Sustainability And Social Action Framework

Dr Paul Phillips Sitting looking at the camera

Being Green, Lean and Socially Responsible – our philosophy for a sustainable ‘Net Zero’ College of the Future

  • Only outstanding college for 30 miles
  • One of the fastest growing colleges in the UK
  • Pass rates at 99%
  • Pearson Gold Award for Leadership
  • x17 Beacon Awards for Excellence
  • Lloyds Bank Business of the Year 2019
  • Queen's Anniversary Award for FE and HE
  • National Apprenticeship Award Winner 2022
  • TES College of the Year
  • TES Principal of the Year
  • National Centre of Diversity - Principal of the Year

In England, both the Government (COP26) and the Association of Colleges (AoC) have identified ‘climate change’ as one of the biggest challenges of our time. Colleges, like all organisations have a responsibility to address this and to meet the UK government’s target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

At the same time, our staff and students are also passionate advocates of making a difference to their communities and therefore, we must embed a green, lean and socially responsible approach, in order to sustain the world’s resources, reduce environmental impact and create the vibrant, positive and fairer communities of tomorrow.

This is in line with the Government’s ambition for Net Zero ‘Building Back Greener’, the global vision behind the UN’s Global Sustainable Development Goals, the AoC’s ‘Green College Commitment’, and the Department for Education’s Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy.

Dr Paul Phillips CBE, Principal and CEO, Weston College Group


Read the core aims and key deliverables for 2024 here

Reducing our carbon emissions and embedding a green, lean, socially responsible culture - for students and staff to come together, using strong green leadership, to sustainably work towards becoming a ‘Net Zero’ College of the Future. Our super six sustainability principles:


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Implement a ‘green, lean socially responsible’ culture through strong green leadership, governance, CPD, partnerships and #Let’s Go Zero campaigns. Embed long term sustainable estate investment/management e.g. renewable energy, eco-designs, waste and water management, procurement, biodiversity, with a commitment to work towards ‘Net Zero’ carbon emissions by 2050. Create a digital mindset for greater process efficiency and work/life balance. Ensure robust accounting, reporting and audit of ‘Net Zero’ to realise impact - using a ‘Whole College - Whole System’ approach.


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Create a positive carbon reduction ethos for students and staff and wider stakeholders. Upskill through carbon literacy CPD, events and key messaging e.g. to use less water/waste and energy; switch off lights, computers/screens/printers when not in use; only use air con when necessary; keep doors closed; reduce the amount of food waste/ single use items and unnecessary ordering of consumables by each faculty/department. Increase the amount of recycling, reduce printing with robust implementation and monitoring to work towards ‘Net Zero’ across all campuses.


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Play an anchor role through working with employers to deliver the green curriculum of the future to meet green skills priorities. Upskill staff and students in carbon literacy, higher technical skills and wider sustainability and social action. Raise awareness of inclusive green careers through hands on immersion events looking at future technologies, e.g., auto electrification, smart systems/materials, artificial intelligence, robotics etc - to see how they are shaping sustainable construction, manufacture, logistics, retail, business administration, patient care and public services.


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Choose and upskill suppliers who meet our high standards regarding their own ‘Net Zero’ and wider sustainability/social action practices. Ensure compliance and foster a collaborative green, lean socially responsible culture, to create a circular economy. Engage in smart purchasing/order scheduling to reduce carbon footprint, using less deliveries/packaging etc - and bulk ordering where possible


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Support staff, students, employers and wider stakeholders to engage in social action to undertake community activities to build stronger fairer communities - working with those most at need. Encourage educational projects which improve biodiversity (both urban as well as rural), and protect the environment e.g., using beach cleans. Ensure robust measurement of social value to realise impact.


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Reduce the numbers of single journeys undertaken by governors, staff and students. Use of alternative transportation including walking, bikes, public transport, carpool (COVID permitting). Use of Teams meetings etc for meetings/collaboration


Read the core aims and key deliverables for 2024 here

Upskilling to create the green change makers of the future. Working with employers and stakeholders to level up and champion inclusive green careers – so all learners prosper from a vibrant, progressive green economy. Cascade our ‘green, lean, socially responsible’ ethos, across all curriculum areas, and at all levels.

“Everyone must be given the chance to train, upskill and retrain for the green economy”
David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges

CEH LogoHeadshot of David Hughes


Our commitment to support community and social action …

Supporting our community to grow and thrive using social action projects, where students and staff work collaboratively - using green, lean and socially responsible principles, to create more sustainable, fairer neighbourhoods.

Read the core aims and key deliverables for 2024 here

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