Nottingham Trent named UK's greenest university

7 Jun 2011

Published today in The Guardian, the People & Planet Green League 2011 reveals the environmental and ethical performance of 142 UK universities. Find out how your university is doing.

Nottingham Trent University has taken the top spot in this year’s People & Planet People & Planet University League for a second time, with strong scores for its environmental & carbon management policies as well as renewable energy and excellent recycling rates. The top 5 also includes the universities of Gloucestershire, Worcester, Plymouth, Bournemouth and Greenwich (the latter two are tied in 5th place).

Professor Neil Gorman, Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, said:

“We take our responsibility for reducing our environmental impact very seriously, and our position at the top of the People & Planet People & Planet University League shows that. I’m very proud of all the hard work and commitment from our staff and students that has helped towards this achievement and we will do all that we can to maintain our reputation as the most environmentally friendly and ethical university in the UK.”

Universities are Going Greener

Nationally, the results show major improvements in 12 out of the 13 criteria used to rank universities and measure their transition to a fair & sustainable future – including: * 8.3% increase in universities generating their own renewable energy on-site * 57% of sector has put in place strong Carbon Management plans and climate targets * 10% increase in energy-saving & recycling initiatives for students in halls of residence * 10% increase in universities publishing Sustainable Food policies# * 20% increase in universities employing at least one Sustainability Manager * 68% of universities have now achieved Fairtrade status

However, the People & Planet People & Planet University League also reveals that the sector’s carbon emissions have risen by 3.9% since 2005 and that 63% of universities are not yet on track to meet government carbon reduction targets of 34% cuts by 2020.

Russell Group institutions in particular have increased their climate emissions more than the sector average and none made it into the Top 20. The top of the league table is dominated by less research-intensive institutions and smaller teaching institutions who appear to be taking up the challenge of creating sustainability-savvy graduates more seriously.

Louise Hazan, who compiled People & Planet’s People & Planet University League 2011, said:

“This year’s results show the sector is making a clear transition towards low-carbon, sustainable operations and responding to increasing student demand for greener universities that offer value for money. However, despite clear progress in the last year on issues such as carbon management planning and student engagement, the fact that carbon emissions are still rising should sound alarm bells for Vice-Chancellors and the Government alike”.

Students demand more green for their money

As well as environmental impacts, the People & Planet People & