skip to main content

Sustainability at UAL

At UAL, sustainability has become a key part of learning and operations, with many courses dedicating time and resources to the teaching of sustainable practices and ideas while UAL's carbon emissions are falling.

We have made huge steps forward, with the rolling out of new energy efficiency measures designed to lower usage, as well as new processes for waste disposal, designed to increase recycling while eliminating landfill.

Students and staff can engage in sustainability through:

  • Documentation relating to UAL's sustainability, energy and environmental policies and plans.
  • The UAL Carbon Dashboard - site managers, staff and students can see how their building is performing and keep up to date with current news and events through our blog.

People and Planet Green League

A chart showing UAL’s score card in the People and Planet University League 2017, where we ranked 44 out of 150 universities, receiving a 2:1 award class.

In 2017, UAL was ranked 44th in the People and Planet Green League with a 2:1 result.

UAL is committed to implementing a strategy that will improve our rankings on People and Planet’s University League. Read on to find out more about our sustainability initiatives and progress.

How we are progressing

Jump to:

Environmental Sustainability Policy and strategy

UAL's commitment to sustainability is embodied in the UAL Strategy 2015-22. One of the key goals, delivering an inspirational environment, will be achieved by delivering sustainable new environments for our staff and students. UAL has launched the UAL Sustainability Manifesto (2016 - 2022) (PDF 99KB) – a 5 year sustainable business programme, which feeds into the development of the policy.

The success of this will be measured by UAL’s carbon footprint. This is one of the key selected indicators that UAL will assess itself against during the period of the strategy.

At a more detailed level, UAL has a comprehensive Environmental Policy Statement 2018 (PDF 192KB) and a UAL Action Plan, v3 Nov 2017 (PDF 222KB) which is overseen by the Sustainability Advisory Panel. The action plan covers 10 key areas with a 'SMART' target for each. This means all targets are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

The policy was first published in 2013 and was updated in 2015 to make the targets more explicit and reflect the University's progress, for example, in attaining ISO 50001 accreditation. It has since been updated annually.

Please see our documentation page for all our policies and strategies.

Staff and student engagement

The University’s engagement strategy is the UAL Sustainability Manifesto (2016 - 2022) (PDF 99KB) .This behavioural change programme promotes positive interventions by each individual. Further information can be found in section 6.2 of the Carbon Management Plan. Engagement is measured through the ’Big Survey’ which takes place every 2 years. We can see there has been an increase in awareness of environmental stewardship and social responsibility 2017 Staff Survey (PDF 71KB).

The engagement strategy is implemented by Ian Lane (Head of Sustainability) and Rosie Willatt (LCF Sustainability Co-ordinator), who chair the Working Group, and the public websites are updated by Rebecca Smart (Energy Projects Support Officer).

UAL’s Environmental Management System is certified with ISO 14001, this requires an engagement strategy which is explained in the UAL ISO 14001 Guidance Doc v3 (2,167KB).

Contribution to the Carbon Management and Sustainability Policy

All students and staff have the opportunity to contribute to the development and progress of the UAL Carbon Management Plan v7 2017 (PDF 3,854KB) (section 6.2) through the Sustainability Working Group.

Through this group all members of the University also contribute to UAL’s new sustainability strategy – the UAL Sustainability Manifesto (2016 - 2022) (PDF 99KB). This programme uses an action-research approach to encourage all staff and students to be responsible for reducing carbon emissions and implementing sustainability actions by designing (and therefore owning) the interventions themselves. The manifesto provides topics of discussion and areas to take action on and members of the group decide what action to take.

An example of minutes from a previous meeting can be found in the Carbon Management plan.

