Environment & Sustainability

Engaging in Sustainability

At UAL, sustainability has become a key part of learning and operations, with many courses dedicating time and resources to the teaching of sustainable practices and ideas while UAL's carbon emissions are falling.

This short video explains the importance of sustainability to the UAL community and outlines how you can help. 

In Energy and Environment, supported by the rest of the Estates team, we want to make sure that energy efficiency and sustainability is made a priority across UAL.

We have already made huge steps forward, with the rolling out of new energy efficiency measures designed to lower usage, as well as new processes for waste disposal, designed to increase recycling while eliminating landfill.

UAL has several platforms which allow both students and staff to engage in sustainability, they are:

  • Meet the tide logo.
    Logo: Energy and Environment in Estates at UAL.

    Meet The Tide

    A blog platform for students to engage in sustainable Art and Design, with monthly design competitions. Students can also see their own carbon budget, giving them their share of UAL’s total carbon output.

  • Green grass image for sustainability blog.
    (c) UAL image library

    Sustainability documentation

    Find information and documentation relating to UAL's sustainability, energy and environmental policies and plans

  • Electricity usage at Lime Grove depicted using cotton.
    (c) Energy and Environment

    UAL carbon dashboard

    Site managers and Estates staff can see just how their sites are performing. We hope staff outside Estates as well as students also use the site to see how their building is performing.

A chart showing UAL’s score card in the People and Planet University League 2016, where we ranked 36 out of 150 universities, receiving a 2:1 award class.

In 2016, UAL was ranked 36th in the People and Planet Green League with a 2:1 result.

UAL is committed to implementing a strategy that will improve our rankings on People and Planet’s University League. Read on to find out more about our sustainability initiatives and progress. 

How we are progressing

Environmental sustainability policy and strategy

Sustainability policy and strategy

UAL's commitment to sustainability is embodied in the UAL Strategy 2015-22. One of the key goals, delivering an inspirational environment, will be achieved by delivering sustainable new environments for our staff and students. UAL has launched the UAL Sustainability Manifesto (2016 - 2022) (PDF 99KB) – a 5 year sustainable business program, which feeds into the development of the policy. 

The success of this will be measured by UAL’s carbon footprint. This is one of the key selected indicators that UAL will assess itself against during the period of the strategy.

At a more detailed level, UAL has a comprehensive Environmental Policy Statement 2018 (PDF 192KB)with specific and a UAL Action Plan, v3 Nov 2017 (PDF 222KB) which is overseen by the Sustainability Advisory Panel. The action plan covers ten key areas with a 'SMART' target for each. This means all targets are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

The policy was first published in 2013 and was updated in 2015 to make the targets more explicit and reflect the University's progress, for example, in attaining ISO 50001 accreditation. It has since been updated annually.


We want to use our central London sites to ensure biodiversity and habitat is improved within the city. Our Biodiversity Action Plan assesses the baseline biodiversity of our sites and sets out targets for improving this.

It is supported by a programme of enhancing green spaces and bee keeping across our sites.

Construction and refurbishment

UAL is committed to ensuring works improve our environmental performance. Our target in our Environmental Policy Statement 2018 (PDF 192KB) to achieve BREEAM Outstanding for Buildings over £1m and SKA gold for refurbishments over £0.5m is supported by the Design Brief for Sustainability Checklist (PDF 274KB)

Our first new building completed since the policy was released - a studio at Wimbledon College of Art - achieved BREEAM Outstanding, was shortlisted for a BREEAM award in 2015 and won the Ashden Award at the New London Architecture Awards in 2016.

Community involvement

UAL Sustainability has an online platform, Meet The Tide, which provides a blog and twitter presence to publicise and improve sustainability networks at UAL.

Specific colleges at UAL also run community engagement campaigns, in particular Better Lives at London College of Fashion.


UAL achieved its target to reduce carbon emissions by 22% by July 2016 - we reduced emissions by 25%. UAL also achieved ISO 50001 accreditation in 2015 as evidenced by our ISO 50001 Certificate (PDF 118KB)

This was the culmination of the significant work done to set the energy baseline as outlined in the UAL Carbon Management Plan v7 2017 (PDF 3,854KB) and create a robust monitoring process. This is explained more on the UAL Carbon Dashboard.

