further & higher education

Higher Education Sustainability Forum

further & higher education

08:30 - 16:30

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Central London


The HE Sustainability Forum will provide the opportunity to discuss the future of sustainable development within the higher education sector. This event will explore how universities can develop strategies and policies in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals to create sustainable campuses through their leadership, students, research, estates, and partnerships. Delegates will hear from policy experts and leading universities on how to create sustainable institutions fit for the future. 


This Forum is specifically designed for the Higher Education Sector including:

  • Heads of Environment and Sustainability
  • Director of Estates
  • Professors
  • Directors of Energy
  • Heads of Campus Services
  • Vice-Chancellors
  • Pro Vice-Chancellors
  • Sustainability Officers
  • Directors of Strategy and Planning
  • Heads of Governance and Assurance
  • Heads of Business Development
  • Sustainability Lecturers
  • Research Fellows
  • Strategy Managers

This Forum is also open to the wider Education Sector, Local and Central Government, Private Sector and the Voluntary Sector to encourage debate and discussion.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Professor Janet Haddock-Fraser, Professor of Sustainability and Leadership, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chair of Trustees, EAUC 
  • Jamie Agombar, Executive Director, Students Organising for Sustainability (SoS)
  • Zamzam Ibrahim, President, National Union of Students (NUS)
  • Professor Joy Carter, Vice-Chancellor, University of Winchester and GuildHE Representative, The Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education Leaders
  • Emma Gardner, Head of Environment Sustainability, University of Manchester
  • Richard Jackson, Director Sustainability, UCL 
  • Charmaine Morrell, Sustainable Development Manager, Nottingham Trent University
  • Joseph Alcamo, Director, Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP), University of Sussex
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Julie Walkling, Director of Students, Royal Agricultural University (invited)

Part 1 – Sustainable Leadership


Keynote: Ensuring Sustainable Leadership and Governance

  • Exploring how to develop a culture of sustainable leadership and governance within higher education so that institutions behave in a socially responsible and sustainable manner
  • Sharing the role of the newly establish Climate Commission for Higher and Further Education Leaders in helping university and college leaders to tackle climate change
  • Assessing the targets and frameworks that will need to be met by universities to build sustainable institutions
  • Understanding how organisational structures and strategies can help in delivering more sustainable institutions

Professor Janet Haddock-Fraser, Professor of Sustainability and Leadership, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chair of Trustees, EAUC (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Developing an Outstanding Sustainable Leadership Team

  • Sharing how to effectively develop and deliver a sustainable governance model
  • Exploring the Nottingham Trent University Sustainable Development and Green Academy Teams, which work in partnership with departments across the university to embed sustainability
  • Understanding how to embed institution-wide sustainability, with governor and executive-level focus
  • Embedding sustainability as part of the university strategy by including an ‘Embracing Sustainability’ strategy strand

Finalist of Outstanding Leadership Team of the Year Green Gown Awards 2019

Charmaine Morrell, Sustainable Development Manager, Nottingham Trent University (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Delivering a Sustainability Strategy Which Supports the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals

  • Sharing the journey of environmental sustainability at the University of Manchester introducing the new framework that embeds the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Exploring the impact of this policy on ensuring sustainable research, teaching, operation, engagement and people
  • Discovering how the University of Manchester has been able to become one of the most sustainable universities in the UK through team engagement and sustainability programmes
  • Outlining how the strategy seeks to make a difference to society and the environment by highlighting social responsibility as a goal

The University of Manchester is ranked 3rd in the World and 1st in the UK in the University Impact Rankings 2019

Emma Gardner, Head of Environment Sustainability, University of Manchester (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking

Part 2 – Sustainable Strategy and Action


Keynote: Developing a Strategic Framework for Sustainability in Higher Education

  • Outlining how the formation of The Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education Leaders will create a clear, cohesive and consistent response to the government’s declared Climate and Environment Emergency
  • Sharing the development of a strategic framework for higher education institutions which will set out ambitious targets and proposal to ensure progress towards sustainability
  • Working in collaboration with other institutions and top academics and researchers to use existing good practice to embed sustainability across the higher education sector

Professor Joy Carter, Vice-Chancellor, University of Winchester and GuildHE Representative, The Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education Leaders (CONFIRMED)


Keynote: Students Organising for Sustainability – A Strategic Overview

  • Exploring the landscape of sustainability in higher education and the main challenges faced in creating institutions fit for the future
  • Sharing the aims of SOS-UK to harness the desire of students and young people to respond to the climate emergency and make a real difference now
  • Outlining the three core workstreams and areas of focus for SOS-UK: Students leading on and learning about sustainability, transforming education and making sustainability inclusive
  • Working in partnership with NUS to deliver its sustainability programmes including: Student Switch Off, Green Impact and Divest-Invest

Jamie Agombar, Executive Director, Students Organising for Sustainability (SoS) (CONFIRMED)


Student Voice: Sharing the Students Perspective on Sustainability in Higher Education

