Nous develops climate action road map for education sector

08 October 2020 3 min. read

Global consultancy Nous Group has collaborated with the Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education to devise a road map for colleges looking to decarbonise their operations. The plan, which took in the views of 12 participating colleges during its development, is designed to give further education groups the knowledge needed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

With businesses and governments looking to tackle climate change and ecological destruction in order to prevent a global catastrophe, a coordinated approach to lowering emissions and greening the planet is essential. Colleges, like all institutions, have a responsibility to address their footprint, and meet the UK Government’s target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 – however there is currently a great deal of variation in how the further education sector is responding to the climate crisis.

To help address this, the Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education was established in November 2019. The organisation aims to develop a strategic, sector-wide approach to tackle the climate emergency, and quickly realised that some colleges had no relevant experience, meaning a uniform response was currently out of the question. The Climate Commission subsequently sought a Climate Action Road map for the UK further education sector, to help determine a path for colleges to respond to climate change and apply to colleges of differing maturity.


This saw the Climate Commission engage management consulting firm Nous Group to help build the road map. Working in the UK, Canada and Australia, Nous supports education, health, government and social care sectors to ensure a better future. The firm among others advises colleges and universities on designing and implementing strategies to improve their sustainability and environmental impact.

Nous produced a road map based on a range of existing materials – including the EAUC’s ‘Guide to Sustainability in Further Education’, the Sustainability Leadership Scorecard, the Climate Emergency Framework, and past winners of the Green Gown and AoCBeacon Awards, among others – resulting in a plan which will help colleges to take the steps they need to achieve carbon neutrality.

The road map is designed to be practical and easy to follow, affordable and outcome-driven – something the involvement of a number of colleges will have helped with during its development.

Nous consulted Basingstoke College of Technology; Bridgend College; Brooksby Melton College; Cambridge Regional College; Capel Manor College; Dumfries and Galloway College; Dundee and Angus College; Fircroft College; Gloucestershire College; Kingston Maurward College; Portsmouth College; and Stockton Riverside College during the process. The scheme leads colleges through early steps, like surveying the college on sustainability and establishing a Sustainability Committee, through to complex steps like using renewable energy on their estate and training teachers to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum for all courses.

Commenting on the road map, Steve Frampton President, Association of Colleges said, “Nous Group led the development of the FE Climate Action Road map in a professional manner and facilitated meaningful engagement with the Climate Commission Council members. The result is a robust road map which will help colleges to take the steps they need to achieve carbon neutrality.”