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News from sustainability

Sustainability week 2024

University of Bradford organised Sustainability Week from 12th to 16th February, a dedicated initiative to promote eco-conscious living, inspire positive change, and collectively contribute to a sustainable future. A week long event had below events and activities planned for different days of the week:  

  • Sustainability Day 14th February 2024
  • Tree plantation 15th February 2024
  • Litter Pick 15th February 2024
  • Sustain-Our-Ability workshop 16th February 2024 


Student and Fairtrade representative in banana suit pose to promote Fairtrade

Sustainability day

On February 14, at the university's Atrium, a day long event was held where students and staff were invited to play games on waste segregation, waste management and to encourage the concept of re-use stalls were giving away pre-loved clothes. The concept was an effort not only to support the reduction of textile waste but also contribute to the promotion of a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. There were a series of stalls by student societies like Sustainability Society, Peace Society, Vegan Society and suppliers to promote sustainability. Staff and students played games and actively participated in other activities, including a static bike, which powered a smoothie maker making Fairtrade banana smoothie. 


Student taking pre loved clothes form the member of student society

Tree plantation

Environmental sustainability and community engagement took centre stage as students and staff came together on February 15 for a tree plantation event aimed at fostering a greener campus and a healthier planet. Under the guidance of Head Gardener, two Braeburn apple trees were planted. Participants were trained on the tree planting process, employing proper techniques to ensure the healthy establishment of the selected trees. Hands-on training sessions equipped volunteers with the knowledge needed to contribute to the long-term success of the planted trees. The trees will have overall height between 3-4 metres however this will take between 5-10 years for them to grow to this height.

Students and staff plant tree in the grounds of campus

Litter pick

In an effort to promote and cultivate a sense of responsibility among the community, students led Sustainability Society collaborated with Student Union, Bradford Council and Wildlife Trust to take a proactive step towards a cleaner and greener city. On February 15, students were united for a litter pick, demonstrating their commitment to a sustainable and aesthetically pleasing learning environment. The primary goal was to instill a sense of pride in maintaining a litter free city while fostering awareness about the importance of responsible waste disposal. Armed with bags and a collective commitment to cleanliness, participants dispersed around the campus to engage in the litter pick process. Proper waste disposal practices were reinforced during the event, ensuring that the collected litter was appropriately segregated and recycled.

Students cleaning litter from the street near campus

Sustain-Our-Ability workshop

Sustainability Society hosted a dynamic Sustainability Workshop that brought together students, faculty, and staff in an inspiring exploration of sustainable practices and principles across various disciplines and in varying sectors. The event, held on February 16 at University, aimed to foster a deeper understanding of sustainability and equip participants with the knowledge and tools to apply these principles to a specific sector of interest. The workshop featured an enlightening keynote address by Professor Anand, Professor-Public Policy & Sustainability Faculty of Management, Law & Social Sciences, a distinguished expert in sustainability. Shawntel Nicole, listed as a Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree for Social Impact, shared valuable insights into the current global sustainability landscape, how to determine what sustainability can look like in particular context, to look at the particular field/research/work, and how can these be applied. The speakers inspired attendees to think critically about their ecological footprint and encouraging them to take action.


Speaker presenting during the sustainability workshop

Staff and students do plantation in allotments

Staff and students did plantation in the university's allotments, student led Sustainability Society launched the initiative on 10th April 2024. This year tomatoes, chillies, lettuce, peas, broad beans, melons, cucumbers , carrots, beetroot, potato sets and shallot sets were planted.

More than 15 students participated and a few staff members actively in the gardening activity at the event, which attracted attendees from the sustainability society and beyond. The presence of Faculty of Peace Studies and International Development, and Simon Padgett, Head Gardener encouraged everyone in attendance.

A student planting melons in allotment

Tree plantation at Yorkshire Dales in collaboration with National Trust UK

Sustainability Society, in collaboration with the National Trust, embarked on a fantastic tree planting mission in the heart of Yorkshire Dales on 27th March 2024. A dedicated team of 20 volunteers spent the entire day getting their hands dirty for a great cause. With the invaluable logistical support of the University Bradford Union, we were able to plant a significant number of trees, contributing to the vital task of restoring and preserving this beautiful natural landscape. Commenting on the initiative, society President said that they are proud of their volunteers' commitment to environmental action. This tree planting initiative is just one step on our journey towards a more sustainable future. We're dedicated to making a positive impact and encouraging others to join the cause. 


Students planting trees on Yorkshire Dales

Committed for a greener campus

In a resounding commitment to environmental stewardship, University of Bradford orchestrated a tree plantation event on 16th November that not only symbolised the university's dedication to sustainability but also rallied the campus community towards a greener future.

Organised by the Sustainability and Grounds team, trees were planted in the open space in the Shearbridge car park. Students and members of student lead Sustainability Society with a few staff members participated in this environmentally impactful initiative. Collectively 420 saplings were planted and the aim of the event was to contribute to the preservation of our environment and promote a greener, healthier campus and city. This was second round of plantation which completed planting 840 saplings till the end of 2023. It will also compensate the trees that we are losing due to ash dieback.

