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Environmental performance

Environmental
performance

Investments

The University for the Creative Arts is committed to safeguarding a liveable climate for all. It declares that it has no direct investments in companies involved in the carbon energy industry, including those involved in extracting fossil fuels, and commits to ensuring that adverse climate impact will be avoided in any future corporate investments it may make.

We have students studying with us from across the world, many of whom come from communities who are already feeling the effects of climate change. We want to help protect the environment for all our students and their communities – past, current and future.

We understand that many UK Higher Education Institutions have similarly committed to divest or avoid such investments in some way and we hope that many more of our fellow educational institutions will join us and add their voice to this movement.

Carbon Management

UCA’s third Carbon Management Plan was approved in 2015 and set out plans to achieve a targeted 37% reduction in absolute carbon emissions from energy consumption by 2020 compared to 2005 levels.

UCA met the 2020 target three years early at the end of 2017.

Continuous improvements in energy efficiency, investments in onsite energy generation from solar photovoltaic panels and the procurement of 20% of electricity from UK based wind power have led to significant annual reductions in carbon emissions.

By 2021 UCA’s annual absolute carbon emissions had reduced to 2,790 tonnes; a 56% decrease compared to the 6,118 tonnes emitted by UCA in 2005. In 2020, emissions had reduced by 57% compared to 2005, although this further reduction was significantly affected by reduced energy consumption during the national lockdowns to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Carbon intensity (the weight of carbon emissions per square metre of buildings internal area) has similarly reduced significantly from 75 kgCO2e/m2 in 2008/09 to 31 kgCO2e/m2 in 2018/19 and 23 kgCO2e/m2 in 2019/20.

Energy

A renewable energy source (solar photovoltaic panels) was commissioned at the Epsom campus in 2012 and in Farnham solar PV panels were commissioned in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and now generate almost 50 MWh of electricity each year. Additional solar PV panels and a Combined Heat and Power system were installed on Farnham’s new student residences development, which opened in September 2021.

In October 2019, UCA joined nineteen other UK universities in signing an aggregated power purchase agreement (PPA) to purchase 20% of its electricity from UK onshore wind power for the next ten years. The PPA is the first of its kind in the UK and will significantly reduce carbon emissions from electricity consumption as well as helping to support the growth of renewables in the UK’s generation mix.

Water & Waste

In 2020/21 UCA consumed almost 54,000 cubic metres of water. Over the last three years, consumption has remained relatively steady.

Waste recycling schemes operate on all campuses and directly-managed student residences, and food waste composting and collection services operate at UCA Farnham and UCA Epsom. In addition, surplus used office furniture is donated to charities and other causes local to each campus.

The total weight of waste collected in 2019 was 339 tonnes (135 tonnes general waste and 71 tonnes of recyclables), and exclusively in this year 133 tonnes of healthcare waste from Covid testing centres at each campus). Excluding healthcare waste there was a a 25% reduction in total waste generated compared to the % decrease compared to the previous year.

Transport

To encourage staff and students to travel to and from campus more sustainably, UCA has implemented a range of initiatives, including:

  • A Sustainable Travel Plan has been developed for Farnham campus and plans are in development for Canterbury, Epsom and Rochester
  • In November 2018 UCA Liftshare (https://liftshare.com/uk/community/uca), car sharing community was launched to staff and students at all campuses. UCA Liftshare allows staff and students to arrange car sharing journeys and record when these take place. By October 2021, over 200 staff and students had registered as users on the UCA Liftshare platform. Each Liftshare team of two or more people is estimated to be saving an average of 3,400 miles in car journeys, and 700kg of carbon emissions each year
  • Since May 2018 in partnership with Stagecoach bus services Farnham staff have been able to access discounts on bus fares and apply for free one–month trial bus tickets to see if commuting by bus works for them;
  • Since September 2018, Farnham and Canterbury students have been able to purchase bus season tickets at a discount of over 20% off the normal price;
  • In summer 2020, a new staff Cycle to Work scheme was launched, which gives staff access to purchase bicycles via salary sacrifice and save on tax. The scheme is open to purchases up to £2,000.
  • In November 2018, new improved and covered bicycle shelters for 48 bicycles were installed in Farnham.
  • In October 2020, 25 secure bike lockers were installed across UCA’s campuses and in 2021
  • In Autumn 2021 an additional 126 bicycle parking spaces were added at Farnham bringing the total spaces to 194 spaces.
  • A salary sacrifice scheme for the lease of new electric vehicles will be launched to staff in 2022.
  • In 2018 Electric vehicle (EV) chargers were installed at each campus, to develop a network for staff inter campus travel. Twenty staff members are registered to use the chargers. In anticipation of growth in EV ownership a total of 8 EV chargers were installed at Farnham campus in 2021 and a further 6 chargers will be installed at Canterbury and Epsom in 2022, in advance of the launch of our new staff salary sacrifice scheme to lease electric vehicles.

Useful documents

Please click on links below to view the documents.