Sustainable procurement

UAL acknowledges that our procurement is one of the largest impacts UAL has. Our Sustainable Procurement & Ethical Procurement Strategy (PDF 467KB) provides an overview of our environmental and social position on procurement and guidance on how to uphold these values.

Our work to improve our visibility of our supplier's supply chains through the CIPS Index was shortlisted for the Guardian's Observer Ethical Award in 2015 (see the shortlist). 

Travel and transport

Being based in central London, UAL does not own cars or have significant parking facilities at most sites. However, as we operate teaching spaces and offices across 13 sites in London, we also have significant travel between sites.

The UAL Workplace Travel Plan (PDF 486KB) encourages use of cycling and walking and web meetings to reduce emissions. This has been successful in reducing scope 3 emissions as discussed under Carbon Management section below. 

Waste management

UAL sends no waste to landfill. We have a target within our Environmental Policy Statement 2018 (PDF 192KB) to increase recycling and decrease resource intensity of our operations. Waste production data is collected and published on the UAL Carbon Dashboard website. This is updated monthly. 


We have a target to reduce water consumption by 5% on sites within our Environmental Policy Statement 2018 (PDF 192KB)

Water usage is also tracked and reported upon monthly on the UAL Carbon Dashboard. ‌

Human resources for sustainability

Senior management

Various members of senior management have responsibility regarding sustainability at the University. There is the Sustainability Advisory Panel, whose members include the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Chief Operating Officer), the Director of Estates and the Director of Finance. The panel’s role is to approve, implement, monitor and advise on strategies and policies such as the Energy Policy, the Carbon Management Plan and the Sustainability Manifesto.

Ian Lane, Head of Sustainability

Ian represents sustainability at a senior management level and provides strategic advice and policy improvements. Ian's role in UAL is situated in the Estates Department as shown in the Estates Organisational Chart (PDF 197KB). As the Head of Sustainability, Ian's role covers a wide range of areas - he oversees all topics covered by the SMART Targets 2017 (PDF 196KB)‌ ‌and leads on construction and refurbishment, sustainable procurement and travel and transport. Ian provides strategic input to the University's strategic sustainability agenda as evidenced by the policies on the Sustainability Documentation section of this website which are sponsored by Ian, such as, sustainable procurement, sustainable travel and biodiversity.

Contact: i.lane@arts.ac.uk
020 7514 9829
Full time

Rebecca Smart, Energy and Major Projects Support Officer

Rebecca's role concentrates on the areas of energy and carbon reduction, environment and UAL operations. Rebecca leads on ISO 50001 compliance and processes. She monitors the energy, waste and water SMART targets, as well as community involvement by managing the sustainability platforms which engage with students and staff.

Contact: r.r.smart@arts.ac.uk
020 7514 6125
Full time

Rosemary Willatt , LCF Sustainability Co-ordinator

Rosie coordinates operational and engagement activities at the London College of Fashion covering many of the SMART targets. She works to improve recycling rates, energy use, and awareness and engagement with sustainability. The role covers a range of topics such as education, research, energy and environment and she has a strong interest in biodiversity at the College and monitors green spaces such as the dye garden and the bee hives.

Contact: r.willatt@fashion.arts.ac.uk
020 7514 7846
Part time

Gary Campbell, CSM Sustainability Co-ordinator

Like Rosie, Gary's role covers many of the SMART targets by coordinating operational and engagement activities at Central Saint Martins College. Gary works to raise awareness and increase engagement with sustainability amongst students and staff as well as improving the College’s environmental performance.

Contact: g.j.campbell@csm.arts.ac.uk
07832 212872
Part time

Who's who

The Who's Who of Sustainability (PDF 246KB) lists staff, students and alumni of UAL who are working on or have an interest in sustainability and it states their particular area of interest. This document can also be found on UAL's intranet where it contains links to people's profiles which provide further details of their work areas.

