Sustainability Round Up 2023

Sustainability Round Up 2024

Highlights and headlines from the last 12 months of sustainability activity at Kent. Including projects, initiatives, news stories and data from across the university.


  • Awarded a Gold Award in the Wilder Kent Awards for 2023 for taking positive action to restore green spaces and help people to reconnect with nature

Key links and information

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    Reduction in Scope 1 & 2 Carbon Emissions (compared to 2018/19 baseline)  

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    Species identified during the 2023 Bioblitz

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    Staff and Students certified Carbon Literate  

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    Research publications related to the SDGs over the last 5 years  

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    Place in the people and Planet University League table 

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    Food produced by volunteers at the Kent Community Oasis Garden  

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    Staff members volunteering as Sustainability Champions

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    Tonnes of food waste diverted from landfill to anaerobic digestion  


  • Published our new Sustainable Food Plan setting out our plant-forward towards more sustainable, affordable, and delicious food on campus. 
  • We launched our sustainability projects assessment framework to ensure that all of our major construction, refurbishment and infrastructure works consider and apply sustainability, and maximise the opportunities for improvement.
  • We saved 89 tonnes CO2e just by turning down our heating by 1 degree and a further 14 tonnes through installing LED lighting and automatic sensors in the Registry building.
  • Saving from our Warp-It furniture reuse scheme are now at £1.25 million and we have saved over 636 tonnes putting us in 2nd place overall on the Warp-It leader board.
  • Our campus shuttle is now run by Zeelo who use efficient Euro6 vehicles to deliver a 100% carbon neutral service.
  • We standardised our 10% discounts for using your own mug in our catering outlets reducing our use of single-use cups

River of Vegetation

The University is fundraising to create a ‘river of vegetation’ across the Canterbury campus, which will act as natural signposting to flagship project areas: the Kent Community Oasis Garden and Diamond Anniversary Orchard.

We aim to create a high amenity and pollen value trail that acts as a wildlife corridor as well as an education tool, and foraging trail. The 1st plants have been put in the ground, with 50 fruiting and medicinal trees being planted along the route. 

Keep an eye out as the project develops. We will be publishing more information soon about the route and how you can get involved.

Leadership and Governance

  • Expanded the scope of our Sustainability work through creating sub-groups of the Sustainability Steering Group to cover more areas of the University. 
  • We signed the fossil free declaration stating that The University of Kent has no investments in extractor fossil fuel companies, and commits to ensuring that they will be excluded from any future investments we make.
  • Embedded a sustainability impact assessment into our strategic change business case to ensure that sustainability risks and opportunities are identified for all University change projects.
  • On top of the mandatory sustainability awareness training for all staff, We ran a number of bespoke training sessions for key staff across the University including Carbon Literacy training for all iCCi staff, practical spill response for staff whose role involves hazardous materials, a series of bespoke workshops for Commercial Services and Estates, and Biodiversity impact identification for staff involved with projects and maintenance.

Carbon Literacy

We expanded our popular Carbon Literacy training programme and now have 94 students and staff certified as Carbon Literate.

Carbon Literacy Training is an engaging, interactive way for learners to build thier understanding of the causes and effects of climate change and the role of society and individuals in reducing emissions.

This one-day course is delivered by the University’s Sustainability team using a course developed by Manchester Metropolitan University in collaboration with the Carbon Literacy Trust

Learning, Teaching and Research

  • We launched our Sustainability Skills pathway In response to growing demand from employers for graduates with sustainability skills. This short online course, guides learners through a series of activities to understand more about the climate crisis and sustainability challenge, find out about responses across different sectors and to understand sustainability in the context of your career. 
  • The Global Officers Leadership Development (GOLD) programme provides opportunity for undergraduate students to develop their leadership skills, Global Citizenship and cultural awareness. Over the last three years the SDGs have become a core part of the GOLD programme allowing students to embed sustainability into their understanding of what it means to be a global citizen and change agent. This year Global Officers have led on seed bomb workshops and are running their own Earth Day celebration.
  • The Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology was awarded £8.3 million by Research England's Expanding Excellence in England (E3) for a five-year project titled "Sharing Space for Nature: enhancing the role of conservation areas in tackling current environmental crises".   
  • The annual Eastern Arc Conference 2023: Food in a Time of Crisis was held at Kent. Bringing together academics, researchers, businesses, policy-makers, charities and other organisations,  to explore the issues, make connections and start to work together to identify solutions to the current crisis we’re in. 
  • Marketing students from KBS have been carrying out market research on the recycling behaviours and attitudes of students living on campus.

