University and College Land for Carbon Project Funding Announced

31st May 2022

EAUC has been awarded funding by the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund (NEIRF) by the Environment Agency to pilot a project to create carbon credits using university and college land.
The University and College Land for Carbon project aims to leverage the land held within institutional estates of approximately up to 52,000 hectares to develop Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) verified projects for institutions to achieve their net-zero targets. A detailed market assessment and financial model to assess the full carbon sequestration potential of owned land and the financial, environmental and social benefits will provide the business case for developing WCC projects on owned land.

A sector wide framework for creating WCC verified carbon credits will be produced to create a simple and cost effective solution that will maximize benefits against the government's 25 year environmental plan and the Department of Education's Nature Park initiative. This will provide a robust and effective framework to ensure consistency in land use and will be more efficient as a sector wide initiative rather than institutions undertaking independently.

We will pilot WCC projects on university and college land to validate the outputs providing vital skills for students to collect and monitor data to support the green economy. The project has a conservative potential to sequester 2.08m t/CO2e at a value of £92.37m across the sector.

Students and staff will be engaged to maximise the learning potential and utilize the academic and scientific expertise to ensure innovation and best practice for the benefit of the wider sector and beyond. The model will be self financed post pilot.

This project will further enhance the Carbon Coalition, a consortium of UK & Ireland higher and further education institutions that have joined together to offset their emissions leveraging, their combined buying power and knowledge, proving a robust offsetting route for institutions.

Prof John French, EAUC Deputy Chair and Chair of the Carbon Coalition says “this is a breakthrough initiative by using the collective knowledge and land of universities and colleges to address carbon sequestration and with students tackling climate change head on. I hope this leadership from EAUC will stimulate other sectors in society to go down a similar route. We are very grateful to the Environment Agency for this funding.”
The project is due to start in September until March 2024. We will keep our members and partners informed of our progress. We thank our partners for their support in this project (see appendix for details).

#InvestInNature #TogetherForOurPlanet

Environment Agency Press Release

Supporting partners:
Woodland Carbon Code
University of Aberdeen
Bath Spa University
University of Hertfordshire
University of Edinburgh
University of Worcester
King’s College London
Manchester Metropolitan University
University of St Andrews
University of Bath
University of the West of England, UWE Bristol
University of Bristol
University of Salford
South Devon College
Imperial College London
London School of Economics & Political Science
University of York
University of Winchester
University of Leeds
University of Southampton
University of Leicester
College of West Anglia
Scottish Forestry
University of Nottingham

If your institution is interested in taking part in the pilot please contact us.

Notes to Editors:
EAUC is the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education. Our passion is to create a world with sustainability at its heart and to lead and empower the post-16 education sector to make sustainability 'just good business'. EAUC represents over 250 universities and colleges in the UK and Ireland with a combined total of over 4.5 million students supported by over half a million staff with a spending budget of over £43 billion. EAUC also work on an international level with United Nations Environment Programme and other UN bodies on several global education initiatives. The EAUC Carbon Coalition is a consortium of UK and Ireland higher and further education institutions that have joined together to offset their emissions leveraging their combined buying power and knowledge.

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