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The Government’s guiding principles for sustainable development underpin HEFCE’s Sustainable Development Framework in achieving the following:

  • living within environmental limits
  • ensuring a strong, healthy and just society
  • achieving a sustainable economy
  • using sound science responsibly
  • promoting good governance.

During 2014 we reviewed how we can support higher education’s contribution to sustainable development and consulted on a framework for our future work. The finalised framework, published in December 2014, sets out our aspirations for sustainable development and how HEFCE will support change.

The framework explains:

  • why sustainable development is one of the greatest challenges facing society
  • the important role of universities
  • how HEFCE intends to support the higher education sector

Consultation process

We published a consultation on the framework in November 2013, and held events in Leeds and London in January to celebrate higher education’s achievement on sustainable development and discuss our proposals. 

  • View the presentations and webcast of the London event


What has HEFCE done for sustainable development?

HEFCE has been encouraging and supporting the work of universities on sustainable development since around 2000 in a variety of ways: 

  • we provide funding for universities' projects, most recently through the Revolving Green Fund and the Students’ Green Fund 
  • we support the development and dissemination of good practice
  • we developed a carbon reduction target and strategy for the sector in 2010, involving Universities UK, GuildHE and universities
  • we require the institutions we fund to have carbon management plans
  • we promote the reporting of environmental information; universities provide data to the Higher Education Statistics Agency and this is published annually in the Estate Management Record.