In May 2020, the University of Bath declared a climate emergency and set out a Climate Action Framework around four thematic areas (education; research; footprint; and partnerships) and 11 guiding principles. This Annual Report sets out progress against these guiding principles over the past year.

The Climate Action Framework represents a whole institution endeavour. Fundamental to its success is building climate action into the Institution’s strategies, policies, and plans. Over the past year, the Institution has moved forward with particular attention to embedding climate into governance, decision-making, and strategic risk management. Integrating Climate Action into our Education and Research programmes and projects is a significant part of the Framework and is helping to set Bath as a benchmark for other Higher Education Institutions.

In the full report, read about actions being taken across the University with case studies to showcase the breadth and depth of climate action at Bath. Below we've shared just a few highlights, which exemplify the University's progress to delivering on our commitments and 11 Climate Action principles.


The work on embedding sustainability and climate into curriculum transformation is now well underway, and over the next year, we will be assessing its impact. Our latest climate action survey found that 49% of students are experiencing some level of climate or sustainability education through their course.

Read more about innovative learning and teaching development projects on pages 12-18 of the report, including these highlights:

  • we held the biggest ever UK Climate Fresk (an interactive climate change workshop)
  • a new MSc Decarbonisation course was launched


Bath is leading several research projects focused on building our understanding of the climate crisis, its impact and some of the ways in which we might mitigate this. Bath has experts across its academic portfolio involved in climate-focused research. In 2023-24:

  • several multimillion-pound research projects were launched to tackle climate change in various focus areas, including construction, transport, energy and food production – read about impactful new projects launched in the past year on page 19
  • 38 labs achieved sustainability certification to Bronze LEAF standard, and one Gold – find out about sustainability actions being taken in labs on page 20


In comparison to last year, our total carbon footprint has increased by 24%. This is due to a number of factors which include: changes to UK emissions factors (used to calculate our footprint) which have negatively affected our figures; increases in our business activity following the COVID downturn; and the effects of inflation on the costs of products which we use (and therefore reflected in some of our Scope 3 footprint estimates). Further details are provided on page 26.

Despite this, work on reducing our footprint is ongoing and we are increasingly looking to use our data to shape these efforts. Key recent actions to tackle this include:

  • new Thermal Comfort Policy could save up to 15% of gas use annually – read more in the case study on page 28
  • spend on beef and lamb in catering and The Market is down 90% – find out about our Sustainable Food Commitment on page 30
  • we carry out behaviour change programmes, such as LEAF in labs, to support staff and students in making low carbon choices
  • we're continuing to look at opportunities for decarbonising energy systems through our Estates Strategy and capital programme
  • measuring and reducing Scope 3 emissions are an enormous challenge for all organisations, and Bath is leading the way amongst universities in addressing this area


As part of our aim to support wider societal transformation in response to the climate crisis, we develop meaningful collaborative partnerships to help address climate change across the higher education sector, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Highlights from the past year include:

  • we launched Climate Ambassadors scheme to connect climate experts with local Schools – read more about this on page 35
  • ActNowFilm premiered at COP28 where the University joined the official delegation – discover more about this pioneering project on page 36


Our community remains supportive of the institution’s ambitions around the climate crisis, and we hope that this report provides the motivation and inspiration for further engagement and participation from the community.

In the past year we:

  • held our first Climate Action Awards, celebrating over 150 staff and students – find out more about the trailblazing change makers who are making waves for sustainability on page 40
  • ran pilot Climate Action training with Campus Services – hear how this is making impact in the case study on page 41

Students’ Union

In parallel with the University, the SU have taken action to reduce their environmental impact while also supporting students to change behaviours and to lead climate action projects of their own. Key achievements to reduce the SU’s footprint this year include:

  • reducing emissions at SU flagship events and general bar operations, including using reusable cups in all events
  • supporting students to change behaviours through actions such as removing ruminant meat from all food outlets and changing marketing choices in line with the Sustainable Food Commitment.

Read more about actions the SU are taking on pages 42-44 of the report.