If you would like to join the Working Group please contact


The Sustainability Co-ordinator presents to new staff and students during their induction about sustainability at UAL. The talk centres on UAL’s approach to sustainability and opportunities to become involved. Campaigns and events are advertised such as beekeeping and gardening workshops, the Sustainability Projects Fund and the Sustainability Working Group. To view the presentation please see the Carbon Management Plan or contact

Events and campaigns

UAL always runs a comprehensive programme of events in Green Week. In 2018 we held 27 events which cover a range of activities. This included practical activities such as beekeeping, a natural dye workshop, a plastic recycling workshop and more academic activities such as tips on researching sustainability. View photos from the week.

Each year the University runs campaigns to encourage staff and students to become environmentally aware. One such campaign held in 2018 was ‘Useful or Beautiful’. This campaign was launched to encourage a creative response to the challenge of recycling and reducing waste. Students and staff salvaged discarded materials from across UAL’s buildings and repurposed them into something useful, beautiful or both. The results were fantastic and you can view them in the gallery . Other campaigns include ‘Cycle to Work Day’ and ‘World Environment Day’. UAL has launched a campaign in Luxury Fashion and Sustainability by creating the world’s first online course in this topic alongside the global luxury group Kering. The course aims to strengthen sustainability education in the luxury and fashion realms in order to promote the wider adoption of more sustainable practices.


UAL has 'The Exchange' which provides professional development and funding to support the development of student and staff sustainability literacy and environmental sustainability. Find out more and read examples of previous funded projects.

There are funds available to support student and staff led sustainability projects that enhance sustainability on campus through the London College of Fashion Sustainable Projects Fund. Multiple projects are funded each year by the pro Vice-Chancellor at LCF, with £500 available for each project. Applications are open to all students, staff and to alumni up to 6 months after their graduation. In 2018, staff working on the Footwear and Accessories courses used the fund to procure Piñatex®. This is a sustainable alternative to leather and synthetic leather substitutes, made from the leaves of the pineapple plant, which are otherwise waste – a by-product of the pineapple fruit industry. This will provide staff and students with hands on experience of designing and making using a new, innovative material which avoids the sustainability issues associated with animal leather and alternatives such as PVC.

For details on how to apply please contact

Staff are resourced with a Sustainability Budget 2017-18 (PDF 177KB) and the details of funding to implement the Carbon Management Plan can be found here: UAL Carbon Management Plan v7 2017 (PDF 3,854KB).

Student representation and the Students' Union

There is student representation on strategic decision making. As explained in the Carbon Management Plan (section 6.2) there is student representation on the Sustainability Advisory Panel which also includes the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Director of Estates and the Head of Sustainability. The Sustainability Manifesto provides topics of discussion and areas to take action on, the action is decided by the Sustainability Group and approved by the Sustainability Advisory Panel. Students attend meetings with the Deans at the Colleges to discuss any issues and decide improvement actions that can be taken. The Students' Union is signed up to ‘Green Impact Students’ Unions’.

Human resources for sustainability

Sustainability staff

Please see this document which details Sustainability Staff (PDF 351KB) at UAL and the area of work they cover.

Senior management

Various members of senior management have responsibility regarding sustainability at the University. There is the Sustainability Advisory Panel, whose members include the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Chief Operating Officer), the Director of Estates and the Director of Finance. The panel’s role is to approve, implement, monitor and advise on strategies and policies such as the Energy Policy, the Carbon Management Plan and the Sustainability Manifesto.

A community effort

The whole University community is key to the culture of sustainable development and responsible for helping us achieve our environmental targets. You can read more about how staff and students contribute in the 'Staff and Student Engagement' section on this webpage.

Other resources

Staff are resourced with a Sustainability Budget 2017-18 (PDF 177KB) and the details of future funding to implement the Carbon Management Plan can be found here: UAL Carbon Management Plan v7 2017 (PDF 3,854KB).

Environmental auditing and management

UAL’s Environmental Management System (EMS) is certified to the ISO 14001 International Standard (certificate number 24857). The EMS scope covers the University’s full estate and the environmental aspects covered include energy, water, waste, air pollution, transport, construction, biodiversity hazards and procurement (ISO 14001 Aspects Diagram (PDF 158KB)).

