Steve West, Vice-Chancellor cycling

Governance, strategy and finance

Our vision is to be valued as a leader, innovator and trusted partner for sustainability.

Our aim

We aim to play a part in supporting the global sustainability agenda for a strong, healthy and just society living within environmental limits in everything that we do. Central to this commitment, is our ambition to create an environment and culture in which all student and staff members have the opportunity to develop and use the skills and understanding required to contribute to global sustainability and health throughout their careers. Sustainability must become embedded in everything that the  university does in its teaching, research, operations and community engagement.


Overall strategic leadership for sustainability is guided by the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer and Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability. Their leadership is reflected in our ambition to be a ground breaking example of a sustainable university as witnessed in the UWE Bristol Sustainability Plan 2013 – 2020: Positive Footprint. This plan was developed in conjunction with and signed off by UWE Bristol’s Vice-Chancellor, The Students' Union at UWE Bristol President and the Chair of the Board of Governors. The plan details objectives and KPIs relating to all aspects of sustainability at UWE Bristol, including education for sustainable development. Each theme has its own annually revised action plan.

Our aim is that sustainability becomes embedded in everything that the university does. Our journey towards this goal is overseen by the Sustainability Board which is chaired by the Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability. It is comprised of senior academic and professional staff from across the University who lead  delivery elements of the Sustainability Plan or who act as critical friends to enhance performance and ambition, A critical part of the membership is The Students’ Union at UWE who are represented on the Board by  the President, the Vice President for Societies and Communication and the elected Sustainability Officer  supported by  the Green Team co-ordinator and the Community Manager. Here is its current membership in 2016:

  • Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability: Professor James Longhurst
  • Biodiversity and Ecology: Richie Fluester
  • Education for Sustainable Development: Dr Georgie Gough
  • Energy and Water Management: Fabia Jeddere-Fisher
  • Estates Head:  Nicholas Loughlin
  • Facilities Director: Chris Abbott
  • Green Team Co-ordinator The Students' Union:  interim contact Rachel Colley
  • Healthy University: Professor Judy Orme
  • Human Resources: Louise Davies
  • IT Services: Rayhana Rahman
  • Internal Communications Manager: Tsara Smith
  • Marketing: Keith Hicks
  • PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education): Svetlana Cimil
  • Procurement: Helen Baker and Nick Miller
  • Public Engagement Coordinator: Dee Smart
  • Resource Efficiency and Regulation: Professor Martin Bigg
  • Students’ Union President: Jack Polson
  • Students' Union VP for Societies and Communications: Gem Heyward
  • Students' Union Sustainability Officer: Leyth Hampshire/Thomas Haines
  • Sustainability Co-ordinator: Vicki Harris
  • Transport and Society: Dr Kiron Chatterjee and Professor Graham Parkhurst
  • Travel and Access Manager: Chris Donnelley
  • Waste and Resources Manager: Paul Roberts

Governance of Sustainability in UWE Bristol

The Sustainability Board meets 4 to 5 times a year; it takes it authority from and reports to the Directorate, Academic Board and the Board of Governors. In addition elected officers of The Student Union report on out-comes through the governance arrangements of the Union. At each meeting the Board   reviews progress with the 11 themes of the Sustainability Plan, undertakes regular reviews of policies including the Environmental Policy and the Ethical Investment Policy, approves action plans arising from the Sustainability Plan, reviews progress with the  commitment to  adopt the principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME)  across the institution, and  provides the  governance of the whole institution  ISO 14001 accreditation process and the Responsible Futures accreditation. The Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability is charged with promoting the integration and enhancing the impact of all our sustainability teaching, research, knowledge exchange and community engagement activities.

Healthy University Group

The Healthy University Group was established in 2006 as a sub group of the Sustainability Board. This group ensures that a whole university approach is taken, endorsing membership from Academic Staff, Senior Management, Student Services, Human Resources, Facilities, Students' Union and Centre for Sport. This cross university steering group is uniquely positioned to progress this complex, multi-factorial agenda of the health and wellbeing of staff, students and wider communities.

