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Sustainable operations

Reducing our impact on the environment

We are committed to having a positive impact on our local communities, on the national education system and on the wider world. This includes ensuring that our work is sustainable and seeks to avoid negative impact on the environment and climate. Linking to our work on communities, we are committed to: 

  • Developing our pupils as citizens with an ethical compass, a strong sense of their responsibilities to others and conscious of the impact they can have on their community, society and the planet.
  • Reducing the carbon emissions associated with our operations, towards our goal of carbon neutral, and removing 50,000 tCO2 emissions a year by 2030.

We have already taken some important steps to reduce our carbon impact, but we have a long way to go.  

In 2019 we worked with the Carbon Trust to measure our carbon footprint to determine our baseline emissions. From this starting point, we are continuing to improve the accuracy of the data, using it to measure our progress as well as identify areas to focus on. Carbon footprint reports are produced for every school, which are further used as a training and engagement tool for staff and pupils. 

We moved our electricity supply to 100% renewable sources in 2020, and we are looking to invest more to reduce our reliance on gas – including the replacement of old, inefficient gas boilers. Each of our schools has a decarbonisation plan which sets out what is required to minimise emissions from our school buildings.  

We are also focusing on reducing emissions associated with our supply chain. Work is underway to promote ‘conscious consumption‘ and to raise awareness that through the decisions we make about what to purchase and the suppliers we use, we can influence our suppliers to change their behaviour and reduce their own carbon emissions. 

Engaging staff, pupils, parents and communities is at the heart of our strategy to make more sustainable choices; from the food we eat, to the amount of waste we generate (and how it is treated), and the way we get to school. 

Embedding sustainability in our curriculum is vital. Schools have nominated ‘Carbon Neutral Champions’, who oversee their school's or cluster’s sustainability plans. Governors play an important and integral role by having supportive local conversations that build accountability. The voice and agency of young people is a core tenet of our strategy. Many of our schools use programmes offered by Eco Schools or Green Schools to engage pupils, staff and the school community in sustainability action projects. Many schools have an eco-group or a sustainability focus as part of their student council remit. Centrally, we offer a number of youth-focused events, such as COP Simulation Events, and Student Leadership programmes, that feed into a wider youth engagement strategy. 

United Learning comprises: United Learning Ltd (Registered in England No: 00018582. Charity No. 313999) UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee.
Registered address: United Learning, Worldwide House, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SB.

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