Sustainable UCL


Carbon Accountability Scheme

In response to the Climate Emergency UCL has committed to be a zero carbon institution by 2030. To support action at the departmental level, which will be needed to deliver this commitment, we have developed a Carbon Accountability Scheme for UCL.

The scheme brings together elements of carbon pricing and behavioural support to reduce carbon emissions from buildings and operations. Fifteen departments are taking part in the pilot in the academic year 2019/20, to determine how this might be implemented across UCL.

The scheme was designed by a group of researchers and professional services staff from the Institute of Sustainable Resources, the Centre for Behaviour Change, the Energy Institute and UCL Sustainability, Finance and Estates. Following the pilot a full evaluation will be undertaken of the scheme to inform a future UCL wide roll-out.

How does the scheme work?

The scheme is comprised of three parts:

1. A financial incentive to encourage departments to reduce their emissions

Each department has been set a carbon reduction target (compared to the previous year). If the department improves on the target they will receive an income for every tonne of carbon saved; if they miss the target they will pay a charge for every tonne that the target is missed by.

2. Transparency of departmental carbon performance

Building level energy metering is available across the campus, and departments are regularly updated on their carbon performance throughout the year.

3. Tailored support to identify opportunities to improve carbon performance

Departments receive support from Sustainable UCL to reduce carbon emissions – to identify key areas where energy is being wasted and then understand what action can be taken.

Which departments are taking part in the scheme?

  • Archaeology

  • Bartlett School of Environment Energy and Resources

  • Division of Biosciences

  • Chemical Engineering

  • Chemistry

  • Electrical Engineering

  • History

  • Institute of Women's Health

  • LAWS

  • Mechanical Engineering

  • Division of Medicine

  • School of Pharmacy

  • Psychology and Language Sciences

  • School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies

What happens to the charges from the scheme?

Carbon will be priced at £30/tonne – the Social Cost of Carbon (set by UK Government and designed to reflect the environmental and social costs of those emissions). All charges will be ring-fenced for carbon saving activity at UCL, which participating departments will be able to bid into.

To join the scheme, please get in touch with Sustainable UCL