These aspects are audited at each site every 6 months. Sustainable procurement is also audited through the CIPS Index and through the Principles of Responsible Investment of which UAL is a signatory. You can view the ISO 14001 action plan and the targets for each of these audited areas here: UAL Action Plan, v3 Nov 2017 (PDF 222KB).

Through EMS the University can manage its environmental responsibilities in a systematic manner. The EMS assists the University in achieving its intended outcomes which include enhancement of environmental performance, fulfilment of compliance obligations and achievement of environmental objectives.

UAL has also been awarded the ISO 50001 International Standard for its Energy Management System (see certificate). UAL is one of only 6 institutions to have been awarded this ISO standard. The scope of our ISO 50001 system includes every building in our portfolio, covering every activity that is undertaken in our buildings.

We also complete the annual return to the Association of Directors of Estates for their EMS – the AUDE Sustainability Scorecard. View our AUDE Sustainability Scorecard (PDF 376KB).

Carbon management

Read about our UAL Carbon Management Plan v7 2017 (PDF 3,854KB)

Scope 1 and 2 emissions

Scope 1 and 2 emissions are those due to utility consumption within our estate. Our major consumption is gas and electricity on site.

Our performance against these can be tracked monthly on the UAL Carbon Dashboard website. We also report annually to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) through the Estates Management Record process.

The energy monitoring system UAL uses is proven to be robust, as it has been accredited with ISO 50001 (UAL ISO 50001 Certificate (PDF 118KB)).

Our total Scope 1 and 2 emissions are tracking on target as shown in this graph of historical progress marked against the target to 2020 (Scope 1 and 2 emissions (PDF 44KB)).

Scope 3 emissions

UAL has also set a baseline and target for reduction of Scope 3 emissions particularly those due to transport (Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions (PDF 41KB)). Our scope 3 emissions are also reported annually to HESA.

Emissions from residential buildings

We report emissions from residential halls over which we have control.

Workers' rights

Electronics Watch

UAL is a full member and affiliate of Electronics Watch with full access to its reports and tools. Our affiliation to Electronics Watch has been extended through the London University Purchasing Consortium (LUPC). The LUPC is a founding member of the Electronics Watch initiative to enhance the security and health of electronics workers.

CIPS Index

The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) published an index framework to give purchasers more visibility on the supply chain of their products and services.

UAL has worked with our major suppliers to guide them through the CIPS Index. This has allowed us to push suppliers to consider their ethical responsibility more fully and allow us to distinguish between suppliers.

Supply chain mapping

UAL is working with Action Sustainability to map its supply chain of office furniture. Please contact Ian Lane (Head of Sustainability) for further information:

Sustainable food

Agriculture and transportation of food have a big environmental footprint in terms of carbon and the impact on soil and biodiversity.

The UAL Sustainable Food Policy (PDF 258KB) sets out the goals for UAL to reduce its environmental and ethical impact through the type of food served, its location and procurement.

In 2014, UAL was the first university to achieve Gold Standard under the Soil Association's Food for Life rating as explained in this UAL news article. The Gold rating still stands today and all 8 catering outlets, at all 6 Colleges and the hospitality menus are Gold Rated (Food For Life Catering Mark (PDF 91KB)).

This means that all food served at UAL is assessed to high environmental and ethical standards including fish and seafood, which is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. UAL works with Baxterstorey to improve the health and environmental impacts of food. Local produce is used where possible -  70% of the fruit and vegetables come from the south east, with a major supplier being Chegworth Valley farm, less than 35 miles southeast of London and meat comes from Rother Valley near Petersfield, Hampshire.

This local food is used on a regular basis in our menus (Example of a Previous Menu (PDF 192KB)) including in the new canteen at Camberwell as you can read in this news article. UAL was a case study in an academic paper which explains our use of local and sustainable food (view paper, section 4.2).  Watch videos and read more about the vision and mission of canteen services at UAL.