  • Outlining the important part that students play in supporting the sustainability of higher education institutions
  • Discussing how sustainability can be embedded in the curriculum to support student learning during their time at university
  • Exploring how students and leadership in higher education can work in partnership to raise awareness and respond to the climate emergency

Zamzam Ibrahim, President, National Union of Students (NUS) (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking

Part 3 – Green Campuses and Estates


Panel Discussion: The Next Steps in Developing a Sustainable Campus and Estate

  • Sharing best practice insights for developing and designing sustainable campuses through improving energy efficiency and reducing waste
  • Outlining key advancements across the sector in reducing the carbon footprint of higher education institutions
  • Exploring innovative ways for modernising university campuses in order to build sustainable campuses of the future
  • Developing a sustainable estates and campus strategy in line with the Sustainable Development Goals

Paul Roberts, Head of Environment and Sustainability, University of the West of England (Invited)

Richard Jackson, Director Sustainability, UCL (CONFIRMED)

Laura Carter, Energy and Carbon Management Officer, University of Central Lancashire (Invited)


Case Study: Designing and Creating Sustainable Buildings

  • Revolutionising students’ higher education experience through a sustainable campus
  • Shaping learning through physical, open and digital spaces which provide technology-rich, immersive and interactive sustainable environments
  • Outlining how the new campus was developed as a sustainable carbon neutral campus, being powered by 100% renewable energy
  • Exploring other features of the new campus which contribute to its sustainability, including LED lighting, a ventilation system which monitors airflow and rainwater harvesting

Winner of The Guardian University Award for Sustainable Buildings That Inspire 2019

Finalist of Campus of the Future Green Gown Awards 2019

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal & Vice-Chancellor, University of West Scotland (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking

Part 4 – Sustainable Research and Learning


Case Study: Sustainability Research: An Essential Part of Higher Education

  • Sharing the goals and mission of the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme in becoming a key global centre for delivering ‘Science for the SDGs’
  • Exploring some of the 20 interdisciplinary research projects which address and examine the interactions between the sustainable development goals
  • Outlining how sustainable research can create wide social impact by influencing policy and stimulating action

Joseph Alcamo, Director, Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP), University of Sussex (CONFIRMED)


Workshop: Harmony in Education, Embedding Sustainability in the Curriculum

  • Understand how to embed sustainability within learning and the curriculum
  • Sharing effective strategies for raising awareness of climate change education to ensure it’s considered part of the university and student experience
  • Exploring how the Centre for Climate Action aims to be a home for action on climate change education at the University of Winchester and sharing best practice examples of collaborative interdisciplinary working

Dr Tammi Sinha, Director, Climate Action Centre, University of Winchester (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Closing Remarks

*Programme Subject to Change

In November 2019 the EAUC, Association of Colleges, GuildHE and Universities UK launched a Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education in order to create real impact and drive change. With the UK government committing to net zero emissions on all green house gases by 2050 the Higher Education (HE) sector needs to take action to support this goal.

HE institutions also play a crucial role in the delivery of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this has been recently recognised with the launch of the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings which assess universities against the SDGs. HE institutions can support these goals through action within leadership, students, research and campuses.

In 2018 the National Union of Students conducted research and published a report on ‘Students perceptions of sustainability in higher education’, finding that students consistently expect their universities to be taking action on sustainable development. 91% of students said they agree their place of study should actively incorporate and promote sustainable development. With 70% of students saying they would like to see sustainable development actively incorporated and promoted through all courses.

The importance of HE as a catalyst for sustainable development is starting to emerge, considering the impact and influence these institutions have over future generations, it is crucial to improve sustainability across HE.

Emma Gardner, Head of Environment Sustainability, University of Manchester 

Emma leads in the development and implementation of the University’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy.  Emma is also responsible for an enabling framework to support the delivery of the University’s zero carbon commitment.  Emma works closely with members of the President’s senior leadership team, in particular the Vice President for Social Responsibility, staff in key areas across professional services, academic staff who are involved in the sustainability agenda for education and for research, the student body, and local /regional bodies.  Prior to the University, Emma worked in the public and private sector on a wide range of national and international sustainability projects.


Charmaine Morrell, Sustainable Development Manager, Nottingham Trent University

Charmaine heads up sustainability at Nottingham Trent University, developing strategy and policy whilst ensuring its effective implementation.  Charmaine advises the Executive Team, Colleges and Professional Services, through an embedded governance model, ensuring the alignment and delivery  across the University.  Heading up NTU’s  Sustainable Development Team and being responsible for allocating funds for projects that reduce the University’s environmental footprint, Charmaine oversees external sustainability reporting, benchmarking and awards, where recent national successes have included winning the Retail Partner Category at the British Heart Foundations  a Heart Heroes Awards 2019 and the Outstanding Leadership Team of the Year at the Green Gown Awards 2019.  With over 16 years sustainability experience gained from a varied career in manufacturing, construction, infrastructure and consultancy, Charmaine is a Chartered Environmentalist and committed to making positive environmental and social impacts as an ambassador for sustainability.

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