People & Planet University League

People & Planet's university league is an award-winning environmental ranking of all the UK’s universities and is the only comprehensive and independent league table ranked by environmental and ethical performance. It is compiled annually by the UK’s largest student campaigning network, People & Planet.

The University is currently ranked 47th in the UK, 10th amongst Russell Group universities and 5th in the North West region and recognised with a 2:1 Class award in the 2022 People & Planet University League. The full scorecard results can be found here. The results are based on the time period between July and August 2022. The University has made significant progress since then which can help boost scores next year, including the recent launch of the Climate Plan, the recruitment of six new dedicated sustainability staff and an updated Environmental Policy. The results will be used to identify further areas for improvement. In the meantime, click below to see how we are currently performing against People & Planet's methodology for 2023/24

Back to: Sustainability

Does the university have a public sustainability policy that has been published or reviewed and updated within the last 5 years?

The University’s Environmental Policy has been reviewed and updated within the last 5 years and can be found here.

Does the university work to an environmental sustainability strategy, setting SMART targets for reducing environmental impact?

The University’s Sustainability Strategy sets SMART targets for reducing environmental impacts and can be viewed here.

Does the university have an externally verified environmental management system (EMS), does it cover the whole university estate and what level of accreditation has been achieved?

The University has an externally verified environmental management system (EMS) to make sure it complies with relevant environmental legislation and continually reduces its environmental impacts and improves environmental performance. The ISO 14001 accredited EMS includes all properties owned or leased by UoL within the stated locations that are included in the list of buildings requiring Display Energy Certificates. More information on the EMS, its structure, and its scope can be found here 

Has the institution carried out a comprehensive audit of environmental impacts in the last five years?

Yes, our environmental impacts are audited on an annual basis as part of our ISO14001 accredited EMS. 

Is sustainability included within the portfolio of responsibilities of a member of the university senior management team?

Sustainability is included within the portfolio of responsibilities of a member of the university senior management team. Nicola Davies, Chief Financial Officer is the executive lead for sustainability at the University and Chair of the Sustainability Board and further information can be found here. 

Who is working on environmental sustainability?

There are wide variety of colleagues across the University working on environmental sustainability. The University Council, in partnership with Liverpool Guild of Students, has overarching responsibility for ensuring that the University meets its SDG Accord commitments. The Senior Leadership Team has overarching responsibility for the University's Sustainability Policy and receives quarterly updates from the Sustainability Board. The Sustainability Board, chaired by Chief Financial Officer, Nicola Davies oversees the development of a Sustainability Strategy, which aims to help address all the UN SDGs and brings together the work from several working groups into a holistic framework. The Sustainability team work to implement and deliver the Sustainability Strategy and provide operational support across all areas of sustainability.

Visit the Sustainability Governance page for information on how our governance structure embeds sustainability into culture and practice, and further details on the Sustainability Project Team. 

Staff working in dedicated sustainability roles are listed on the university website?

There are currently 12 roles within Sustainability at the University. 9 roles within the Environmental Sustainability team: Director of Estates, Head of Environmental Sustainability and Energy Services, Environmental Sustainability Officer, Environmental Sustainability Officer, Sustainability Communications and Engagement Officer, Circular Economy Manager, Waste and Recycling Officer, Carbon and Utilities Manager and Carbon and Energy Officer. There are also 3 in the Sustainability Programme Team, Head of Sustainability Programmes and two Project Managers. Each Job Role, area of sustainability responsibility and contact details can be found here 

The sustainability strategy supported with a budget of over £1mil a year dedicated to sustainability. The annual Sustainability Fund also awards projects between £10,000-£100,000 that are focussed on making an impact towards the University’s sustainability challenges or one or more of the UN Sustainable Development goals. 

Does the university support a staff engagement scheme to involve staff in improving the environmental performance of the university?

The university supports staff engagement to improve the environmental performance of the university. The Sustainability Team undertake a range of communications and engagement activities to support the delivery of the Environmental Policy and Strategy and Climate Plan. The University provides a range of opportunities for staff engagement in sustainability and improving the environmental performance of the University, such as an annual Sustainability Fund, ESD resources for staff, the Laboratory Assessment Efficiency Framework (LEAF) to improve the sustainability and efficiency of laboratories, technical workspaces including workshops, studios and galleries, opportunities to contribute to the sustainability newsletter and events throughout the year and the annual Sustainability Week. The University will be offering staff the opportunity to complete Carbon Literacy training from 2023.  

