Environmental sustainability strategy

The UKRI environmental sustainability strategy, published in June 2020, sets out our ambitions and priorities to make a positive impact.

We are aiming to be bold. In July 2019, the UK government committed to achieving ‘net zero’ by 2050. Not only is research and innovation critical to delivering this national ambition, we must also take a lead in our own operations. Therefore, we are aiming for UKRI to be ‘net zero’ a decade earlier, by 2040 at the latest.

Video credit: UKRI
Video transcript and on-screen captions are available by watching on YouTube

Developing the strategy

The development of our strategy was informed by an extensive engagement process involving many internal and external stakeholders. Representatives from across UKRI have contributed their expertise and views through a range of mechanisms, including working groups, executive team briefings, and all-staff engagement sessions.

We also engaged with environmental sustainability leaders from across a range of sectors. This has provided UKRI with invaluable advice, insight and challenge to inform the development of our priorities and objectives.

Delivering the strategy

Everyone in UKRI has a role to play in delivering the strategy. There is already a lot of positive environmental action being taken across councils and UKRI at an individual, team and organisational level, as well as in partnership with other organisations that we work with and fund.

We are now implementing changes at organisational and council level, looking at how we:

  • use energy and materials
  • procure goods and services with better environmental credentials
  • manage our sites for biodiversity
  • improve the impact of the research and innovation we fund
  • lower the environmental impact of new research and innovation infrastructure
  • work with the wider research and innovation community to learn from their successes and help disseminate knowledge in this area

UKRI’s contribution to UN sustainable development goals

UKRI-funded research and innovation directly contributes to the UK delivery against all 17 of the UN sustainable development goals (SDG). UKRI-specific contributions were highlighted in the first UK national voluntary review, including:

  • our contribution to SDG goal 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), through our commitment to raise spend on research and innovation to 2.4% of GDP by 2027
  • NERC’s contribution to goal 9 through its ‘Unlocking the potential of groundwater for the poor’ programme

Last updated: 23 June 2023

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