Plymouth University, enjoying a growing reputation for sustainability, is committed to embedding sustainability issues and principles into its academic programmes, enabling its almost 20,000 students to engage with sustainability topics and equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to implement sustainability practices in their future workplace.
This case study is based on the 2016 Sustainability Report by Plymouth University published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate that CSR/ sustainability reporting done responsibly is achieved by identifying an organization’s or company’s most important impacts on the environment and stakeholders and by measuring, managing and changing.Tweet This! and that students are able to engage with sustainability principles, learning from sustainability best practice across the University and beyond. In order to encourage and enable students to engage with sustainability issues Plymouth University took action to:
- advance the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) agenda through the Centre for Sustainable Futures
- embed sustainability into the formal and informal curriculum
- foster extra-curricular sustainability learning
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With this case study you will see:
- Which are the most important impacts (material issues) Plymouth University has identified;
- How Plymouth University proceeded with stakeholder engagement, and
- What actions were taken by Plymouth University to encourage and enable students to engage with sustainability issues
What are the material issues the organization has identified?
In its 2016 Sustainability Report Plymouth University identified a range of material issues, such as carbon emissions, energy and water use, waste generated, travel and transport, food and catering, financial sustainability. Among these, encouraging and enabling students to engage with sustainability issues stands out as a key material issue for the University.
Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:
Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.
Key stakeholder groups Plymouth University engages with:
|Professional and academic staff|
How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues
In 2014 Plymouth University, renewing its sustainability strategy, carried out consultation sessions across the University, also reviewing its sustainability performance with community stakeholders, to evaluate, on the basis of feedback received, the University’s sustainability goals and material issues.
In its 2016 Sustainability Report Plymouth University reports that it took the following actions for encouraging and enabling students to engage with sustainability issues:
- Advancing the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) agenda through the Centre for Sustainable Futures (CSF)
- The CSF collaborates closely, across the University, with professional and academic staff and students to promote ESD, by means of curriculum support and research.
- Embedding sustainability into the formal and informal curriculum
- Approximately 50 per cent of all curriculum programmes at Plymouth University incorporate sustainability topics. Over the past few years a number of courses included ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) elements, such as the BSc (Hons) Environmental Science, the BA (Hons) Social Work, the BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance and, also, the MSc Robotics, and the BA (Hons) Business and BA (Hons) Photography.
- Fostering extra-curricular sustainability learning
- Plymouth University developed three initiatives focused on facilitating extra-curricular sustainability learning:
- the Future Leaders Programme, established in 2013, and available to any student, from any discipline, interested in innovation in sustainability education
- Plymouth Growing Futures, an outdoor learning project connecting curriculum engagement and learning to biodiversity on campus, and involving photography, biological sciences, social work and educational studies modules
- the Global Challenge programme, operating since 2013 and offering students the opportunity to explore the idea of global citizenship through interactive workshops.
Which GRI indicators/Standards have been addressed?
The GRI indicator addressed in this case is: G4-EC8: Significant indirect economic impacts, including the extent of impacts and the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 203-2 Significant indirect economic impacts
1) This case study is based on published information by Plymouth University, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:
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