There are also three faculty sustainability committees which support environmental performance, within the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences and the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.  

The Sustainability Communications and Engagement Group are responsible to the Sustainability Board for overseeing the delivery of communications and engagement activity relating to the Sustainability Strategy and associated action plans.  

Does the institution have an active, robust and publicly available ethical investment policy reported on at senior level?

The University’s publicly available Ethical Investment Policy can be found here. 

Our Ethical Investment Policy commits the University to invest its funds on a socially responsible basis with due regard to environmental, social and governance issues. It adopts both the UN Principles for Responsible Investment to better align investors with the broader objectives of society and the UN Global Compact principles focusing on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. 

The University ensures its suppliers follow responsible practices in relation to workers, environment and society. We have begun working with suppliers to develop individual action plans that address modern slavery and other key sustainability issues, such as fossil fuel and arms companies. More information on responsible supply chains can be found here.  

The policy should apply to the full scope of institution’s investments or be integrated within any other investment policy

This can be found in the Ethical Investment Policy on page 1 under 'Introduction' here.

The policy should be clearly signed off at a senior level and there should be evidence within the policy itself that it was last updated/reviewed within the last 5 years. 

This can be found on the Ethical Investment Policy cover page.

The university commits to including student representation on its investment committee

A List of committee members that oversee investments can be found here: Investments Sub-Committee Terms of Reference We are working with the Guild of Students to make further improvements to the policy including ethical investing in the local community. 

A commitment to publicly list all investments annually?

We publish a list of investments in both overseas and UK companies. Our Ethical Investment Policy applies to the full scope of the investments held by the University. Find out more here.

Commitment to screen out fossil fuel companies: partial commitment or full commitment to screen out all fossil fuel companies?

The University has full fossil fuel exclusion in place. This can be found under 'exclusions' in the Ethical Investment Policy. 

Partial commitment or full commitment to screen out all arm companies? 

The University has made the commitment to screen out companies that derive more than 10% of their revenue from the manufacture or sale of armaments 

The University website collates information in one place about investment practices and procedures in such a way that facilitates greater transparency and access to information for students, staff and the general public                                                    

Each of the following is easily accessed through a clearly identifiable section of the university website: 

Meeting minutes that provide updates on investment policy reviews and divestment/investment status if relevant?

Yes, the University documents investment policy review meetings. 

Does the institution have an active and publicly available ethical careers policy that has been updated in the last 4 years?

Yes, the University has a publicly available Ethical Careers Policy updated in the last 4 years and can be found here. 

We also have a Job Posting Policy, which can be found hereThe University’s careers services is easily accessible through our Careers and Employability page.  

Does the University have a publicly available carbon management plan which meets each of the following 5 conditions?

The Energy Services Team monitor energy and carbon across the entire University in support of the Sustainability Strategy and Strategy2026 Net Zero Carbon targets. The University's Climate plan sets out our ambitions, principles, and commitments in relation to addressing the climate crisis and outlines how we are going to move forward in developing our pathway to achieving net zero by 2035. With key activities already underway, the Climate plan will help us transition to net zero at pace and with real impact.  

Are scope 3 emissions reported to HESA through the EMR?

The target comprises scope 1 & 2 emissions; meanwhile scope 3 emissions (including from waste, travel and supply chain) are addressed within the University’s sustainability governance AND reported to HESA Estate Management Return. These can also be accessed via the Sustainability Annual Report 2021/22

Does the institution have a sustainable travel policy that seeks to reduce emissions for staff travel?

The University has a sustainable business travel policy that can be found here and is committed to encouraging sustainable travel behaviours by offering a range of award-winning sustainable travel initiatives and facilities, which reduce carbon emissions, improve local air quality, reduce traffic congestion and improve local communities. The Travel and Transport Working Group are ensuring equitable car parking management and sustainable travel initiatives, and the University recently launched a staff and student travel survey. The data collected from the surveys will be used to baseline scope 3 carbon emissions associated with travel and inform the development of a University Travel Plan, and a new Travel Policy which is currently under development.  

Is the University accredited by the Living Wage Foundation as a Living Wage employer?

The university is accredited by the living wage foundation as a living wage employer. 

Does the university have policy on how it will establish and monitor parity of pay, terms and conditions and pensions between in-house and outsourced contact staff?

Yes, please see the University’s Statutory Pay Gap Report. 

Is the institution a Fairtrade University?