Learning and Teaching Conference

On 27th June 2023, staff and students gathered for the annual learning & teaching conference titled 'Embedding Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the Curriculum and Co-Curriculum.

The presentations and posters from the conference are now available below. The conference was opened by Professor Richard Reece, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Education and Student Experience, and Dr Patrick Baughan, Head of Education at the University of Law and a former Senior Learning Advisor at Advance HE specialising in ESD, gave the keynote.

Student led activities and support for students

  • The Student Working Group from the School of Anthropology and Conservation won a Canterbury Climate Action Partnership (CCAP) further/higher education award in December, for their sustainability initiatives such as climate cafes, plant-based loyalty cards and their involvement in the BioBlitz. 
  • The Conservation Society brought people to nature with bird walks, pond dipping, wildlife photography workshops, and more. On campus, one of their members has been leading amphibian surveys across our many ponds, collecting valuable data on all of the newts, frogs, and toads.
  • Students taking part in the ASPIRE Business Start Up Journey took part in an ideas hack at the Kent Community Oasis Garden in November, working to take inspiration directly from the natural environment. ASPIRE supports students to embed sustainability into their business ideas and connect with industry experts.
  • The Sustainability Student Network has held a series of events over the last year including sustainable festive crafts, socials for like minded students and a survey event at Nexus for students to share their sustainability concerns. The Network has also been collaborating with the SAC Student Working Group to create resources for students to support recycling behaviours in accomodation.
  • Kent Gleaning Collective is a student-led, collaborative initiative by Produced in Kent, Kent Union and the University of Kent. The gleaning group will work together with growers in Kent, picking surplus fresh produce left on the fields, and redistributing this to charities, community groups and food banks in the Canterbury area, including the Campus Pantry at Kent Union.
  • There have been a number of Kent Stars this year representing sustainability projects at Kent, as well as their own incredible projects, including Ameira Raveendran and Charlie Vincent from KentCOG, and Horticultural Hero Jack Scott who won the BBC Countryfile Young Countryside Champion Award.
Devin Finaughty.

BioBlitz 2023

Led by students from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, the BioBlitz is an annual event that captures a snapshot of the species diversity on our Canterbury campus in a 24 hour period. The BioBlitz carries out bird, amphibian, moth, small mammal surveys and much more! In 2023 over 400 people took part from the University and local community. In the time period 321 species were recorded.

Now entering its 4th year, the BioBlitz promises to be bigger and better, taking place on May 18th and featuring new surveys, activities and The University of Kent Cecilian Choir giving a special wildlife themed performance.

Sustainability Champions

  • The annual Computing and Climate Change lecture was held by Sustainability Champion Dominic Orchard highlighting the need for computing students to understand their role in supporting and finding solutions to support rapid decarbonisation
  • Sustainability Champions at the Medway campus set up the Medway Mile (a mile long walk through campus) in conjunction with the Mason Foundation to encourage students, staff and the local community to get out and get moving
  • Sustainability Champion Alex Moores in Biosciences led a student internship project undertaken by Demi Kuye investigating the potential to embed Sustainability into the Biosciences curriculum. Read the report and presentation.
  • Sustainability Champion Dr Silvio Caputo, Kent School of Architecture and Planning, received awards funding from Horizon Europe for GreenME – a project focusing on green prescribing. The Kent Community Oasis Garden and the collaboration with East Mind will help provide information and a test site for the project.
  • Sustainability Champion Debi Adams launched the Gear up to Grow series, a monthly workshop at the Kent Community Oasis Garden that covered key sustainability issues e.g. food supply chains, climate change, ecological breakdown etc and contextualised the theory around these with proactive gardening activities