Commitments and means

Mise à jour le   20/06/2024
Tour energie DDRS
Because it trains the citizens of tomorrow, the university has a specific role to play in sustainable development and social responsibility. For many years, the UBO has been committed to a proactive and cross-disciplinary approach to build a responsible and supportive society.

A long-standing commitment


The university, with support from all actors involved, strives every day to adopt a sustainable and rational approach, to encourage more eco-friendly behaviours, and in turn to reduce its ecological footprint.

Instead of opting for individual car use, the university encourages all staff and students to use alternative means of transport through :

  • Raising awareness about car sharing and cycling such as the “Cycle to work" ( au boulot à vélo) initiative, bicycle repair workshop, and the creation of parking spaces reserved for car sharing in the Brest IUT car park.
  • Developing bike parking facilities across our campuses. The objective is to have over 150 parking spaces by 2023. Three eco-responsible parking areas that combine bike shelters, car sharing and charging stations for electric vehicles, are planned for the Bouguen campus.
  • Covering half of the cost of public transport for staff.
  • Providing a sustainable mobility package to staff who choose an alternative and sustainable mode of transport such as cycling and car sharing.
  • Making a pool of university vehicles comprising bikes and six vehicles (three hybrid and three electric) available for staff use.
In 2021

The Brest campuses have 175 bicycle racks, 54 of which are covered.

185 members of staff have benefited from a contribution to their public transport tickets and 61 from the sustainable mobility initiative.

UBO has been pesticide-free for its green spaces, since 2012. Service providers working under public contracts are also obliged to respect this choice. Our gardening and green space teams focus on alternative and natural methods, for example, white vinegar for weeding.
This is a virtuous approach aimed at preserving biodiversity, and it also makes sure that everyone’s health is protected: gardeners, users, local residents, etc.

UBO manages a 280,000 m² building stock, comprising 84 buildings. From environmental footprints to economic aspects, including user comfort, there are many issues surrounding this building stock.

  • Several years ago,  UBO adopted a centralized technical management system allowing it to supervise the technical installations on the various sites: heating, electricity and water. To extend this approach even further, meters will be gradually installed on each campus. The aim is to monitor energy consumption in real-time for each building.
  • The university uses urban heating from the recycling of waste from the greater Brest area.
  • The energy renovation of the building stock is an powerful lever for reducing its energy footprint and improving the working conditions and facilities for staff and students. Major renovation projects are planned or already underway. In particular, these are the Bouguen university library and the Faculty of Sciences G building: external heat insulation, installation of presence detectors for LED lighting, etc.
  • UBO is a signatory to the Biomass Heating Network (Réseau de chaleur chaufferie biomasse) project, led by Brest Métropole, which will supply the Brest Iroise Technopole campus at Plouzané in 2023. The key objectives and benefits are to use mostly renewable energy sources and to reduce CO2 emissions.

Between research, training courses and education, administration and everyday activities, over 293 tons of waste are collected per year at the university. This poses a challenge for the university, so it has put in place various systems and toolsto try and manage this issue:

  • Communal collection points for paper and cardboard are located around the different sites and campuses. Since 2021, a pilot collection system run by the Estates Department (service général d’entretien) has been in operation for the Faculty of Sciences C Building. It is currently in the test phase, after which time it will be extended to other sites.
  • Waste electrical and electronic equipment is collected and then recycled. This is carried out by ÉCOTRI, a company based on creating lasting employment for people with disabilities, and people who are on an access-to-employment scheme or who are socially excluded and have difficulties finding employment.
  • Collection bins for used batteries are installed around the sites and campuses.
  • Hazardous waste (chemical, biological and radioactive) is collected by specialized service providers.

To extend this approach even further, the waste management system is currently being reorganized. The long-term  objective is to provide more sorting and collection stations so that waste recycling becomes systematic.

Conscious that public procurement is a powerful force for action, the UBO aims to systematically integrate environmental and/or social clauses into its public contracts. This is the case for many supply contracts (office supplies, paper, printer cartridges and toners, maintenance products, network equipment, etc.), and also services or works contracts.
Certain purchases, under the public procurement threshold, are also made through ESATs (workplace integration structures). These organizations employ people with disabilities who are unable to work in an traditional/adapted companies or to exercise an independent professional activity.

The digital master plan (schéma directeur du numérique) was adopted in 2019 and incorporates the notion of digital responsibility.
All year round, the Department of Digital Uses (Département des usages du numérique) carries out awareness-raising activities among students and staff about good computer practices. These campaigns cover topics such as the simple gestures that can go some way to helping us to reduce our digital footprints, for example, regular and effective email housekeeping (cleaning up mailboxes) and making good use of email signatures.

Mitigating climate change and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. This is the major challenge facing all of the region’s stakeholders: public and private organizations, associations, scientists, citizens, etc. UBO has therefore chosen to join forces with Brest Métropole through the TOMORROW European project.


To encourage the emergence of new ideas, share good practices and improve the circulation of information, each UBO department/unit was invited, in September 2022, to set up a local sustainable development and social responsibility committee (SDSR).
These committees will play a central role in the institution’s SDSR process by centralizing and prioritizing suggestions from staff and students.


The UBO strives to improve well-being (working and study conditions) for everybody.

The University of Western Brittany (UBO) is committed to supporting students and staff with disabilities.