The university is not currently a Fairtrade university, however we have developed a Fairtrade Policy and a Sustainable Food Policy and have embedded ethical and sustainable practices through their curriculum, procurement, research and campaigns and are keen to participate in the programme in the future. 

Are the university ITC supply chains covered by Electronics Watch?

The University of Liverpool is a member of the North Western Universities Purchasing Consortiumand much of what we buy is through framework agreements created by this and other HE consortia throughout the country. 

Is the university signed up to the Can't Buy My Silence universities pledge?

The University is signed up to the Can't Buy My Silence universities pledge to stop using NDAs for complaints about sexual harassment, abuse or misconduct, or other forms of harassment and bullying.

Does the university have a publicly-available sustainable food policy (or a Sustainable Procurement Policy which integrates sustainability criteria for food) that is reported on annually at a senior level of the university?

Yes, the sustainable food policy can be found here.  The University also has a procurement policy which is available through the staff intranet.

Does the university's sustainable food policy require that sustainability standards are embedded in tenders & contracts with external contractors?

Yes, sustainability standards are embedded in tenders and contracts with external contractors through our membership of TUCO (The University Caterers Organisation).  

Does the university provide space and / or other support for student / staff-led sustainable food projects?

The University provides space for sustainable food projects. The Guild if Students Sustainability Team and volunteers are busy all year-round transforming areas of campus into the garden of dreams, with raised beds, Guild Walk Wall Planter and Hügelkultur provide opportunities to grow food in the most sustainable way. Give it aGo sessionsoffer lots of ways staff and students can get engaged in growing things, from herb pot planting to fungus gardens! 

The Guild of Students Gardening project is an ongoing effort to increase and upscale food growing opportunities on campus. The project is partly funded by the ‘Sowing the Seeds of Sustainability’ initiative, put forward by the University’s Sustainability Fund and runs in collaboration with University staff at our Central Teaching Labs. Together, we create and maintain growing spaces through various volunteering events which work in conjunction with the research conducted by staff. The project is a popular opportunity among students, and as such, a large contingent of them participate in the weekly maintenance of our growing spaces. Every week, students and staff work together to weed, feed and water the crops being grown, taking into consideration the need to keep the areas welcoming to pollinators and other beneficial wildlife. New crops are planted according to the season, which maximises the yield of our growing spaces, as well as keeping our volunteers occupied year-roundThe gardening project represents a pragmatic approach to sustainability, in which the University and the Guild of Students work in tandem to support biodiversity, grow seasonally appropriate crops, and assist University staff with vital research relating to wellbeing, soil quality and urban growing.  

More details of food projects and initiatives can be found in the latest Sustainability Annual Report.

Are the university sustainability policy and strategy and other student engagement opportunities for sustainability a component of every student induction?

Yes, at induction process and during Welcome Week, each year the Sustainability Team host a stall, for students to find out about how they can find out more about sustainability at the University of Liverpool, including information about sustainability policy and strategy and the range of engagement opportunities available. The University Sustainability in Action online course is introduced to all students during Welcome Week activities and all current students are automatically enrolled in Canvas. New students are welcomed on to campus for the start of the new academic year, as we aimed to equip them with the skills, information and knowledge to be more sustainable in Liverpool, and beyondDedicated staff are on hand to answer questions, provide insight into the Sustainability in Action module and the Student Sustainability Hub, sustainability in halls, as well as the health and wellbeing support networks and resources available at the University.  

The Guild of Students also provide resources for students. 

Does the university actively and regularly promote events and activities aimed at increasing engagement?

The University and Guild of Students host regular sustainability events and initiatives throughout the year and participate in the University wide Wellbeing Week and Feel Good February programme of events. The University’s annual Sustainability Week in collaboration with the Guild of Students delivers nearly 50 different events for staff and student’s, the aim of the week is to raise awareness of sustainability objectives and initiatives at the University and promote positive behaviour change amongst our community. Sustainability Week 2023 kicked off with a Sustainability Fair, where a range of businesses, academics, internal and external teams showcased their sustainable projects and achievements. Events held during the week were varied to reflect our broader commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and included, a lecture on Net Zero Challenges and Solutions, workshops on creative plastics recycling, zero waste sauerkraut making, swap shops, film screenings, cycle event with Peloton, a falconry display and guided tours of the Energy Centre, LEAF accredited laboratories as well as the MIF and the Spine Building. 

Does the university provide funds for student-led sustainability projects?

