Sustainable development

Sustainable development is about protecting and enhancing quality of life for current and future generations. There are social, environmental and economic dimensions to this, and the benefits and the challenges are considerable. Higher education plays a unique and substantial role, and we believe sustainable development should be central to higher education.

‘HEFCE’s vision is that universities and colleges are widely recognised as leaders in society’s efforts to achieve sustainability – through the understanding, skills and attitudes that students gain and put into practice, through research and knowledge exchange, and through community involvement, as well as through their strategies and operations that bring all these together.’

HEFCE activity on sustainable development

HEFCE invests in sustainable development though the Revolving Green Fund and we fund the Students' Green Fund, a joint initiative with the National Union of Students.

We have a role in facilitating the sharing of good practice on sustainable development and in building it where none exists, including funding the Leading Sustainable Development in Higher Education initiative.  We are working on the reduction of carbon emissions in support of sector targets. 

We have invested in the development of the Sustainability exchange, a web-site that brings together the latest good practice on sustainable development in higher and further education.  It provides a way for universities and colleges to pool their expertise through facilities such as community forums, news updates, toolkits, reports, webinars and videos.  

We are continuing to promote sustainable development within HEFCE and have ISO 14001 and Carbon Trust accreditation.

For more information on sustainable development, contact Andrew Smith, tel 0117 931 7001, e-mail

Page last updated 16 February 2015

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