Sheffield Hallam University Interim Statement: Environmental Policy, Supporting Environmental Plan, Actions and Positioning – June 2021
Sheffield Hallam University was due to release its new Environmental Policy and supporting Plan 2020 to 2030 in August 2020, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting move to remote working and exceptional enforced changes to the University’s educational and business delivery in an unprecedented situation, development of the new plan has been inevitably delayed. It is now clear that to enable necessary strategic planning and development to take place, that fully embeds and aligns essential environmental sustainability with the University’s future strategy and direction, the replacing policy and plan publication and launch will now take place in January 2022. This new timescale will fully align with the University’s annual planning cycle and the continued external certification, now in excess of 9 years, to the internationally recognised ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) and ISO 50001 (Energy Management) standards.
The existing Environmental Policy has been extended, to ensure that the commitment and endeavours to reduce our key environmental impacts will continue despite these extenuating circumstances. A review of the Environmental Policy conducted in April 2020 confirmed that the highest risk environmental impacts identified in the Policy remain the highest risks and should be the continued focus for the time being. Activities currently underway to manage these, where feasible, will be undertaken and quarterly monitoring will continue.
The Policy will be revised again, to include the outputs of the Future Strategy workstreams, Hallam Values and the Zero Carbon Group, as well as any additionally identified or updated risks and launched alongside a new Environmental Plan in Jan. 2022, which will set measurable and ambitious targets to ensure continued positive environmental performance. The new plan will use the 2018/19 year as a baseline, as data from years 2019/20 and 2020/21 will not be typical or representative of progress made. Interestingly, recent assessment undertaken to identify the environmental impacts of Covid-19 has highlighted several positive outcomes which will be promoted moving forward within the new Policy and Plan, as well as the key overall focus of becoming a zero-carbon university (scopes 1 and 2) by 2030.
Despite the circumstances that have significantly prevailed in our lives, the University has continued to adapt, prepare and position to address the clear and obvious challenges of the climate emergency and to provide surety of a sustainable future for all. Whilst we carefully position as a university with a civic responsibility and lead to make sure our contribution has the powerful impact required to make a positive difference, our actions have continued, leading to many significant developments, some of which are highlighted and linked below:
The work will continue as the University strives to ensure we get it right for the future, leading and contributing as one of the UK’s largest and most progressive universities, our teaching, research and partnerships characterised by a focus on real world impact – addressing the health, economic and social challenges facing society today.
Delivering on our simple mission: ‘we transform lives’.