The University provides annual funding for student led sustainability projects, such as funds allocated for 6 student interns to enhance the student sustainability community through online and campus activities. Examples of student-led projects include example the San Marcos Business Challenge, Green Impact, UN SDG Curriculum Mapping, and Sowing the Seeds of Sustainability developed from the Sustainability Fund. See our Annual Report for an overview of some of the projects that took place in 2021/22. 

Do all staff inductions cover university sustainability policy, strategy and areas for staff to engage?

The University organises regular induction events for new starters to help better understand their place of work, meet colleagues, be welcomed by senior members of staff, and hear from key contacts from across the University who can provide advice and support on many aspects of working at the University, including sustainability. 

Are invitations extended to recognised Trade Union representatives by way of membership at committees to which the sustainability strategy, carbon management plan and other relevant strategic areas of sustainable development are reported?

Invitations extended to recognised Trade Union representatives by way of membership at committees to which the sustainability strategy, climate plan and other relevant strategic areas of sustainable development are reported, see Climate Action Advisory Group Terms of Reference .

Sustainability and climate action are the focus of a series of meetings between senior University leaders and local representatives from University and College Union (UCU), UNITE and UNISON, the Green New Deal (GND) University of Liverpool Action Group and the Liverpool Guild of Students.

Meetings are scheduled regularly to help foster discussions on the University’s sustainability and Climate Plan actions. They refer in part to matters raised by the Green New Deal Action Group, a collaboration between students and the campus unions, which seeks to make sustainability a priority in trade union relations with the University. Discussions include all aspects of university operations, from reducing our carbon emissions, to how we can develop and use our campus in a way which minimises our environmental impact. Sustainability in teaching, research and careers are also on the agenda as well as the University’s divestment strategy. More details can be found here.

Is there student representation on university committees concerned with estates, planning, finance and strategic decision making?

There is student representation on university committees concerned with estates, planning, finance and strategic decision making. The Guild of Students work closely with the University Council, and attend Sustainability Board and Advisory Group meetings to ensuring that the University’s SDG Accord commitments are being met. More information on the University’s Governance can be found here. 

Does the university conduct a student or staff-led mapping, auditing or tracking exercise of environmental sustainability annually?

There's the Education for Sustainable Development UN SDG Curriculum Mapping project where students can volunteer to identify links between existing modules and the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Project volunteers look to identify areas of best practice and opportunities for further development of the SDG's in their curriculum.

The university has developed or uses a framework or strategy for ESD?

There is a commitment to Education for Sustainable Development at the University of Liverpool at a high level. The ESD is being built around the interests, needs and ambitions of our students. More information on Education for Sustainable Development at the University of Liverpool can be found here. 

A key targetin the Sustainability Strategy is ensuring that every student has the opportunity to undertake a sustainability-related module, extra-curricular activity, or other relevant learning by 2022. This target has now been achieved as a result of a collaborative project between Careers and Employability, the Centre for Innovation in Education, and the Education for Sustainable Development working group.    

The university has a mechanism for reviewing and reporting on progress of the integration of Education for Sustainable Development into the curriculum with named person(s) responsible for progress?

The Education for Sustainable Development Working Group, chaired by Dr Matt Murphy - Senior Lecturer in Engineering Design, has responsibility for reviewing and reporting on progress of the integration of ESD into the curriculum. The Education for Sustainable Development Working Group's objective is to ensure that every student is aware of the University’s commitment to sustainability and the UN SDGS; and where every student is equipped with the knowledge and skills to make their own contribution to a sustainable future. 

The Education for Sustainable Development Working Group reports directly into the University's Education Committee. The Guild Liaison Committee, the Student Success Boards, and the Faculty Education Committees also report directly to the Education Committee. The Education Committee reports to Senate and Council and to the Finance and Resources Committee in relation to planning and resource allocation matters.

More details about achieving our ESD target can be found on our blog.

The university makes available support AND training to help all academic staff integrate Education for Sustainable Development into the curriculum?

The Centre for Innovation in Education coordinates staff development resources for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) at Liverpool. The University provides support and training to help all academic staff integrate ESD into the curriculum. ESD staff support is available through introductory guides, toolkits, case studies, an online self-paced course, bespoke support for staff to enhance ESD in their teaching, workshops, training,  events, and facilitates a staff community of practice. Further details on how the University supports and trains its staff to integrate ESD into the curriculum can be found here. 

Does the university promote real-world learning of skills for ESD, through the use of its setting as a ‘Living Lab’?

