Skip to main content

Committees and Working Groups on Sustainability

Governance through our Sustainability-related Committees and Working Groups


Council is the governing body of the University and its Trustee Board. Council has ultimate responsibility for all the affairs of the University, subject to the powers reserved to Senate, membership includes student representation. Council is supported by several Committees and Sub-Committees. We have a number of committees and working groups focusing on sustainability-related topics, below are some examples:

SDG Group

Established in 2019, the Durham University Sustainable Development Goals Group (SDG Group) is the University body for coordinating sustainability initiatives across the academic areas of the University. It has an advisory function to support the Global Strategy Group, which in turn is an advisory Group to the University Executive Committee (UEC), in delivering on the implementation of all SDGs into the University’s activities. It reports through the Chair to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global) on the University’s sustainability performance and makes recommendations about SDG-related commitments, policies, strategies and targets. 

The COP Steering Group

Durham University established the COP Steering Group in 2020 and a delegation of 14 members of staff attended COP26 in Glasgow. The Steering Group organised in preparation for COP26 a “STEAM for ACE” event series across departments and research institutes of the University, providing insights into the University’s research on climate change from different perspectives. Durham University received observer status to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) in 2020. This new status has intensified the University’s engagement with Agenda 2030 and the SDGs at the individual and institutional levels.

Environmental Sustainability Strategic Planning Group (ESSPG)

The Environmental Sustainability Strategic Planning Group advises UEC on all strategic matters relating to environmental sustainability. It takes forward the strategic decisions of the University relating to agreed policies within the area of environmental sustainability and makes the University community aware of environmental policies and initiatives, including environmental compliance.

Race Equality Charter Action Plan (RECAP) Delivery Group 

The RECAP Delivery Group was established in March 2023 to oversee the successful implementation of the Race Equality Charter (REC) Action Plan. The group is chaired by our Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion), the REC’s mission is to improve the representation, experience, progression and success of racially minoritised communities within higher education. It provides a rigorous and robust framework through which institutions work to critically reflect and act on institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of the progression and success of racially minoritised staff and students.

Community Engagement Task Force

The CETF have core aims which are designed to better understand community benefits along with issues and concerns which shape informed decision-making for the University to optimise it's community contributions. These core aims are:


a) Develop and maintain positive partnerships and engagement with stakeholders in the local community

b) Build students sense of belonging and responsibility

c) Recognise the amenity1 of residents

d) Enhance the contribution made by the University to the City and wider Durham county area

Find out about the Community Engagement Task Force