Targets & data

We aim to become one of the most sustainable research-intensive universities in the country and reach net-zero carbon emissions as quickly as possible.

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Our targets

  • Net-zero on campus by 2030 (Scopes 1 and 2)
  • Net-zero across all activities by 2038 (Scope 3)
  • Reduce Scopes 1 and 2 absolute carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2025*
  • Reduce Scope 3 absolute carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2025 and 75 percent by 2030*

*Based on a 2018/19 baseline​​​​​​

The UK Government has a legally-binding target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said that the world's carbon emissions have to fall by 45 percent by 2030 to keep the average temperature from rising more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Analysis by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change shows that in order to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement, the city of Sheffield needs to reach zero or near zero by 2038 at the latest. 

As one of the largest institutions in Sheffield, and as a University carrying out leading research to tackle the climate emergency, we believe that we have a responsibility to help meet and exceed these targets.

Mainstream scientific opinion is clear that the next 10 years are crucial for any efforts to slow the trend of global heating. As such, we believe we have a responsibility to aim to reach net-zero in our Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030. Scope 3 emissions will be more challenging; we will aim to be carbon neutral in this area by the Tyndall Centre target for Sheffield of 2038.

These are ambitious goals and will take an immense effort in everything we do. We have already begun work to map out how this might be possible and to develop scientifically-robust measures to achieve it. Our sustainability strategy is our next step towards carbon neutrality and sets out our approach to the challenge of reducing our emissions. Its accompanying live action plan tracks the ongoing projects that will help us achieve this in more detail. All of our actions are focused on achieving these overall cuts in absolute carbon emissions.

Our absolute emission reduction targets take into account the scale of our campus operations - we must reduce energy use and emissions per person and per metre squared.

Our sustainability strategy

We have set the principles and direction for our sustainability strategy