Strategy and Policies

green campus


Aston University is committed to integrating sustainability into all aspects of the three corners of our academic triangle, as stated in the missions: “delivering an excellent learning experience for our students, enhanced by the interaction with internationally recognised, relevant research, and linked to innovative support for local companies and engagement with schools and the community, involving students and staff in raising aspirations and attainment”.

The University endorses the World Commission on Environment and Development’s definition of Sustainable Development:   Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

In doing so we will strive to reconcile the tensions which exist between the three pillars of sustainability – economic prosperity; environmental quality; social equity – both now and for the generations who will engage with the University in the future.

Through our Sustainable Aston Working Group, both staff and students are actively encouraged to help develop, provide feedback and monitor our Sustainability policies, targets and strategy. 

Below is a list of our policy documentation as well as the action plans and objectives and targets that support these policies.

Find out more:

The Sustainable Aston Working Group is an interdisciplinary group of academics, student representatives and support staff, including a trade union representative. Supported by the Executive, in May 2007, the Sustainable Aston Working Group developed a vision, Aston’s Sustainability Aims (PDF), committing the University to the concept of sustainability in the three key areas of community, teaching and research. 

The Sustainable Aston Working Group's prime role is to act as a focus for sustainability activities across the University, fielding ideas, lending support and enabling action. Trade Union representatives are welcomed to provide their input and should contact if interested in finding out more about the group and getting involved.

The group allows staff and students the opportunity to get involved with the development and ongoing monitoring of various sustainability documents, including:

  • Sustainability Policies Document
  • Sustainability Strategy
  • Carbon Management Plan
  • Objectives and Targets

The group always aims to include student representatives. If you're a student with an interest in sustainability issues at Aston, please get in contact and we will invite you to the next meeting.

Please also get in contact if you have a research project you would be interested in looking into related to sustainable development at Aston University. Areas may include:

  • Renewable energy sources
  • Behavioural change initiatives
  • Water reduction management
  • Sustainable Construction

The University is able to provide funding for student and staff led practical sustainability engagement projects. Some of these projects have included:

  • Bird boxes and bug hotels for Go Green Champions to install across campus
  • Funding for the Fairtrade Steering Group to arrange events and promotions 
  • Provision of food caddies for staff kitchens
  • Funding for the set up of a small allotment using raised beds on campus

If you have an idea for a project and would like to find out if the University can fund it, please get in

Minutes from the last 12 months of meetings:

17th April 2019

10th July 2019

11th October 2019

22nd January 2020

SAWG Committee:

  • Andrew Bryers - Energy, Environment & Sustainability Manager
  • Adrian Owen - Deputy Director of Estates
  • Mark Smith - Executive Director of Business Engagement
  • Bimal Arora - Aston Business School Lecturer
  • Helen Borland - Aston Business School Senior Lecturer
  • Kate Glynn - Head of Catering
  • Tim Hooton - AV Engineer, Digital Services (Trade Union Representative)
  • Martin May - KTP Manager, Research & Knowledge Exchange and Go Green Champion
  • Gregg Smith - Programme Administrator, Aston Medical School and Go Green Champion
  • Karen Newman-Brown - Administrative Manager, Digital Services and Go Green Champion
  • Kate Nicholls - Teaching Fellow in Psychology and Go Green Champion
  • Shirley O'Reilly - Assistant Procurement Manager
  • Dan Rathbone - Senior Lecturer, Pharmacy
  • John Kyffin-Hughes - Business Engagement Manager, Low Carbon Project Team
  • Robert Nowakowski - Building Services Manager Conference Aston

The Estates Sustainability Group was created in 2016 in order to embed Sustainability into other Estates practices as well as have more senior level support. This group includes the Director of Estates, Head of Space Strategy and Refurbishment, Estates Engineering Manager, Head Of Estates Facilities And Resources and the Energy, Environment and Sustainability Team. 

The group will go through the current status of the Carbon Management Plan and Energy Forecasting in line with ISO 14001 and ISO 50001 requirements. 

As part of the Carbon Management Plan, the team have a  £20,000 budget for general sustainability requirements including awareness raising, conferences and EMS requirements. Projects that require larger investments go through a project request for adhoc to be approved. Furthermore, a number of initiatives are within other budgets in our Capital Plan i.e. replacing street lighting with LED - budget = circa £1.5 million over 3 years.

There are opportunities for other departments to highlight energy saving projects that would be funded through the above resource and this will be investigated and reviewed on a case per case basis.