There is space on the University sites to grow food. Four of our sites are home to honey bee hives and all students and staff are welcome to join in beekeeping activities where they tend to hives, help produce, use and sell the honey. You can read more about the project here. There is also space on the roof terrace at Central Saint Martins, where a joint project between staff and students has led to the creation of a green growing space where edibles such as strawberries and herbs are grown. This is maintained by the Green Roof Society.

All sites provide free drinking water which can be found in catering outlets and water dispensers across the sites. Many sites have microwaves for students to encourage them to reuse bottles and bring leftovers for lunch.

As stated in the UAL Sustainable Food Policy all future contracts will include a clause to the contract caterer, ensuring they maintain the Gold standard and accept inspection from the Soil Association as part of the contracted terms.

Education for sustainable development

UAL has shown a strong commitment to ESD and recognises its importance in our learning, teaching and research. UAL's Research Strategy (2015-22) aims to build a more sustainable future through education and creative practice by increasing understanding of environmental changes, communicating the issues and designing for new business models, social innovations and sustainable living.

The Research Strategy equips everyone with a future-facing outlook and provides them with an understanding of how their research fits into the wider society, sustainable living and lifelong health and wellbeing.

The executive summary for the new Education for Sustainability Strategy (PDF 253KB) maps the impact and activities of ESD in teaching at learning at UAL. Reflecting the positive interventions made at the London College of Fashion, the framework maps our current status and initiatives and provides an Action Plan for 2016 – 22 which aims to build breadth and depth in education for sustainability, its pedagogies, experiences and ambitions. Monitoring and tracking of sustainability is embedded into Continuous Annual Monitoring, is cross referenced with academic frameworks such as PRIME and reported annually to ADQA.

Networking and sharing of best practice occurs through engagement with partners from different disciplines and territories with sustainability interests, for example by exploring European networks. Staff engagement in ESD development occurs through the creation of a staff development programme, increased online learning resources and through the UAL Sustainability Manifesto (2016 - 2022) (PDF 99KB). Due to the size of the full document, it cannot be uploaded (please contact for a copy).

Training and support

Students and staff are provided with professional development and funding to support the development of sustainability literacy and environmental sustainability through The Exchange. This Curriculum Development Funding enables colleagues to test out new ideas and develop curricula.

Colleagues are able to learn about the implications of sustainability for teaching and learning and develop a pedagogic understanding of learning for sustainability through the Learning for Sustainability unit. Those undertaking the unit will reflect on sustainability issues in their area of academic practice and deliver the findings to a wide University audience.

Read more information on sustainability and course design.

Examples of research and innovation at UAL

  • Centre for Sustainable Fashion which provides leading research and leadership on sustainable fashion, including involvement in collaborative exercises such as the COPtimist project and creation of projects such as Dress for Our Time before the Paris climate talks.
  • The Textile Futures Research Centre investigates sustainable and ethical innovations in textiles
  • Design Against Crime investigates ways to use art and design to create safer and more sustainable urban environments
  • Industry Projects creates partnerships between companies and LCF students to offer brand solutions and provide industry experience. Previous projects have looked for responses to sustainability, such as the Nike Sustainable Materials Project.
  • We look for opportunities to involve students in sustainability operations at UAL where possible. The development of a new accommodation block at Camberwell College of Art offered an opportunity to involve students from the Central St Martins Spatial Practices Programme who delivered ideas for the development of the new block to main contractors and UAL Estates team.
  • Through many of our courses and their assessments students contribute to improving sustainability, such as on MA Fashion FuturesMA Material Futures and MA Architecture. Students have embedded sustainability into their projects, for example through using the natural dyes, like the natural dye garden at Mare St, which was originally created by students, or creating clothes from flax grown at LCF sites.

Ethical investment

Read the 2018 UAL Responsible Investment Policy (Word 22KB).