A community effort

The whole University community is key to the culture of sustainable development and responsible for helping us achieve our environmental targets. You can read more about how staff and students contribute in the 'Staff and Student Engagement' section on this webpage.

Other resources

Staff are resourced with a Sustainability Budget 2017-18 (PDF 23KB) and the details of future funding to implement the Carbon Management Plan can be found here:

Environmental auditing and management

Environmental Management System

UAL’s Environmental Management System (EMS) is certified to the ISO 14001 International Standard (certificate number 24857). The EMS scope covers the University’s full estate and the environmental aspects covered include energy, water, waste, air pollution, transport, construction, biodiversity and hazards (ISO 14001 Aspects Diagram (158KB)).

These aspects are audited at each site every six months. Sustainable procurement is also audited through the CIPS Index and through the Principles of Responsible Investment which UAL is a signatory of. You can view the ISO 14001 action plan and the targets for each of these audited areas here - UAL Action Plan, v3 Nov 2017 (PDF 222KB).

Through this EMS the University can manage its environmental responsibilities in a systematic manner. The EMS assists the university in achieving its intended outcomes which include enhancement of environmental performance, fulfilment of compliance obligations and achievement of environmental objectives.

UAL has also been awarded the ISO 50001 International Standard for it Energy Management System (see certificate). UAL is one of only 6 institutions to have been awarded this ISO standard. The scope of our ISO 50001 system includes every building in our portfolio, covering every activity that is undertaken in our buildings.

We also complete the annual return to the Association of Directors of Estates for their EMS – the AUDE Sustainability Scorecard. You can view the scorecard here - AUDE Sustainability Scorecard (PDF 376KB)

Carbon management

Read about our UAL Carbon Management Plan v7 2017 (PDF 3,854KB)

Scope 1 and 2 emissions

Scope 1 and 2 emissions are those due to utility consumption within our estate. Our major consumption is gas and electricity consumption on site.

Our performance against these can be tracked monthly on the UAL Carbon Dashboard website. We also report annually to HESA through the Estates Management Record process.

The energy monitoring system UAL uses is proven to be robust, as it has been accredited with ISO 50001 (UAL ISO 50001 Certificate (PDF 118KB)).

Our total Scope 1 and 2 emissions are tracking on target as shown in this graph of historical progress marked against the target to 2020 (Scope 1 & 2 emissions (PDF 44KB)).

Scope 3 emissions

UAL has also set a baseline and target for reduction of Scope 3 emissions particularly those due to transport (Scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions (PDF 41KB)). Our Scope 3 emissions are also reported annually to HESA.

Emissions from residential buildings

We report emissions from residential halls over which we have control.

Workers rights

Electronics Watch

UAL is a member of the London University Purchasing Consortium (LUPC). LUPC are a founding member of the Electronics Watch initiative to enhance the security and health of electronics workers. 

CIPS Index

The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) published an index framework to give purchasers more visibility on the supply chain of their products and services.

UAL has worked with our major suppliers to guide them through the CIPS Index. This has allowed us to push suppliers to consider their ethical responsibility more fully and allow us to distinguish between suppliers. 

Sustainable food

Agriculture and transportation of food have a big environmental footprint in terms of carbon and the impact on soil and biodiversity.

The UAL Sustainable Food Policy (PDF 258KB) set out the goals for UAL to reduce its environmental and ethical impact through the type of food served, its location and procurement.

In 2014, UAL was the first university to achieve Gold Standard under the Soil Association's Food for Life rating as explained in this UAL news article. The Gold rating still stands today and all 8 catering outlets, at all 6 Colleges and the hospitality menus are Gold Rated (Food For Life Catering Mark (PDF 91KB)).

This means that all food served at UAL is assessed to high environmental and ethical standards including fish and seafood, which is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. UAL works with BaxterStorey to improve the health and environmental impacts of food. All meat is sourced from the UK and local produce is used where possible. 70% of the fruit and vegetables come from the south east, with a major supplier being Chegworth Valley farm, less than 35 miles southeast of London.

