Environmental impacts and targets
We worked with students, investors, and a range of employees to identify our most significant impacts:
- Energy and carbon – reducing energy use and carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change
- Water – reducing water use and wastage
- Resource use and waste – sustainable use of materials and resources, reducing waste and improving recycling of waste
We have committed to taking serious action to improve these areas:
Meaningful carbon reduction: Unite Students were one of the first 125 global companies to commit to developing and implementing science-based carbon targets . In line with the historic Paris climate deal signed in 2015, we will aim to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with the level that climate science states is necessary to avoid global warming in excess of 2 °C. According to the latest sectoral decarbonisation approach model and our expected growth model, this means a reduction of 35.5% by 2020, and of 50.2% by 2025 in GHG emissions per bed or per m2 of floor space.
- Zero waste to landfill: by 2025 we aim to send no waste to landfill from our sites. This includes both commercial waste from our housekeeping, management and maintenance activity, and domestic waste produced by our student occupants.
- BREEAM Excellent new buildings: from 2018 onwards all our new buildings will be built to BREEAM Excellent standards. This will help ensure they play their part in improving the environmental performance of our portfolio.
- Creating a green legacy: by actively engaging our students with our Up to uS sustainability engagement programme we aim to help them adopt responsible and sustainable living habits that stay with them long after they leave us. We have set a target of demonstrably improving the environmental behaviour of at least 15% of our students by 2020, and to then continue to promote and encourage sustainable habits after students have left us.
In addition to these flagship commitments, we have a range of detailed milestone targets covering our broader environmental performance.