Governance, strategy and finance
Our vision is to be valued as a leader, innovator and trusted partner for sustainability.
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 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 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. The Board is comprised of senior officers of the University who regularly receive reports from Sustainability Plan theme leaders responsible for delivery. 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 coordinator and the Community Manager.
Governance of Sustainability in UWE Bristol
The Sustainability Board meets four to five times a year and is governed by formal Terms of Reference. It takes it's authority from and reports to the Directorate, Academic Board and the Board of Governors. In addition, elected officers of The Student Union report on outcomes through the governance arrangements of the Union. At each meeting, the Board reviews progress with the 13 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 three years we have supported The Students’ Union to develop The Green Team, a sizeable community with more than 1,400 supporters as of end of May 2017, across the departments and programmes of UWE Bristol. The Green Team initiative is supported by a specially appointed Green Team coordinator within The Students’ Union. Most recently, the team have established an elected committee of representatives, each of whom take on a theme area within the Sustainability Plan and link with the responsible staff member, thereby driving even stronger working relations.
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 two accreditations from the NUS - Responsible Futures, for which we were the first university to be accredited under the full scheme and, in 2017, the NUS Green Impact award for which we received an excellent categorisation and were overall winners.
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. 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 a member of the board.
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.