Imperial launches Sustainability Strategy


green tree branches around Queen's Tower

Imperial’s new Sustainability Strategy sets out the roadmap to 2026 and beyond.

Launched today, the Strategy sets out the College’s long-term goal to be a sustainable and net zero carbon institution by 2040. It includes specific aims across three key themes:  

  • Resource management: responsible management of Imperial's resources and campuses including energy use, water management, waste reduction, catering, travel, procurement and biodiversity.  
  • Academic excellence: tackling global challenges through research and making knowledge and skills for sustainability increasingly central to all learning at Imperial. 
  • Engagement: working with students, staff, local partners, local communities and the wider public, as well as partners in business.  
Imperial’s new Sustainability Strategy sets out the College’s long-term goal to be a sustainable and net zero carbon institution by 2040.

Imperial’s Provost Professor Ian Walmsley said: “Imperial College London is already at the forefront of research and learning on many of the most pressing challenges we face. The challenge is great, yet we can go further and do more.  

“Our new Sustainability Strategy places the transition to zero pollution at the heart of what we will achieve in the coming years in research, training and innovation. We will also focus resources to transform our campus and communities into a testbed for new ways of working and living.” 

The Strategy development was led by the College’s Sustainability Strategy Advisory Group, chaired by Professor Paul Lickiss, Academic Leader in Sustainability. Professor Lickiss said: “Our vision is to advance our world leading sustainability research and education, and to apply what Imperial excels at to our own activities and to the new challenges facing the world. 

“Alongside this we must continue to be a vocal, visible advocate for technology and policy for sustainability, and a solutions-provider to businesses.” 

Consulting our community 

Building on the work of the 2017 Greening Imperial study, the Sustainability Strategy Advisory Group interviewed stakeholders inside and outside Imperial, including academic and technical staff, union representatives, student bodies, and business partners.  

The Group also ran an online survey with the College community to identify key themes and concerns, which garnered over 1,100 responses. Many of the suggestions from staff and students have been incorporated in the strategy, including commitments to: 

  • continue to replace plastic and single-use items throughout catering operations 
  • expand the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) which aims to measure and improve the sustainability of labs 
  • facilitate network-building across our research community in the field of sustainability and climate change. 

What next?  

“We are constantly evolving our Strategy,” says Professor Lickiss, “and expect to add further activities, science-based targets and measures as our work as an institution gathers further momentum in this area." 

Imperial will be hosting a week of events focused on sustainability and climate change issues in the new year. Sustainability Week starts on 15 February 2021 and will provide numerous opportunities for engagement and debate. Further details will be provided in the new year.  


Elizabeth Nixon

Elizabeth Nixon
Communications Division

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Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6699

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