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People and Planet University League logo against a plain background

We’re celebrating our highest ever position in the 2023/24 People and Planet University league table.

The University has been placed 26 out of 151 UK universities ranked, based on institutional sustainability and ethics criteria. The placing has gained us a ‘first class’ accolade from People and Planet.

This achievement comes swiftly on the back of Durham’s success in the 2024 QS World University Rankings for Sustainability, having been placed 19 out of 1,403 universities globally and fifth best in the UK. 

Significant steps forward

Durham earned top marks in the People and Planet ranking for our commitments to Environmental Policy and Strategy.

This success is down to various initiatives, including the implementation of our formal environmental management system, ethical investment practices, and sustainable food policies.

In recent years, we've taken significant steps forward in sustainability.

We launched a new Sustainability Ambition Statement with two key targets: achieving net zero carbon by 2035 and biodiversity net gain by 2032. Our Biodiversity Strategy sets targets for gaining biodiverse habitats across the University estate in the next decade.

We've also signed the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Accord, aligning the SDGs with our research, teaching, student experience, and global activities.

The Greenspace Movement

The Greenspace Movement is our identity for environmental sustainability at Durham. Under this banner we have initiatives including our My Greenspace App, the Greenspace Calendar, and the annual Greenspace Festival. The Greenspace Movement brings together students, staff, and external partners, with the aim of small acts making a big difference.

The My Greenspace app gives the chance for students and staff to earn points for positive actions, with the most sustainable users awarded vouchers and the opportunity to choose charity donations, encouraging everyone at the University to contribute to a more sustainable future.

Looking ahead

Our vision is to ensure Durham delivers excellence in education, research, and the overall student experience in the most sustainable way possible.

We’re actively working to minimise our environmental impact, and this has been reflected in our achievements this year.

We’ve been awarded £1.13m Salix funding to help reduce our emissions across the estate; we were awarded a Green Gown Award in the Nature Positive category for our new Biodiversity Strategy and we circulated over 10 tonnes of material to charity in the successful Green Move Out scheme.

Looking ahead, we’ll be launching a new Environmental Sustainability Annual Report to celebrate our achievements over the last year. We’ll be installing 500 kW of Solar PV across our estate at the start of 2024 and we’re working on a decarbonisation strategy to help set a direction towards achieving Net Zero.

We’ll continue to engage with staff, students, and the wider community to get involved with the MyGreenspace community, initiatives and events.

Find out more