University of Manchester puts social impact on the syllabus

One of the UK’s largest universities has put sustainability firmly on the agenda, by measuring one of the most ambitious sustainability programmes in higher education and seen staff make significant societal and environmental savings.

The University of Manchester is working with Impact Reporting, a social value dashboard to record and analyse ‘10,000 Actions’, the UK’s largest environmental sustainability initiative, developed by the University, for staff. Impact will help to engage employees to become more proactive, attract talent and support the University to become a global sustainability leader.

Impact Reporting has recorded the following for The University of Manchester, from January – October 2019:

  • 5.6 tonnes CO2e has been reduced by staff cycling, walking and running to work
  • Thousands of staff have engaged in over 1,000 different actions aligned with the 17 SDGs including gender equality, responsible consumption and production and good health and well-being
  • 58 staff are now trained to be carbon literate
  • The number of staff accessing reuse schemes has more than doubled year-on-year since 2017

Chris Farrell, Managing Director of Impact, said: “The University of Manchester has a global reputation of being at the forefront of research. They are taking sustainability seriously and chose to partner with us to measure their pro-social and environmental initiatives because of our historical connection and expertise. We will assist them in analysing their ground-breaking sustainability programme - 10,000 Actions and help benchmark its social value and environmental activities against other institutions.”

Lucy Millard, Environmental Sustainability Manager at The University of Manchester, said: “We practice what we preach. We wanted to work with Impact because of our involvement in its inception and how well the tool aligns with our 10,000 Actions initiative. With previous systems, we noticed staff were committing to actions but not recording them when they were completed. Impact has helped motivate staff and we’re now be able to measure the effect of our actions on the environment and society.

“Impact works well across a large organisation like a university because it’s fully scalable to our requirements. It’s also a quick and easy system for staff to log onto to record socially impactful actions. We’re hoping to open Impact up to students in 2020 and we have committed to zero carbon by 2038.”

Impact has a five-year history of working with the University. It evolved following investment from Innovate UK, an innovation agency and the University. This funding led to the creation of the tool and allowed the business to employ two members of staff to research sustainability across various organisations.