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Our Future First is the University’s sustainable behaviours programme, encouraging everyone at Reading to make small individual changes that could add up to a big impact. The guiding principle is simple: no one person can do everything, but everyone can do something.

From switching to sustainable commutes to turning off electrical equipment when not in use, we encourage everyone to play their part in making us a green university.

There are incentives for staff and students to record their actions through our Doing UoR Bit programme, and support is available from our Sustainability Services team.

How you can make a difference

 Leaf in a lightbulb

Saving energy

  • Switch off appliances and equipment when not in use and during University closure days.  
  • Switch off monitors when taking breaks. If every colleague switched off their monitor for one hour, it would save enough energy to power an average UK home for five and a half days. 


 Ariel shot of clouds and mountain

Greener travel

  • Choose greener methods of commuting. 87% of student and staff journeys to University use sustainable modes of travel. 
  • Avoid flying when travelling to conferences.  
 Used bottles collected in a plastic bags

Lower waste

  • Use reusable cups. Between September 2022 and July 2023, 60% of the 209,000 hot drinks sold on campus cafes were served in reusable cups. That saved almost 12 tonnes of waste. 
  • Join litter picks on our campus and local area. Each month, staff and students help improve our campus and local community environments better by volunteering for clean ups.   
  • Reduce waste and recycle. In 2022/23, thanks in part to choices made by staff and students, we saved 98.8% of waste from landfill – up from 98.3% last year and just short of our 99% target. We now produce 41kg of waste per person on campus – down from 62kg in 2015/16 and 35% below our 2015/16 baseline.  
 Germination on soil

Sustainability champions

  • The Our Future First programme has embedded over 40 Champions across our campuses to encourage and enable staff and students to take action.
  • The Champions advocate for change in their areas, are on hand to offer advice, and meet regularly to find shared ways of working more sustainably across different parts of the University. 
We're green in all sorts of ways
People & Planet University League
1st in the People & Planet University League 2023
The Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education 2021
Queens Anniversary Prize for climate research and action
Times Higher Education Awards 2023
Winner of Outstanding Contribution to Environmental Leadership