USW aims to be carbon neutral by 2040


The University of South Wales (USW) is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2040.

This is part of a new USW Carbon Strategy, which recognises that decarbonisation is an essential requirement to operate and maintain a sustainable university environment - part of the University’s 2030 strategy.

The University will initially be focusing on addressing carbon emissions that are generated by its procurement of goods and services, as well as through its electricity and gas consumption. Water consumption, emissions from waste, business travel and low carbon travel, as well as policy and behavioural change will also be addressed.

Some changes have already been introduced that have started to have a positive impact, including introducing LED lights, solar panels, biodegradable packaging options in catering facilities and switching to some local suppliers. The University’s carbon footprint has already reduced by 32% since 2012/13.

Professor Julie Lydon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Wales, said: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges that is facing the World and we are conscious of our carbon impact at USW. We want to embed sustainability at the heart of everything that we do and have already implemented various changes to our practices over the last couple of years to start addressing this.

“We want to leave the right long-lasting legacy at USW that benefits our communities, and therefore as part of our social responsibility we need to safeguard our environmental impact regionally, and indeed globally. That is why we have now set out our aim to be carbon neutral by 2040.”

Beyond the University’s business activity, USW has long been committed to research in this area, with the Sustainable Environment Research Centre (SERC) undertaking national and world-leading research into waste treatment and the sustainable production of energy from waste and grown biomass. It brings together leaders from biology, engineering, chemistry, and physics in a single academic team combining their resources and skills in order to address major energy and environmental R&D challenges.

In Baglan, researchers at USW’s Hydrogen Centre work with major industry partners to identify methods of decarbonisation, particularly through the adoption of hydrogen technologies.

In 2020, USW helped to establish and develop the South Wales Industrial Cluster, working as the academic lead with industrial partners to identify the best options for cost-effective decarbonisation of industry in South Wales.