The Healthy University Group supports UWE Bristol’s commitment to be a leading UK Healthy University, with the aim to raise the profile of and embed health and wellbeing within the culture, structures and processes of the daily life of the university. In addition, UWE Bristol aims to enhance everyone's health and wellbeing by creating and promoting healthier working, learning and social environments.

The interdisciplinary World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments provides a particular focus and connection to a global health improvement agenda and has established itself at the forefront of efforts in the UK and Europe for promoting better understanding of the interlocking nature of health and the built environment.

The Students’ Union and UWE Bristol working in partnership 

In pursuit of our sustainability goals, we work closely with The Students’ Union to embed sustainability within the wider student experience.

To this end, during the last two years we have supported The Students’ Union to develop The Green Team, a sizeable community with more than 400 supporters across the departments and programmes of UWE Bristol. The Green Team initiative is supported by a specially appointed Green Team co-ordinator within The Students’ Union.

The University and The Students’ Union have a strong partnership and are working to provide training and resources for student projects. In exchange, we expect The Green Team to challenge us and to push us to do better in meeting the aims and objectives of our 2020 Sustainability Plan.  In 2015 the President of The Student Union made a specific challenge to the University to meet the questions posed by the Whole Earth? Exhibition on campus. On 23 May 2016 the university formally responded to the President’s challenge by documenting how the university was actively engaged in meeting the challenges posed by the Whole Earth? Exhibition. Most recently we have worked together to gain our Responsible Futures accreditation from the NUS, the first university to be accredited under the full scheme.

City region activities

At UWE Bristol we aim to make the most of our ability to impact on the sustainability of the city region through various channels; through our leadership, our academic expertise and research, our students’ placements, projects and volunteering, and our involvement in key initiatives.

Our commitment to the key sustainability grouping in Bristol, the Bristol Green Capital partnership has been significant over many years, in particular in taking forward its ambition to be European Green Capital, a period when UWE Bristol Professor Martin Bigg was chair. During the Bristol 2015 European Green Capital year, we were a strategic partner and strong supporter. Most recently we have been involved in the development of the partnership into a Community Interest Company and Professor James Longhurst, Assistant Vice-Chancellor is the Partnership interim chair.

Building on the expertise of our staff and our strategic role in the city , we are engaged in a range of other initiatives, a key one of which is the Bristol City Council Resilience strategy, being funded  by and part of ‘100 Resilient Cities’ – pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation.

In terms of sharing  good practice and learning with others in the city and South West region, we are regular participants (and winners in) the Go Green Business awards, the South West Business Fairtrade awards, the Travelwest Sustainable Travel awards, the Earth Champions Foundation  awards, the Bristol Volunteering awards and more. We also host conferences seminars and events and provide key–note speakers for many   sustainability events. 

Supporting and Developing a Sustainable UWE Bristol - our financial commitment to sustainability

UWE Bristol supports its sustainability activities through various budgets:

  • The Facilities Sustainability Team is supported through the University’s Facilities budget.
  • The university wide ESD Senior Lecturer post has been created to ensure curriculum development incorporates considerations of sustainability
  • The Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Environment and Sustainability has a dedicated budget to support student and staff initiatives and projects.
  • The University supports The Student Union Green Team through its annual block grant.
  • The university’s Green Capital Strategy was awarded £50,000  to make 2015 a celebration of sustainability for all UWE Bristol students and staff.
  • In 2015 the University match funded the £50,000 strategic grant from the Bristol 2015 and Bristol City Council  for the development of the Our Green city MOOC.
  • In 2014-16 the University working in partnership with the University of Bristol  match funded the £250,000 Catalyst Fund award from HEFCE to   support the Green capital Student Capital project 

Back to top