Sustainable UCL


Positive Climate

UCL is engaged in a vast array of climate related research and teaching, but whilst this work makes a positive contribution to society, we cannot ignore the impact that our operations have on the climate. In 2019, UCL ambitiously committed to achieving net zero-carbon by 2030 and to reduce energy by 40%.

An Institution-wide approach

UCL initially focused on reducing scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions, resulting in a reduction of 33% since 2010. UCL is now working hard on reducing carbon emissions across the whole university, including all our direct and indirect impacts (scope 1, 2 and 3).

What does this include?

Scope 1

Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions produced by UCL using gas, fuel, refrigerants, and VOCs. These fuels are used to generate heating and hot water for over 200 buildings and for some experiments within our research facilities. 

They total 22,683 tonnes of CO2e in 2021-22.

*CO2e is a measurement for all greenhouse gases including methane, nitrous oxide, and others contribute to the greenhouse effect and global warming.

Scope 2

Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from electricity that we purchase to power our equipment such as our lighting, computers, and scientific equipment and to provide cooling and ventilation.

They total 22,989 tonnes of CO2e in 2021-22.  

*CO2e is a measurement for all greenhouse gases including methane, nitrous oxide, and others contributing to the greenhouse effect and global heating.

Scope 3

Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions from everything else the university does, like all the things we purchase from tables and chairs, to research equipment, as well as from the waste we produce, travel, commuting, investments and water consumed.

Scope 3 emissions are the trickiest emissions to measure, as we rely on our suppliers for data. We have partnered with a company specialising in measuring scope 3 emissions to improve our data with a particular focus on emissions from products and services. Our existing scope 3 data for 2021/22 is in development but indictates that emissions from water and waste are 327 tCO2e and emissions from business travel are 8,170 tCO2e.

*CO2e is a measurement for all greenhouse gases including methane, nitrous oxide, and others contributing to the greenhouse effect and global heating.

Reducing carbon at UCL

A UCL Carbon Reduction Framework is in development and will be published in 2024. This will have renewed carbon reduction targets across scopes 1, 2 and 3 based on new and improved data, and a renewed Carbon Management Plan for the estate.

In the meantime, please see our programmes below on how we are reducing carbon across the university from procurement, to travel and energy reduction. 

Using insight from our research is at the heart of our carbon reduction. Learn about our new Grand Challenge on Climate linking academic research with carbon reduction on campus

> Grand Challenge on Climate

Positive Climate case studies 

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Sustainability Bond

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UCL's Sustainability Bond is guided by a Sustainability Finance Framework. The £300 million raised will support the implementation of the Zero Carbon Plan. It will be invested in green buildings, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. 

> UCL Sustainability Bond

Carbon Data for your building

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We’d love your help to reduce our energy use and so we’ve made detailed carbon and energy data available for each of our buildings. To gain access please connect to the Fabriq platform using UCL_Energy_Data as username and password. 

> Access Fabriq