UKRI maps out path to net zero by 2040

UK Research and Innovation (UKI) has unveiled its vision for achieving net zero by 2040 with the release of its environmental sustainability strategy.

By 2040, or sooner, UKRI’s ambition is to be net zero, positive for the environment and setting the standard. For the latter, it explained it will look to act as “agents for change” by ensuring that its funding is a force for positive environmental change, while continuing to meet societal needs. It identified six areas to prioritise in achieving its vision: decision-making and engagement, carbon, procurement, efficient use of resources, fostering a healthy living environment, and interactions with the physical environment.

The strategy focuses on “five years of action” through to 2025 by, at which time, UKRI will see environmental sustainability become part of the fabric of decision-making across its organisation and the sector. This will see UKRI prioritise detailed baselining and internal benchmarking of the environmental performance of its direct operations, and use expertise and outcomes from its research and innovation community to drive forward environmental sustainability improvements within UKRI and the sector – and share this with others.

It will also drive positive environmental improvement within the research and innovation sector by ensuring all major investment and funding decisions are directly informed by environmental sustainability. Elsewhere, UKRI pledged to adopt a carbon target based on science, ensuring there is a plan to deliver against it and the creation of a carbon innovation fund to support this work; taking quick action where possible, including assessing and phasing out all avoidable single use material from its own operations by 2024.