standard that specifies requirements for an effective Environmental Sustainability Management System. It provides a framework that an organisation can follow, rather than establishing environmental performance requirements. It is developed by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO)

Continuous Improvement

UCL built its ESMS since 2010 and has now acheived certification to the latest 2015 standard of ISO14001,.

A key component of any management system is continuous improvement. Therefore to maintain certification, UCL is required to improve environmental sustainability performance year on year.


UCL has recently also implemented an Energy Management System (EnMS), and certified to ISO 50001.   

Who is responsible?

We are all responsible for the environmental impacts of the University:

The University Senior Management provides leadership around ESMS. UCL Sustainability Team manages the system and offers support to university staff with regards to their ESMS responsibilities. All staff in UCL departments and Professional Services will have responsibilities for managing their impacts. We expect all staff to support our work by implementing and championing new ESMS operational procedures and environmental best practice​​​​​​

Sustainability Policy

Our Sustainability Policy, which is endorsed by the Provost, is the core of our system. Visit our Policy and Strategy page to find out more

Audit Programme

To ensure successful implementation of the ESMS, UCL sustainability Team conduct an audit programme. This consists of investigating compliance areas, such as waste management, energy reduction and procurement. Additionally, the programme includes auditing of selected departments. Any department could be selected, therefor it’s essential that all departments are able to demonstrate how they are addressing their environmental and sustainability impacts.

A typical departmental audits consists of a site visit and sit down conversation. Findings are presented in an audit report. As well as checking our progress under the ISO standard, the audits present departments an opportunity to:


  • Understand the overall aims of Sustainable UCL Strategy 2019 - 2024
  • Advice on current and upcoming environmental legislation
  • If your department would like to find out more or have an audit conducted, please contact alexander.jones@ucl.ac.uk
  • Explore how Sustainability Team can support you to make necessary changes and areas for improvement
  • Identify and capture best practice
Audit Programme Question Set

Download UCL's Internal Audit Programme question set.

Supporting Programmes

Many departments choose to take part in UCL's Green Impact Programme, while lab groups can use LEAF. These accreditation and award schemes are all about staff and students working together in their departments to improve their environmental and sustainability performance. Results from these programmes are utilised by UCL's ESMS.