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Strategy 2023

Under Development: Sustainability Strategy 2023


In February 2022, University Council approved the development of a Sustainability Strategy for the University. Council noted that the new Strategy would encompass all aspects of sustainability (environmental, social and economic), as relevant to the University, and therefore would be broader in scope than the current Environmental Sustainability Vision, Policy and Strategy

Development of the Strategy is being led by a project team comprising members of the Sustainability Team, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and Cambridge Zero

What do we mean by sustainability? 

There are numerous definitions of ‘sustainability’. As the starting point for this work, the definition that we are using is the pursuit of long-term wellbeing for all people and planet1. We are also referring to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for defining what ‘sustainability’ mean holistically; however, we are not suggesting that the University’s approach to sustainability should be shaped or constrained by specific SDGs or their targets. 

Within the context of the University, some examples of what sustainability issues might encompass include the environmental impact of our estate; how we carry out our education provision and research; the diversity and wellbeing of our staff and students; our impact on, and relationship with, the wider community; and the role we play in scaling up solutions to global crises. 


THE 17 GOALS | Sustainable Development ( 

The process 

Key phases of the process for development of the Sustainability Strategy are summarised below: 

  • October 2022 – February 2023: Initial stakeholder engagement 

A series of workshops, interviews, online consultations and a survey to explore key drivers and the rationale for action, existing sustainability-related work and good practices across the University, thoughts on current performance and gaps, and perspectives on what would be an appropriate level of ambition and action, as well as cross-cutting barriers and enablers. A range of stakeholders were engaged with during this process, including students (SU reps, Green Officers, as well as the broad student body via response to the Green Paper) and staff (representatives from University governance, academic staff, as well as non-academic/professional services staff). 

  • January – March 2023: Analysis and presentation of key themes and messaging 

Feedback findings from initial stakeholder engagement for approval by University Committees (including Environmental Sustainability Strategy Committee, HR Committee, Research Policy Committee, General Board Education Committee). 

  • March – April 2023: Further analysis, initial proposals and recommendations 

Further analysis considering feedback from key Committees, and presentation of initial proposals and recommendations on the content and commitments of the Strategy to University Council.

  • May - September 2023: Drafting and presentation of proposed Strategy  

Presentation of proposed strategy document to Council and General Board, for approval for formal consultation with the wider University community in Michaelmas term 2023.

  • October – December 2023: Formal 6-8 week consultation 

Timing will depend on approval by Council and General Board. 

  • Lent term 2024: Finalisation and publication of Strategy 

Timing will depend on approval by Council and General Board. 

How to get involved 

If you did not have the opportunity to be involved in the initial stakeholder engagement, please look out for the chance to comment on the proposed Strategy in Michaelmas term 2023, when it goes out for formal consultation with the whole University community. 

Please also keep an eye on our website and social media channels for any further information, and get in touch with any questions or suggestions on  

We want to say a big thank you to all took part in the initial engagement ahead of developing the new Sustainability Strategy - the process has been highly informative and insightful. A range of stakeholders from across the staff and student communities shared their views on how the University should be responding to and addressing sustainability trends and issues in the new Strategy. We have heard ideas around how ambitious the University needs to be in developing the Strategy, what its priorities and commitments should be in relation to sustainability, and practical suggestions on how to deliver on these commitments.