  • In 2017, it implemented a disability long-term action programme (schéma directeur pluriannuel du Handicap)
  • The Human Resources Department (ressources humaines) includes a disability and inclusion office that provides support for members of staff with disabilities.
  • The Handiversité advisors provide specific support for students with disabilities. They work alongside teaching and administrative staff to ensure accessibility and specific arrangements for courses, student life, and examinations/competitive exams.
  • UBO is committed to providing support for people with autism and, more broadly, all students with special needs. It is a member of Aspie-Friendly, the national inclusion programme for people with autism at University.

To improve the quality of life and work for its staff and students, UBO has put in place several measures to ensure that everyone benefits from an optimal environment. These include:

  • an action plan drawn up by the Quality of Life at Work working group (QVT),
  • measures to help balance work and family life: remote working, parenthood charter, limiting out of hour emails, holding meetings only at certain hours, etc.

There university’s gender equality mandate has been in place since 2012. It oversees the implementation of the Charter for Gender Equality in Higher Education (Charte pour l’égalité femmes-hommes dans l’Enseignement Supérieur) signed in January 2013 by the presidents of the CPU (former conference of university presidents, now France University), presidents of grandes écoles and engineering schools, and by the Ministers for Women's Rights, Culture and Communication, and Higher Education and Research. It works in particular towards:

  • parity in representative bodies
  • career equality
  • parity in training courses

In accordance with the agreement (of 30 November 2018) on professional equality between women and men in the civil service, UBO has drawn up an action plan aiming to reduce the inequalities that exist between women and men in the university. In particular, it clarifies the situation (as at the first quarter of 2021) based on analyses and actions that have already been carried out.

UBO adopts a university master plan

Next step in the process : adoption in 2018 of a sustainable development and social responsibility master plan (SDRS in English, DDRS in French). The result of a co-construction process involving staff and student volunteers, this multi-year strategic plan affirms the UBO’s ambition to integrate its SDRS policy into its overall functioning so that it becomes a reflex in decisions that are made by all of the university’s stakeholders, students, staff and partners alike. 
It structures the action with regard to five issues: Governance and Territorial Cohesion, Teaching, Education and Training, Research and Innovation, Environmental Management, and Social Policy.
Although the health crisis disrupted the timing of some of these projects, many are already underway. Other actions have been initiated or are planned for the longer term.

Significant achievements include: 

  • LEMAR and CREAD, two of the UBO’s research laboratories, are involved in the Labos 1point5 experiment. This interdisciplinary group of members from the academic world has set the objective of gaining a better understanding and reducing the impact of scientific research activities on the environment, in particular on the climate. (Line of research: Research and Innovation)
  • Various actions to promote scientific, technical and industrial culture (CSTI) to develop science and society interactions, for example, the InVivo virtual exhibition for a behind-the-scenes look at UBO research, and the science festival (fête de la science). (Line of research: Research and Innovation)
  • UBO introduced the use of recycled paper at the end of 2021 and is aiming for a minimum threshold of 80%. (Line of research: Environmental Management)


This proactive policy is based on foundations for actions initiated by the university, and also on individual or collective initiatives carried out by staff, students, services, departments and faculties, associations, etc. Follow the sustainable development and social responsibility activities on the university’s blog UBO, Greener is Better! (L’UBO, en vert c’est mieux!).


Lolo UBO responsable

SDRS-related education, teaching and research

Conscious that it has an important role to play, UBO is committed to putting to good use all that its scientific potential and wealth of disciplines has to offer:


    European project to assist the private and public catering sector with sustainable changes in their practices in England and France. University of Western Brittany (UBO) is the main project leader. It manages the administrative, financial and research aspects of the project through the participation of LEGO laboratory.
  • PPP: Preventing Plastic Pollution (LEMAR)


These chairs have been shortlisted as part of a call for projects by the Fondation UBO.


  • CoastAppli
    Application developed by ISblue and LETG researchers to raise awareness and engage the general public on the issue of coastal erosion.
  • SensOcean
    Scientists and navigators collaborating to study ocean currents and climate. This project brings together several partners: AMURE (Development of the Uses of Marine and Coastal Resources and Spaces – Centre for Law and Economics of the Sea), LOPS (Laboratory of Physical and Spatial Oceanography), UBO Open Factory and the association Astrolabe Expeditions.



In March 2021, UBO Open Factory and Fondation UBO, in partnership with PepSE and FédéB, launched a scheme to support projects put forward by students and staff and to facilitate the rolling out of these projects on the campuses.
Some of the 2021-2022 initiatives include a solidarity orchard (Pierre Jakez Hélias University Centre campus, Quimper), and a project to transform clean plastics that come from university laboratories (European Institute for Marine Studies, IUEM).


UBO, together with eight other European universities, is part of the SEA-EU Alliance. One of the alliance’s priority objectives is to meet the challenges of sustainable development by training the young European generation who will be the actors of the expected societal change.



The university’s commitment to protecting the environment and resources is also reflected in the modernization and energy renovation of its buildings. These property investments will not only streamline the building’s operating costs, but will also improve the conditions of the working and studying environment for users and staff. The common thread running through these operations is namely a 60% reduction in energy consumption by 2050 (see the ultimate objectives of the tertiary sector decree (décret tertiaire).