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Oxford Brookes University: 1st

We asked Oxford Brookes to explan what they had done to perform so well. Here is their response:

Oxford Brookes: building on strong foundations

Oxford Brookes University has a long-standing reputation of being at the forefront of sustainability in the Higher Education sector and this reputation is further enhanced by reaching third in People and Planet's 2009 Green League.

During the last 12 months we have been extremely busy at Oxford Brookes University. We have become the first university to be audited for the Gold Phase of the Ecocampus Environmental Management Scheme, secured £250,000 in Salix funding for carbon reduction projects, entered into a long-term contract with Oxford Bus Company – who operate "the most environmentally friendly bus fleet anywhere in Britain"[1] – to run the Brookes Bus service, adopted campus-specific travel plans after in-depth consultation with staff and students, and been short-listed for two Green Gown awards.

The Sustainability Team has expanded from one person to four since September 2008 and now comprises; a Sustainability Manager, Sustainable Travel Co-ordinator, Carbon and Energy Reduction Manager, and a Sustainability Intern. This increased capacity has allowed us to undertake a far greater number of sustainability initiatives across the University.

A step change in the way Oxford Brookes approaches sustainability has taken place in recent years. Now fully embracing a Corporate Responsibility Programme, in which the University has a vision to become a ‘restorative university’, the narrow approach of environmental management has given way to the more encompassing approach of sustainability.

"Brookes is building all the time on its reputation as a beacon of liberal and progressive education, with a strong ethical commitment"

Shami Chakrabarti, Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University

With strong, senior level commitment, this new approach is helping us to begin to fully embed sustainability in the culture of Oxford Brookes University; a culture in which every student and every member of staff has an individual responsibility for their environmental and social impact both on and off-campus.

Oxford Brookes has a strong background in leading the way in sustainability among universities. Since adopting our first environmental policy in 1997, we became the world’s first Fairtrade university in 2003, undertook a pilot with the Carbon Trust in 2003/04 which was subsequently offered sector-wide, and we continue to lead the way in sustainable travel planning.

"Brookes has been at the forefront of developments which have now been adopted at many other institutions, including being recognised as the world’s first Fairtrade university and prioritising environmental issues"

Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University

With such strong foundations Oxford Brookes is well-placed to rise to future challenges, such as meeting the Carbon Reduction Commitment, addressing the challenging issue of embedding sustainability in the curriculum, and engaging staff & students to become part of the corporate responsibility programme to establish corporate responsibility in everything we do.

Scoring breakdown

Overall Oxford Brookes University scored 53.0 (out of 70 possible points), and was ranked 3.

Page contents: Green League Indicators 2009

  1. Publicly Available Environmental Policy
  2. Full Time Environment Management Staff
  3. Comprehensive Environmental Auditing
  4. Ethical Investment Policy
  5. Carbon Management
  6. Fairtrade University accreditation
  7. Environmental Impact of Students’ Union or Students’ Association
  8. Energy sources
  9. Waste
  10. Carbon emissions per head
  11. Water consumption per head

Analysis information:

Management and Policy

1. Publicly Available Environmental Policy

Area

Score

1 a) Does the institution have a publicly available environmental policy published in the last five years? (out of 2 points)

2

1 b) Does the institution report on the environmental policy annually at a senior level of university administration (out of 2 points)

2

1 c) Does the institution sets targets to reduce environmental impact in the following areas (0.5 points for each area):

Waste management

0.5

Transport

0.5

Sustainable Procurement

0.5

Water

0

Construction & Refurbishment

0.5

Emissions & Discharges

0.5

Community involvement

0.5

Biodiversity

0.5

Total out of 8 points

7.5

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2. Staff

Area

Score

2 a) How many Environmental Management Staff does the University have? (out of 8 points)

  • 2 points = Less than one full time dedicated staff member.

  • 6 points = One full time dedicated staff member.

  • 8 points = At least one full time dedicated staff member and at least one other part time member of dedicated environmental staff member.

8

2 b) Does the institution have any formal schemes to involve other university staff in environmental management? (out of 2 points)

2

Total out of 10 points

10

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3. Comprehensive Environmental Auditing

Area

Score

3 a) Has the University audited the environmental impacts of the following areas in the last five years?

