World Environment Day | Our Planet Needs Our Help

World Environment Day | Our Planet Needs Our Help

by Newcastle University

Our planet needs our help. In April 2019 we signalled our commitment to climate change action by joining a number of organisations in the UK and all over the world to declare a climate emergency.  

Since then, our community has been working hard to drive forward this agenda right across our organisation, as well as linking with partners in the city and region to make sure our policies, investments and activities are continually progressing toward a more sustainable future.


Impact and Rankings


In April 2020, we were ranked 11th in the world, out of 766 institutions, for our impact towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by Times Higher Education, climbing 12 places from our position in last year’s Impact Rankings.

We also ranked sixth in the world for ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’, in recognition of the impact of our research in the area of sustainability, support for the culture, arts and heritage sectors, and for sustainable practices.

We placed eighth in the world for ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’, thanks to a number of initiatives, such as our policy on ethical sourcing of food and supplies, as well as policies on waste disposal and efforts to minimise the use of plastics.

The Impact Rankings also placed us joint 12th in the world for ‘Partnerships for the Goals’, showcasing our work through partnerships and collaborations to meet UN sustainable development goals.

Additionally, we have achieved a First Class Honours award annually since 2012 in People and Planet’s UK University League Rankings. Ranking 12th out of 154 universities in 2019.


Giving Back to Our Planet

give back

As part of our Climate Emergency Statement, we’ve committed to net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2040. This involves further substantial progress in the de-carbonisation of our activities and working together with our staff and students, and with partners in the city, region and across civil society to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

As of early 2020, we have divested all endowment funds from companies making revenue from fossil fuel extraction, eliminating exposure to fossil fuel companies across all funds.

We’ve signed a joint aggregated power purchase agreement, joining 19 other universities across the UK, to buy £50m worth of renewable electricity from a portfolio of wind farms. As well as helping slash prices and cut emissions, the landmark renewable energy deal is just part of our strategy to diversify and increase our investment in both on and off-site renewables.

We’ve also signed the SDG Accord, led by the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC), demonstrating further commitment to embedding the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals throughout our University’s activities.

In November 2019, we hosted a Climate Conversation event, bringing together our University community and external partners to generate a roadmap to net-zero carbon, and began developing our Climate Action Plan.

Additionally, our very own Professor Hayley Fowler, Professor of Climate Change Impacts at Newcastle University is co-chairing Newcastle City Council’s Net-Zero Taskforce.

Learn about how our dedicated Sustainability Team work to promote and demonstrate continuous improvement to our environmental and energy performance across our campus.


World Changing Research


Both our academics and our partners share ideas, best practice and projects though our Global Challenges Academy. Combining our world leading research with industry expertise helps us find evidence-based solutions to the world’s most pressing development challenges.

Our researchers are developing solutions for water challenges globally, leading two international research hubs to develop sustainable and resilient water systems in cities worldwide. Together we are addressing the most pressing water challenges the world faces now and in the future.

From climate adaptation, fertiliser production or overdosing of vitamin A to post-harvest food loss and land degradation, our research is helping to eradicate hunger and malnutrition and secure the future of agriculture globally.

The world is greatly in need of effective interventions for mitigating air pollution in cities. We are currently working together with the Indian Institutes of Technology of Madras and Bombay to help mitigate air pollution in Delhi, and surrounding region.

Learn more about how our Global Challenges Academy are coming together to tackle the challenges of Global Ageing, Resilient Cities, Sustainable Livelihoods and Cutting Sugar Consumption.

We're also leading a national network of four cutting-edge centres to enable faster collaborative research and development of electric machines - including cars, planes and ships. And our researchers have been helping clean up our oceans by implementing new technology used to locate lost fishing nets and investigating fibres and plastic found in the deepest living organisms.


Virtual Earth-conscious Events


Energy Month Webinars

Bringing together a wealth of expertise across disciplines at Newcastle University, our Centre for Energy aims to unify efforts towards a new way of thinking about energy systems and tackle the global need for a rapid transition to clean, affordable energy.

Join our Energy Month programme of thought-provoking webinars, bringing academics and industry experts together to discuss some of our planet’s most pressing questions.

For World Environment Day only

Join The Global Species Conservation Crisis (10am) webinar from our School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, investigating the extent and drivers of species decline and discussing the need for ‘transformational change’ to halt and reverse global biodiversity loss.

With populations dropping as much as 50% since the year 2000, hedgehogs are in decline and they need our help. Join free Hedgehog Friendly Campus Webinar (12pm) and learn how to perform surveys and help protect them from your own garden.


We are very proud of the progress we have made, over many years of work, in improving sustainability at Newcastle University. However, we know we need to go further.


Learn More About Sustainability at Newcastle University