ARU pledges to cut carbon to zero by 2045

Published: 2 December 2020 at 10:30

ARU flowers

Radical university strategy plans to plant trees, cut plastic and adapt teaching

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) has unveiled a radical new strategy to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2045, which includes mass tree-planting and overhauling its travel policy.

The Sustainability Strategy, which covers the period from 2020 until 2026, details ARU’s plans to put sustainability at the heart of everything it does, including its curriculum – with all courses being required to demonstrate sustainable learning outcomes.

The strategy also pledges to eliminate the university’s use of single-use plastic by 2022, enhance biodiversity on its campuses, and plant 10,000 trees in its communities by 2026. Building on the work of ARU’s Global Sustainability Institute, there is also a plan to double the number of research papers co-authored with partners from developing nations and to launch a university-wide sustainable research scheme.

The strategy also works towards ARU cutting its carbon emissions to zero by 2045, including indirect emissions. This will be done by putting a price on carbon, which will influence financial decision making. ARU has already reduced direct carbon emissions by 43% since 2006.

Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of ARU, said:

“This ambitious strategy ensures that sustainability will be embedded in everything we do – affecting campus life for every member of staff and student.

“We are taking responsibility for all our carbon emissions – this is more than just being ‘net zero’ and offsetting the emissions we produce, it is a total elimination of carbon emissions by 2045. This will benefit our local communities immensely.”

In 2018, ARU pledged to become fossil fuel free in the future by signing up to the Fossil Free Declaration. Last year, ARU signed a deal to source electricity directly from onshore wind farms.