Sustainability strategy and governance

Strategy development

Our first Sustainability Strategy was published at the start of the 2018/19 academic year.  Based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, this Year 1 document commits the University to a number of actions over the next year in preparation for the publication of a comprehensive strategy and action plan at the start of the 2019/20 academic year.

Read our Sustainability Strategy

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 UN 's Sustainable Development Goals.

UN Developments Goals 1

The University will take action on a number of themes under each of these goals, such as emissions, waste, education for sustainable development and environmental stewardship. The strategy will also introduce formal governance of the University’s relationship with city and regional bodies and open the way for using the University campus and Sheffield itself as a “living lab” to research sustainability issues.

Our students have taken a central role in researching and writing our Sustainability Strategy. PhD researchers from the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures conducted an audit of the University’s performance on the five selected Sustainable Development Goals. Based on their assessment, the University has written its Year 1 strategy to ensure it can meet the challenges set out by the Grantham Scholars' report


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.

View minutes of the Sustainability Delivery Group:

March 2019
April 2019
June 2019
July 2019

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.