Sustainability strategy and governance

Strategy development

Our first ever Sustainability Strategy will be published at the beginning of the 2018/19 academic year, based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Whilst the University’s work and operations affect a broad range of sustainability issues, many of these are already embedded in University structures. In order for our strategy to have the greatest possible impact we have therefore chosen to focus on five of the goals.

UN Developments Goals 1

Our students will take a central role in researching and writing our Sustainability Strategy. PhD researchers from the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures are conducting an audit of the University’s performance on the five selected Sustainable Development Goals. Based on their assessment, the University will set itself ambitious targets that ensure it is operating sustainably and empower students to make a positive difference as socially responsible graduates.

The Grantham Centre

The Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures is an ambitious and innovative collaboration between the University of Sheffield and the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment. Our sustainability research creates knowledge and connects it to policy debates on how to build a fairer world and save natural resources for future generations.

Read more about the Grantham Centre.

Theresa Nelson

Theresa is the lead scholar from the Grantham Centre working on auditing the University’s performance against the five selected Sustainable Development Goals. Her background is in archaeology, however, her research spans multiple disciplines drawing on physics, geology and chemistry. Her experience of practical sustainability work extends from being lead environmentalist on an international research project to meeting a US Congressman to discuss the benefits of renewable energy.

Read more about Theresa’s past work.


The University’s sustainability agenda is managed and implemented by two groups.

Sustainability Steering Group

Comprised of one senior representative from Academic Services, Professional Services, the Students’ Union and a University Executive Board Sustainability Sponsor, the Steering Group oversees the University’s sustainability performance and policies.

Sustainability Delivery Group

The Sustainability Delivery group brings together senior University and Students' Union staff and student representatives from across the University. Each member of the group is responsible for organising, resourcing and delivering cross-cutting sustainability projects and embedding sustainable values throughout the institution. It is co-chaired by the academic and professional services members of the Sustainability Steering Group.

Both of our sustainability groups include members with very different areas of expertise and experience. This recognises the diversity and range of challenges presented when tackling an area as large as sustainability and allows both groups allow us to approach multifaceted problems by bringing together senior staff members and students with different knowledge and skill-sets. Equally importantly, the breadth of departments represented in the Delivery Group allows us to ensure that we have a joined-up approach to embedding good sustainable practice across the University.