Meat is also locally sourced and comes from Rother Valley near Petersfield, Hampshire. This local food is used on a regular basis in our menus (Example of a Previous Menu (PDF 192KB)). UAL was a case study in an academic paper which explains our use of local and sustainable food (view paper, section 4.2). Watch videos and read more about the vision and mission of canteen services at UAL

There is space on the University sites to grow food. Four of our sites are home to honey bee hives and all students and staff are welcome to join in beekeeping activities where they tend to hives, help produce, use and sell the honey. You can read more about the project. There is also space on the roof terrace at CSM, where a joint project between staff and students has led to the creation of a green growing space where edibles such as strawberries and herbs are grown. 

All sites provide free drinking water which can be found in catering outlets and water dispensers across the sites. Many sites have microwaves for students to encourage them to reuse bottles and bring leftovers for lunch. 

As stated in the sustainable food policy all future contracts will include a clause to the contract caterer, ensuring they maintain the Gold standard and accept inspection from the Soil Association as part of the contracted terms. 

Staff and student engagement

There are a number of ways for staff and students to engage with sustainability through our 'meet the tide' programme. The meet the tide website outlines our sustainability strategies and has the most recent blog posts, while our Twitter account is where you'll find our latest news. The carbon dashboard shows how the university and each college is performing regarding utility consumption and carbon emissions. Here, you can also submit suggestions to help us reach our reduction targets.

The internal staff newsletter, The Big Picture, delivers updates to all staff and in the past this has included the university’s World Environment Day activities, Carbon emissions per student and future plans to embed sustainability in our buildings.

Contribution to the Carbon Management and Sustainability Policy

All students and staff have the opportunity to contribute to the development and progress of the UAL Carbon Management Plan v7 2017 (PDF 3,854KB) (CMP) and UAL’s new sustainability strategy – the ‘UAL Sustainability Manifesto (2016 - 2022) (PDF 99KB)’. Anyone in the UAL community is able to join the Sustainability Working Group who, as explained in the CMP, meet on a regular basis to consider UAL’s progress against the CMP and other sustainability topics expressed in the Manifesto. The Group reports to the Sustainability Advisory Panel whose membership includes the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Director of Estates and the Head of Sustainability.

Previous to Manifesto, three workshops were held across the colleges in 2015 to canvas people's opinions on the future direction sustainability at UAL. The findings of these workshops are available here:

London College of Fashion Sustainability Workshop Minutes (PDF 474KB)

London College of Communication Workshop Report (PDF 217KB)

Central St Martins Workshop Report (PDF 208KB)

The findings and an accompanying online survey were fed into the development of a sustainability framework under the sustainability strategy.


During staff inductions, a video demonstrating the importance of sustainability to UAL is shown to new staff members. This video is also shown to all students during the Freshers Fair and is available on the main student engagement platform, Halls Life.

Green Week and other events

UAL always run a comprehensive program of events in Green Week. In 2017, we ran a number of events including make your own natural cosmetics, fabric swaps, beekeeping and gardening. There were also free bike health checks and environmentally themed film nights in Halls of Residences. UAL also runs campaigns open to students and staff, such as World Environment Day and encouraging the use of reusable coffee cups. There also events like the Unlocking Conversations which encouraged discussion about our surrounding landscapes. A cross-college collaboration program called Waste Off was launched in Green Week 2015. This involved students across all colleges using recycled materials to create new, helpful products. After the formal program finished, an alumnus of UAL was commissioned to provide bespoke furniture made of recycled wood to UAL's new cafe at Camberwell College of Art. You can watch a video of this journey through the UAL Estates team Vimeo. This work is supported by the Communications Strategy.

We can see there has been an increase in awareness of environmental stewardship and social responsibility through our 2017 Staff Survey (PDF 71KB).


Sustainability Budget 2017-18 (PDF 23KB), with further details of planned expenditure in the Carbon Management Plan. UAL has 'The Exchange' which provides professional development and funding to support the development of student and staff sustainability literacy and environmental sustainability. You can find out more and read examples of previous funded projects here.