Students planting saplings in the Shearbridge car park at the University of Bradford

Ash Dieback

You will no doubt have heard through the media that many Ash trees in Britain are being affected by Ash Dieback.

We have undertaken a detailed assessment of the Ash trees we have on our campus and we have identified that unfortunately, there is Ash Dieback in many of our ash trees. In the interests of safety and to reduce the spread of the problem, we now need to undertake some remedial work.

In the first instance we will have to remove a number of trees, as their condition will not get any better and over time will become more likely to shed limbs.

Following the survey and considering the recommendations from specialists, we will have to remove the following trees:

Dried ash tree on campus

10th November

Ash tree in visitors car park

Ash tree to the rear of Phoenix North East

Ash tree between Horton A and Great Horton Road

17th November

Further Ash trees between Horton A and Great Horton Road

Small Sycamore in the same are area that is dying.

It is unfortunate that we are having to do this work, but it is vital that we protect the safety of students, staff and visitors to our campus as well as limiting the spread of the disease.

We work very hard to maintain the quality and diversity of our campus environment and there is more positive news in that we have planted over 800 new saplings over the last two years and have a further 400 arriving in November 2023.

Sustainability Society collaborates in a cleanliness drive

Litter picking exercises are essential in maintaining a clean and healthy environment. On the 18 April 2023, 15 students and members of the Sustainability Society were led by Professor P.B Anand, Patron and Head of Department for Peace Studies and International Development. They partnered with the Bradford Council in a litter picking exercise, an opportunity to commemorate Earth Day.

The exercise, which lasted for 90 minutes, started with a walk from the University to Bradford City Centre where participants had a briefing from the Bradford Council staff. They were then provided with gloves, litter pickers, and bin bags and given instructions on how to stay safe. Students were divided into groups and were assigned to pick litter from the Bradford city centre and its environs.

A group of children litter picking in City Park, Bradford

During this exercise, it was disappointing to see the amount of litter in the streets. Plastic bottles, candy wrappers, cigarette butts, and food containers were among the most common items that members picked. It was obvious that littering is a pervasive problem, and students engaged in discussing crucial and practical ways to raise awareness about the importance of keeping the environment clean.

Despite the overwhelming amount of litter, the insightful activity was also a chance to appreciate the beauty of Bradford. Students had the opportunity to explore the city, interact with each other as they all worked together towards a common goal.

One of the society members shared her feedback, “It was heart warming to see people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures coming together for a common cause”.

The litter picking exercise also highlighted the importance of community involvement in environmental issues. Essentially, we all have a role to play in keeping our neighbourhoods and cities clean.

Through simple actions, like properly disposing of trash, we can make a significant impact on the environment.

Sustainability Society launches gardening initiative

On May 3, 2023, at the university's allotments, sustainability society launched gardening initiative. Three different kinds of short-term (6 weeks) summer crops (strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries) were planted as part of a student-led initiative.

More than 15 students participated actively in the gardening activity at the event, which attracted attendees from the sustainability society and beyond. The presence of Professor Fiona Macaulay, a lecturer at the Faculty of Peace Studies and International Development, and Simon Padgett, the head of the university's gardening department, also encouraged everyone in attendance.

A Sustainability society member tends to an allotment

The initiative not only supports the university's ongoing efforts to promote sustainability and environmental responsibility, but it also aimed to give students a chance to bond and unwind outside of their study schedules. Additionally, numerous studies have supported the role gardening plays in treating depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

The crops will be ready for harvest within six weeks of planting, and their fruits available for everyone to enjoy. This initiative aims to encourage more students to become interested in gardening.

Students attend sustainability conference

Nearly 20 students participated this year in the Student Sustainability Research Conference 2024 organised by Yorkshire Universities, Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission and University of Leeds Sustainability Service. The Conference focused on providing a platform for students to showcase their research, projects, and initiatives related to sustainability. The conference highlighted the following aspects of SDGs reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability: 

- Climate Resilience and Adaptation; - Net Zero Carbon; - Justice, Equality, and Inclusivity; - Protection of Nature and Biodiversity; - Education for Sustainable Development; - Innovation, Industry and Infrastructure 
Students posing in sustainability conference

The conference hosted 14 parallel sessions, exhibitions and meet the employers evening. One of the University of Bradford students was in student panel to talked about the student's actions for climate change. Students while sharing their thoughts on the conference said "The conference explored some of the crucial for holistic development issues such as sustainable consumption and production, health and well-being promotion, responsible resource management, and renewable energy sources. The discussions addressed all the interconnected challenges and opportunities towards sustainable development goals." 

Students participate in woodland management

Students from Sustainability Society volunteered for woodland management at Denso Marston Nature Reserve on 16th March 2024. The event was organised by Fairtrade Baildon Group and students were invited to take part. The reserve have over 750 trees planted in 2019.  These trees needed guards to protect the stems from deer nibbling damage and it now needed to be removed. This was done by carefully releasing the ties used and then splitting the plastic guard to unwrap it from the trunk.


Student placing guard on tree at Denson Marson Nature Reserve