Yes, through Curriculum mapping and the Centre of Innovation in Education provides a range of opportunities for staff in the University to develop ESD within their learning and teaching. These resources are designed to enhance and develop student ESD competencies (knowledge, skills, attributes) to engage with complex real-world problems. The Environmental Planning and Management Project is an excellent example, displaying how real-world learning can be developed through ESD. It focuses on a module that facilitates learning through the process of environmental consultancy. Students gather evidence and relate this to their practice of contextualising and formulating solutions to real-world environmental problems. More information on real-world learning through ESD can be found here. 

Does the university support and highlights School, Faculty or Research team projects for Sustainable Development?

The university supports and highlights School, faculty or research team projects for Sustainable Development. There is a huge variety of projects and activities to get involved in at the University, where ideas and experiences can be shared. The University submits evidence to the THE Impact Rankings annually to capture our impact on society based on success in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals across four broad areas: research, stewardship, outreach and teaching. 

There are three faculty sustainability committees which support environmental performance, within the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences and the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences 

The Sustainability Fund recently awarded 10 projects funding of between £10,000 and £100,000, with successful applicants being based right across the University, from the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Science to Corporate Services in Humanities and Social Sciences and Liverpool University Press. In order to secure funding, applicants had to demonstrate that their project met one, or more, of the following criteria. Projects had to: 

  • Support the ambitions of the University’s Sustainability Strategy, such as meeting net zero carbon by 2035, reducing waste by 50% by 2025, or providing sustainable learning or extra-curricular activities for students 
  • Support the reduction of the University’s Scope 3 emissions, linked to, for example business travel, staff commuting, the purchase of goods and services, and investments 
  • Be aligned to one or more of the UN SDGs 

To help address the global impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, Climate futures are harnessing high-quality research expertise spanning climate science, emissions reduction, food sustainability, air quality impacts, new materials discovery, behaviour insights, risk communication, community engagement and the development of new sustainable technologies. Climate Futures are aligning these strengths to explore impacts of climate change, develop solutions to environmental challenges and address knowledge gaps.  

Does the university offer multiple scholarships for individuals from other forced migrant backgrounds?

The university offer tuition fee and maintenance support for up to four undergraduate students who have sought protection in the UK, so that they can succeed in higher education. The scholarships cover the cost of tuition and provide awards from £4,000 per year to support the costs of study e.g. equipment, books, travel and accommodation. You can find more information on the Asylum Seekers Scholarship here. 

Does the university offer multiple scholarships for the full duration and cost of the degree programme, or a full fee waiver, for people with refugee status or humanitarian protection?

To be considered for our Asylum Seekers Scholarship you must be an asylum seeker in the UK, a dependant of someone seeking asylum, or have temporary status such as discretionary leave or limited leave to remain in the UK, or be the dependent of someone with such status. For more on eligibility, click here. 

Does the university offer multiple scholarships for the full duration and cost of the degree programme, or a full fee waiver, for people with other limited forms of leave to remain in the UK?

Scholarships cover the cost of tuition and provide upwards of £4000 per year to support the costs of study, accommodation and travel. The value of the scholarship awarded will be dependent upon individual circumstances. More information can be found here.

Does the university offer support for living costs equivalent to that received through student finance to any of the groups in Education for Sustainable Development questions?

Yes, students experiencing financial difficulty and require support can contact our Money Advice & Guidance Team at or book an online confidential one-to-one appointment. International students are advised to contact our International Advice and Guidance Team at or book an online confidential one-one appointment. Students can also access the University Hardship Fund.To support students the University has recently tripled the Hardship Fund to £1.5 million from £500,000. We have also invested in additional staff resource to ensure applications to the University Hardship Fund are processed as swiftly as possible. 

Does the university include any of the groups mentioned in Education for Sustainable Development questions 5.a-5.c in their Access and Participation plan?

Widening Participation and Outreach team at the University of Liverpool has a well-established support programme for young people who have faced a Disrupted Education. We would like to engage with young people who have the potential to progress to university, but due to disruptions within their education, may face barriers when considering higher education. The University of Liverpool can offer bespoke information and guidance from designated outreach staff to support transition to university, and support with transport to enable participation in the University’s Open Days and Applicant Discovery Days on campus to young people who have experienced a disruption to their education. Not to mention the University’s Asylum Seekers Scholarship 

Energy Sources, Waste and Recycling, Carbon Reduction and Water Reduction

Information on the University's Energy Sources, Waste and Recycling, Carbon Reduction and Water Reduction is published within the 2021/22 Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Estates Management Record (EMR) and Annual Report 2021/22.