There are a number of interrelated elements which need to be addressed to start to deliver a sustainable campus. This pages provides details to the different elements, and supporting information, that DMU use to deliver a sustainable campus.
The University's environmental policy contains the institution's overarching commitments to environmental management and performance. The policy has been agreed by the Executive Board and is reviewed on an annual basis by the Sustainable Development Task Force. The policy is publicly available on the DMU website here.
Objectives and Targets
The overarching commitments in the environmental policy are supported by objectives and targets for key environmental areas. These areas include construction and refurbishments, emissions and discharges, community involvement, biodiversity, waste management, travel and transport, sustainable procurement and water. Details of the targets can be found here. It is against these objectives and targets that we measure our progress. Our progress is reported annually through our sustainability reports.
Environmental Management System
In order to co-ordinate activity and progress against the objectives and targets the university has an environmental management system (EMS). The EMS has been implemented according to the British Standard for EMS which is known as BS8555. Our EMS is externally verified on an annual basis against the requirements of the BS8555 standard. Details of our EMS can be found here.
Sustainability staff and resources
The delivery of progress against the objectives and targets is supported by a number of key professional services and academic staff. The role of these staff is to reduce the environmental impact of the university's activities and operations and to report progress against the agreed objectives and targets. Details of the staff roles, their responsibilities and resources available to them can be found here.
The university measures and reports carbon emissions from a variety of sources, not just its energy use. The sources include waste, water, business travel, student and staff commuting, student travel to study at DMU, halls of residences and supply chain (procurement) emissions. Details of this work can be found here.
The Sustainability Team worked closely with the Head of Campus Services to include sustainable food sourcing criteria when the catering provision was renewed several years ago. The tender documentation for the contract clearly stated that the objective of the contract is ‘to support the university’s Sustainable Food Policy and Action Plan’ which includes commitments around ethical and sustainable food sourcing. Copies of the university’s Fairtrade policy and Environmental policy were included within the tender documentation which was provided to all prospective suppliers. Furthermore, the compliance of the new contractor with relevant DMU policies, such as: Fairtrade Policy, Sustainable Food Policy and Environmental Policy, has been included as part of the Service Level Agreement within the contract. Requirements around sustainability have also been included in the vending contract for the university.
The university works closely with Chartwells to embed sustainability into its food offering across campus and through its hospitality service. These commitments are contained within the Sustainable Food Policy and highlighted on our hospitality webpage and in our hospitality brochure. As part of our commitment to sustainable produce, DMU also grows food on campus in the Trinity Herb Garden which is then used by Chartwell chefs in their cooking. Read more here.
In addition to serving more sustainably and ethically sourced produce, De Montfort University is also tackling single-use plastic through the 'Choose to Reuse' campaign and through the installation of a large number of water fountains and 'refill points' on campus which provide free drinking water for staff and students. A full list of the water fountains and refill points can be found here.
Staff and Student Engagement
Becoming a sustainable university will only happen if staff and students are engaged in this agenda. To facilitate this, all staff and student inductions include information about sustainable development. The student e-induction contains a module on campus sustainability and the sustainability team also attend all the Welcome Events for new staff to talk about sustainability and how staff can get involved.
Staff and students are involved in the creation and ongoing oversight of key areas such as the Carbon Management Plan and Sustainability Strategy through the Sustainable Development Task Force. Trade union representatives are included on key committees such as the Green Travel Plan group and the Sustainable Development Task Force. The university also has a network of Environmental Champions to promote and communicate sustainability across the campus.
The university takes part in a number of promotional activities each year to raise awareness of sustainability and environmental issues. These events include Fairtrade Fortnight, our plastics campaign, sustainable transport events, 24 hours with the Global Goals, education for sustainable development events, and visits to the United Nations. The university has also developed a wide range of community-based projects through its outreach programme #DMULocal.
DMU's plastics reduction campaign, which was launched in 2018, reached all staff and students. As part of the campaign all staff and students were offered a free reusable coffee mug to help reduce plastic waste on campus. Over 21,000 mugs were distributed to staff and students. The university has also expanded the number of fountains on campus to also reduce plastic waste from bottled water. Details of the campaign can be found on our 'Choose to Reuse' webpage and on our news pages.
The university works closely with the De Montfort Students' Union (DSU) to engage students in the sustainability agenda. The DSU have launched a GoGreen campaign to raise awareness of sustainability on campus and to engage students on this issues. The DSU are also addressing sustainability within their own operations in order to improve their own performance. Part of this work included an environmental audit of the DSU conducted by the university sustainability team earlier this year. The results of the audit and details of the campaign can be found on the DSU GoGreen webpage.
The university looks to address sustainability across its supply chains and this includes ensuring workers' rights in its supply chain are met. The university has adopted an Ethical Procurement Policy and a Sustainable Procurement Policy. The Ethical Procurement Policy requires suppliers to report on their compliance with the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code. The ETI is an internationally recognised code of labour practice founded on the conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
As well as adopting sustainable development principles in the management of the campus, the university also extends this to how it invests its funds. The university has a small number of endowment funds which are invested ethically in line with its Ethical Investment Policy. The policy is part of the Treasury Policy and is reviewed on a regular basis. Details of the value of these ethical investments is reported on annually through the university's Annual Accounts.
Education for Sustainable Development
Our biggest impact on sustainable development is through our teaching and research. DMU has committed to embed Education for Sustainable Development into its formal, informal and hidden curriculum. Details of this work can be found on our teaching page.
De Montfort University is also working to widen participation and provide equal access to education for all through initiatives such as the Article 26 Scholarship.