N8 Collabor8 project: Road Map to Success: The Net Zero Carbon Campus

Members of the N8 Collabor8 project, which includes the University of Sheffield, are undertaking a new project to help university campuses reach net zero. 


About the project

Universities manage a significant amount of human, environmental and financial capital and can have a real impact on the net zero agenda by transitioning their operations to net zero.

However, achieving ambitious net zero targets requires deep decarbonisation and cross-cutting strategies for energy and water, infrastructure, academic curricula, professional and administrative functions, innovation, enterprise and equipping students for a net zero future.  

N8 universities and student unions are currently trialling various Net Zero pathways, initiatives, and best practices. But transforming existing behaviours, structures, sub-structures and operational models in a timely and cost-effective manner requires coordinated action by universities to develop and share best practices to scale net zero strategies from the progressive few to comprehensive standards for all.

Key details and next steps

This new Road Map to Success: The Net Zero Carbon Campus will bring together staff from all levels of the N8 universities to develop evaluations of existing operations, curriculums, and sustainability initiatives in the N8, and from there to identify best practices, challenges, incentives and pathways to achieving Campus Zero in the N8. 

Currently, the universities and partners involved in this project are: NTDC LEAF, the University of Newcastle, the University of Manchester and the University of Sheffield. 

At this stage of the project, the main activity will involve discussion, identification, and brainstorming of ideas for the best actions to take for N8 campuses. The first sessions of the project include the following steps: 

  • Developing a Campus Zero community of interest to collaboratively explore scalable pathways to reducing Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions from N8 university campuses.
  • Steering and co-developing net zero strategies, targets and pathways and the contributions/responsibilities of representative community members.
  • Identifying, mapping and discussing the key scope 1,2 and 3 emission reduction plans, and environment and sustainability strategies currently being developed or in operation across all key departments within the N8 group of universities including N8 local technician lead initiatives.
  • Identify and deliberate on best practices and strategies for Campus Zero deployed across N8 and identify appropriate accounting approaches and incentives to facilitate a harmonised strategy
  • Brainstorm and discuss scalable net zero pathways, net zero finance and net zero behavioural change and change management
  • Develop a roadmap for the next phase to include more partners and bid for further funding

If you’d like to find out more, please contact Dr Sara Bacon (s.bacon@sheffield.ac.uk).

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