There are funds available to support student and staff led sustainability projects that enhance sustainability on campus through the London College of Fashion Sustainable Projects Fund. Multiple projects are funded each year by the pro Vice-Chancellor at LCF, with £500 available for each project. Applications are open to all students, staff and to alumni up to 6 months after their graduation. In 2017, the fund allowed a natural dye workshop to take place, aimed particularly at MA Fashion Futures students. This has increased their understanding of using natural resources and reducing reliance on chemicals to dye material. Details of how to apply for the fund and other examples of past projects can be found on the Intranet – search ‘Sustainability Projects Fund’.

Student Union

The UAL Students' Union is committed to sustainability as well and is signed up to the 'Green Impacts Students' Union'. This program helps unions to reduce their negative environmental impacts.

Education for sustainable development

UAL has shown a strong commitment to ESD and recognises its importance in our learning, teaching and research. UAL's Research Strategy (2015-22) aims to build a more sustainable future through education and creative practice by increasing understanding of environmental changes, communicating the issues and designing for new business models, social innovations and sustainable living.

The Research Strategy equips everyone with a future-facing outlook and provides them with an understanding of how their research fits into the wider society, sustainable living and lifelong health and wellbeing.

The executive summary for the new Education for Sustainability Strategy (PDF 253KB) maps the impact and activities of ESD in teaching at learning at UAL. Reflecting the positive interventions made at the London College of Fashion, the framework maps our current status and initiatives and provides an Action Plan for 2016 – 22 which aims to build breadth and depth in education for sustainability, its pedagogies, experiences and ambitions. Monitoring and tracking of sustainability is embedded into Continuous Annual Monitoring, is cross referenced with academic frameworks such as PRIME and reported annually to ADQA.

Networking and sharing of best practice occurs through engagement with partners from different disciplines and territories with sustainability interests, for example by exploring European networks. Staff engagement in ESD development occurs through the creation of a staff development programme, increased online learning resources and through the UAL Sustainability Manifesto (2016 - 2022) (PDF 99KB). Due to the size of the full document, it cannot be uploaded (please contact i.lane@arts.ac.uk for a copy).

Training and support

Students and staff are provided with professional development and funding to support the development of sustainability literacy and environmental sustainability through The Exchange. This Curriculum Development Funding enables colleagues to test out new ideas and develop curricula.

Colleagues are able to learn about the implications of sustainability for teaching and learning and develop a pedagogic understanding of learning for sustainability through the Learning for Sustainability unit. Those undertaking the unit will reflect on sustainability issues in their area of academic practice and deliver the findings to a wide University audience.

More information on sustainability and course design can be found here.

Examples of research and innovation at UAL

  • Centre for Sustainable Fashion which provides leading research and leadership on sustainable fashion, including involvement in collaborative exercises such as the COPtimist project and creation of projects such as Dress for Our Time before the Paris climate talks.
  • The Textile Futures Research Centre investigates sustainable and ethical innovations in textiles
  • Design Against Crime investigates ways to use art and design to create safer and more sustainable urban environments
  • Industry Projects creates partnerships between companies and LCF students to offer brand solutions and provide industry experience. Previous projects have looked for responses to sustainability, such as the Nike Sustainable Materials Project.
  • We look for opportunities to involve students in sustainability operations at UAL where possible. The development of a new accommodation block at Camberwell College of Art offered an opportunity to involve students from the Central St Martins Spatial Practices Programme who delivered ideas for the development of the new block to main contractors and UAL Estates team.
  • Through many of our courses and their assessments students contribute to improving sustainability, such as on MA Fashion Futures, MA Material Futures and MA Architecture. Students have embedded sustainability into their projects, for example through using the natural dyes, like the natural dye garden at Mare St, which was originally created by students, or creating clothes from flax grown at LCF sites.

Ethical investment

For more information please refer to the latest UAL Financial Report (PDF 1632KB).

For infomation regarding engagement and progress please refer to www.meetthetide.com/leadership

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University League 2016

People and Planet’s University League is a comprehensive league table of UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance.