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Sustainability symbols in cupped hand

This month in our ‘Countdown to COP26’ series we’re looking at our own sustainability commitments and how we’re innovating and inspiring others.


We’ve been ranked 87th in the world for our contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in the Times Higher Education Global Impact Rankings 2021.

Our Environmental Sustainability action plan includes a commitment to no net loss of biodiversity across our estate. We’re also using sustainable technology like ground source heat pumps and solar panels, as well as supporting water conservation.

All our new buildings, and any refurbishment works, meet rigorous sustainability targets and we are encouraging sustainable travel with our £6.5m Infrastructure Improvements project.


Our Game Changer innovation programme has been recognised by the UN as an example of good practice. Game Changer is an extra-curricular programme led by our Careers and Enterprise Team Service which brings students together in teams to research SDGs and find innovative solutions to the challenges they pose. 

Meanwhile, this month Durham Heat Hub hosted an ‘innovation sprint’, challenging participants to think about solutions to help decarbonise heat which also bring benefits for local communities, businesses and entrepreneurs.


We want to use our expertise to inspire others and recently launched a series of animated videos to help people understand the UN SDGs and how our work interconnects with and meets these goals.

Our Durham Energy Institute is working to inspire the next generation of sustainability champions as part of the new ECO2 Smart Schools Programme, which is connecting local and international schools to learn more about climate change. Our staff and students are working together to develop materials and films for use in lessons, as well as getting involved in live, interactive events.


Lastly for this month, don’t forget to tune in to Dr Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough from our Department of History, who is co-presenting a new podcast series on BBC Radio 3 called ‘Green Thinking’, exploring the latest research and ideas around understanding and tackling the climate emergency. Why not tune in and find out the role of creative writing, museums and art in tackling climate change?

Find out more:

Visit our Environmental Sustainability pages

Find out why we were ranked 87th in the world for our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Learn about our Game Changer innovation programme and see its feature on the UN website

More about the Durham Heat Hub innovation sprint and our expertise in decarbonising heating and cooling

Watch our series of animated videos explaining the UN SDGs

Read about the ECO2 Smart Schools Programme

Listen to the BBC Radio 3 Green Thinking podcast series