You are here

  1. Home
  2. Carbon Management

Carbon Management

Net Zero 2050

The Open University has committed to Net Zero 2050

This means that The Open University will:

  • set Science Based Targets (SBT) in line with the 1.5-degree trajectory recommended by the Paris Climate Agreement;
  • across the full value chain – Scope 1 (all direct GHG emissions), Scope 2 (indirect GHG emissions from electricity consumption) and Scope 3 (GHG emissions from water, waste, travel and the extraction and production of purchased materials and outsourced activities).

We shall transparently measure and annually report our carbon emissions following the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (the internationally recognised standard for corporate carbon reporting).

This builds on our work to measure and reduce our Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions since 2010 and signals an expansion of our commitment to meet the urgent call of the International Panel on Climate Change.

View our policies, statements, reports and guidance relating to sustainability here.

Image of building from the air. Two of the buildings show rows of Solar Photovoltaic panels. The buildings are surrounded by grass and gardens including a pond.

Energy consumption:

During 2020/21 The Open University reduced overall Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions by more than 600 tonnes to 5,459 tonnes. The Carbon Management Plan was the main driver of this progress, with the total percentage reduction across the whole estate increasing to 64.5% (from a 2005 baseline). 

  • Electricity consumption reduced by 11% to 12,582 MWh in 2020/21.

  • Gas consumption increased by 3% to 15,132 MWh in 2020/21.

The reduction in carbon emissions means that the University has exceeded our Carbon Management plan target of a 36% reduction by 2020/21 against the baseline year of 2005.  It contributes to the targets set by the Climate Change Act and the targets set for higher education by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), now the Office for Students (OfS).

Work is now underway to produce a new Carbon Reduction Strategy to help us to reach Net Zero by 2030 for Scopes 1 & 2. Watch this space for more details!

For more information on how to get involved with sustainability at The Open University, please visit the main sustainability webpage.


This work feeds into the OU's support of the above UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Contact us

Email : Estates-Liaison

Estates Liaison Line:
 +44(0)1908 653286

Main Switchboard
+44(0)1908 274066

The Open University
Geoffrey Crowther Building
Walton Hall

Opening Hours:
08:00-17:30 Monday-Thursday
08:00-17:00 Friday

Contact the OU

The Open University