Waste management

0.5

Transport

0.5

Sustainable Procurement

0.5

Energy

0.5

Water

0.5

Construction & Refurbishment

0.5

Emissions & Discharges

0.5

Biodiversity

0.5

3 b) Is the University part of an external environmental management system (e.g. ISO14001, EMAS, Ecocampus etc.) (out of 4 points)

4

Total out of 8 points

8

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4. Ethical Investment Policy

Area

Score

4 a) Does the University have a publicly available ethical investment policy published in last five years. (out of 1 point)

1

4 b) Does the University have a publicly available ethical investment policy which is reported on annually or are there are ongoing opportunities for staff, students and other stakeholders to engage with the policy. (out of 1 point)

1

4 c) Has the institution on ethical grounds divested, invested or engaged with companies as a shareholder. (out of 1 point)

0

4 d) Does the ethical investment policy makes specific reference to taking action due to environmental considerations (out of 1 point)

1

Total out of 4 points

3

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5. Carbon Management

Area

Score

5 a) Does the University have a publicly available carbon management plan with a specific percentage time bound carbon reduction target with a baseline that includes direct energy use (out of 2 points)

2

5 b) How ambitious is the percentage carbon reduction target institution aims to achieve over 5 years (0 to 2 points depending on how target compares to other institutions targets)

5 c) Does the scope of the carbon management plan baseline includes the following areas (0.5 points per area):

Procurement

0

Staff and student business trips e.g. flights to conferences and field trips

0.5

Staff and students commuting to university on a daily basis

0.5

Carbon emissions associated with the travel between students’ homes and the university at the start and end of term (including international students’ travel to and from their home country)

0.5

Total out of 6 points

3.5

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6. Fairtrade University accreditation

Area

Score

6 a) Is the University an accredited Fairtrade University with the Fairtrade Foundation.

Total (out of 2 points)

2

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7. Environmental Impact of Students’ Union or Students’ Association

Area

Score

7 a) Students’ Union or Students’ Association associated to the institution has achieved a Bronze standard, Silver standard or Gold Award in this year’s Sound Impact Environmental Awards*.

*If Union not affiliated to NUS 2 points were awarded if Union demonstrated good environmental management practices.

Total out of 2 points

2

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Performance

8. Energy sources

Area

Score

8 a) Percentage total energy from renewable energy sources subject to LECs (0 to 3 points depending on renewable energy compared to other institutions)

2

8 b) Institution has an onsite Combined Heat and Power Plant (CHP) (out of 1 point)

0

8 c) Improvement in percentage total energy from renewable energy sources (0 to 2 points depending on percentage improvement)

0

Total out of 6 points

2

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9. Waste

Area

Score

9 a) Percentage of waste an institution recycles (0 to 2 points depending on percentage of waste recycled compared to other institutions)

2

9 b) Change in percentage of waste an institution recycles (0 to 2 points depending on percentage change compared to other institutions)

2

9 c) Change in waste mass per head an institution produces (0 to 4 points depending on percentage change compared to other institutions)

0

Total out of 8 points:

4

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10. Carbon emissions per head

Area

Score

10 a) Institution’s carbon emissions per head (0 to 4 points depending on carbon emissions per head compared to other institutions)

4

10 b) Change in carbon emissions per head relative to other institutions (0 to 4 points depending on percentage improvement compared to other institutions)

4

Total out of 8 points:

8

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11. Water consumption per head

Area

Score

11 a) Water consumption per head (0 to 4 points awarded depending on water consumption per head compared to other institutions)

2

11 b) Change in water consumption per head (0 to 4 points depending on percentage change compared to other institutions)

1

Total out of 8 points:

3

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Analysis information

Grades

Grade boundaries were set after the scores are collated.

Which universities are assessed?

People & Planet will assess 131 UK universities based on the full membership of Universities UK.

How has the information been collected?

Research for criteria 1-5

Information for criteria 1-5 is gathered by the Green League 2009 which is submitted to universities as a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act / Environmental Information Regulations. The responses to this questionnaire were analysed by a team of student researchers.

Research for criteria 6

Fairtrade University accreditation information is supplied directly by the Fairtrade Foundation.

Research for criteria 7

Sound Impact Environmental Award accreditation information is supplied directly by NUS Services Ltd.

Research for criteria 8-11.

The remaining criteria relate to on-the-ground environmental performance outcomes. This information comes from Estate Management Statistics (EMS), obtained through a freedom of information request to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and computed by People & Planet.

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