This is our first annual report of progress against the actions and eight objectives we have committed to in our Climate and Ecological Crisis Action Plan (CECAP), to help us achieve net zero emissions by 2030/31 and embed environmental action in our education, research and practice. The CECAP Annual Report is our overview of environmental sustainability for the year and includes a detailed overview of our action, including successes and areas for improvement. A key headline is our actual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for 2020/21 being 3,828 tCOe2, which is a reduction of 35% against our baseline in 2018/19.
You can read the report on Issuu.
Our CECAP target was to achieve a reduction in all GHG emissions of 9% compared to 2018/19. Our actual reduction was 35%, mainly due to a significant reduction in scope three activities as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly travel. We did, however, miss our targets for scope one and two emissions by 204.7 tonnes CO2e. This was due to a temporarily larger estate, as we opened Bournemouth Gateway Building and Poole Gateway Building before Melbury House and Royal London House closed later in the year, plus increased building ventilation requirements for safety causing us to use more natural gas. In recognition of this missed target, we have calculated a carbon cost and are investing this fund, over £4,000, towards research supervised by BU’s Dr Rick Stafford which aims to identify local nature-based offsetting opportunities.
We recognise the vital role education and research play in our crisis response and are pleased to see a widening variety and extent of work around this. Highlights for the year including delivering the first Sustainability Awards at the Student Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE) Conference, publishing a wide range of research on climate change impacts and responses, and inspiring educational opportunities within a breadth of courses such as the BAFTA Albert sustainable media training. We recognised that there is more to do to embed the climate and ecological crisis into education, and our Sustainability Academic Network has been leading on this work to map and further our progress.
We are very pleased to see the impacts of our sustainable construction commitments to improve building energy performance and increase renewable energy generation. We opened Bournemouth Gateway Building (BGB) which achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating for its sustainability features, including its solar PV array. It was also the first full year of operation for the Poole Gateway Building (PGB) array. Nearly 500MWh of electricity was generated by our solar panels, saving 125.7tCO2e of emissions.
Our work to protect and enhance nature is a developing area in the CECAP. We aim to foster connections with nature and in 2020/21 primarily did so through the Nature Health Network, a group of over 200 members working to build connections between those working in the health, environment and education sectors. Campus-based activity during the year included launching our rainwater harvesting systems at BGB to add to our PGB and Fusion Building systems, which together collected and re-used 591,000 litres of rainwater for building use.
Some impacts of the climate and ecological crisis are now unavoidable, so we were continuing to work on managing climate risk. We are proud that Shona Nairn-Smith, BU Head of Operations and Resilience/Assistant COO, received an EAUC Honorary Fellowship for her Climate Change Adaptation project.
In 2020/21 we achieved external accreditation to ISO50001 for our Energy Management System. This builds on our Environmental Management System which is accredited to ISO14001 and made us one of only a handful of universities with double accreditation for a joint Environment and Energy Management System. Our Sustainability Team measure, monitor and analyse data to identify areas of high usage and leaks to be resolved through immediate action and long-term energy projects.
By taking action together as a BU community of students, staff and wider community we can all contribute to reducing the impact of our activities. Considering daily choices such as using active travel modes, reducing what you buy and choosing foods with a lower carbon footprint are important ways you can help reduce your environmental impact. If you want to learn more about this, you can join BU’s Carbon Literacy training courses for students and staff which run termly.
We are looking forward to the strides we can take in the coming years to achieve a net zero Bournemouth University by 2030/31 and provide details of our next steps in the report.