Values and responsibility

Making a difference to society

Our values underpin our 10-year strategy and will help us build a fairer future for all. 

Our values are:

Collaboration

We work together to achieve our goals and ambitions.

Compassion

We are caring and considerate in our words and actions.

Inclusivity

We are a community where everyone is welcome and belongs.

Integrity

We are open and honest in our words and actions. 

Our responsibilities

We understand that what we do can have an impact on the wider community, which is why we take our social, economic and environmental responsibilities seriously.

Building relationships

We strive to ensure that everyone within the University is treated fairly, with dignity and respect; that the opportunities we provide are open to all; and that the University provides a safe, supportive and welcoming environment.

Equality and inclusion

We believe that every student, staff and other member of our community should be treated with dignity and mutual respect. We should all be part of a learning and working environment that is free from barriers, regardless of age, caring responsibilities, disabilities, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity status, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.  

As an international, research-intensive university with a strong commitment to student education we will create an inclusive environment that attracts, develops and retains the best students and staff from all backgrounds from across the world and supports them in delivering their ambitions, contributing to our institutional strategic aims.  

In addition to complying with all our legal duties under the Equality Act 2010, the University will advance equality and inclusion by:

  • Providing an inclusive environment where everyone feels included and involved.
  • Ensuring that our strategies, policies and practices are inclusive to students and staff from all backgrounds.
  • Working in partnership with our students and staff to increase the engagement of the whole University community with Equality and Inclusion.
  • Providing a clear framework which enables any unwanted conduct, behaviour or practice to be reported and which assures our students and staff of a robust process of investigation and appropriate action. 
  • Demonstrating senior leadership visibility and accountability for Equality and Inclusion. 

Details of our activities around Equality and Inclusion can be found on our Equality and Inclusion Unit news webpage.

Engaging with the community

Located close to the city centre, the University serves the community in a number of ways:

  • Over 3,500 of our students and many staff work as local volunteers with over 350 students helping in local schools.
  • Residents and visitors to Leeds can access the University’s facilities including sport and fitness centre The Edge, the Stanley and Audrey Burton Art Gallery, the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, the Library Special Collections and the Michael Marks Building which houses the Marks and Spencer Company Archive.
  • Members of the public can participate in events including the University’s Be Curious festival, the Leeds Festival of Science and Yorkshire Sculpture International which is coordinated by the University and partners across the city.

Find out more about how we engage with the community.

Sustainability

We have developed a sustainability strategy focused on four core themes:

  • developing knowledge and capacity
  • being a positive partner in society
  • enhancing our resource management
  • developing a collaborative organisation.

To shape our action in tackling the global climate crisis, the University has also developed the key principles in the following section. We are determined to take a lead in mobilising our combined knowledge, influence, assets and community, to help the world transition to a low carbon society and mitigate our impact on the environment. 

Sustainability is embedded in our decision making with social, environmental and economic impacts considered in our procurement process and in all of our major developments and investments.

We encourage our students to engage with sustainability through extra-curricular activities, and on campus we have developed our award-winning partnership-based sustainable garden, linking edible planting, wildflower areas and research pods to create a space which is open to staff, students and the local community.

In November 2018, the University of Leeds and Leeds University Union together pledged to become single-use plastic free by 2023.

The campaign, Single Out: 2023PlasticFree, crucially commits the University and Union to phase out single-use plastic across the board, not just in catering and office spaces.

Visit our sustainability website.

Climate action 

The climate crisis is the greatest global challenge we face, and as a world-leading university, we must act. In 2019, we agreed seven principles to address the climate crisis.

Our Climate Plan, published in 2021, maps out how we will deliver our key commitments for each principle. It outlines our single biggest investment of £174 million, and sets out exactly how we, as a university community, will play our part in the global effort to address climate change. It links to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and supports a just transition, by considering the impacts of climate change and our actions for all groups and members of the University and the wider community.

Our climate principles are:

  • Delivering net zero by 2030. Our bold target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 is supported by an investment of more than £150 million. But we won’t stop there. We will continue to work on climate resilience and have a target of zero direct emissions by 2050.  
  • Achieving sustainable travel for the University and the city region through consultation and collaboration.
  • Supporting a net-zero city by working closely with Leeds City Council and other partners including in our role as a founding member of the Leeds Climate Coalition. 
  • Shaping institutional decision making ensuring University decisions are informed using a sustainability assessment. 
  • Enabling responsible investment. Our investment strategy will shift to focus on purposeful companies including those that tackle social and environmental concerns, whilst providing a balanced investment portfolio for present and future generations. 
  • Reorienting research and teaching using our research expertise to co-create solutions on a local, national and international scale whilst transitioning away from the fossil fuel sector, unless the work is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or can contribute to the transition to a low carbon future. 
  • Providing a sustainable curriculum, which will ensure students graduate as global citizens equipped to tackle current and future challenges.  

Read our Climate Plan and view updates on delivering our key climate commitments.

Research integrity

The University’s research community is committed to adhering to high ethical standards and the University’s values in order to ensure the integrity of our innovative and high quality research.

As supporters of the UUK Concordat to Support Research Integrity we are committed to:

The University of Leeds Research Ethics Policy and ethical review procedures seek to protect, as far as possible, all groups involved in research including participants, researchers, funders and the University of Leeds throughout the lifespan of the research. 

Data protection 

As a university, we may need to process information about our stakeholders including employees, students, alumni and the public for administrative, research and general business purposes. Our Data Protection Code of Practice (PDF) sets out how we meet our legal obligations under the Data Protection Act to make sure we process and store this information fairly, lawfully and securely and that our stakeholders understand how their data is being used.

Modern slavery statement

Our modern slavery statement informs our students, staff, suppliers, stakeholders and the public about the steps that we have taken, and will take, to mitigate any risk of modern slavery, human trafficking, forced and bonded labour and labour rights violations within our organisation and supply chains.

Use of animals in research

The University of Leeds carries out research using animals to improve the health and welfare of human beings and animals, to provide a better understanding of the animals themselves, and for educational purposes. It uses animals only when there are no alternatives, and is firmly committed to the replacement, reduction and refinement of the use of animals in research (the 'three Rs').

Find out more about our animal research.

Commitment to Fairtrade

We are proud to be a Fairtrade university and have been since 2005. Along with Leeds University Union we sell Fairtrade foods in all shops and food outlets on campus and we're passionate about raising awareness of Fairtrade. The Fairtrade label guarantees a better deal for disadvantaged producers in the developing world.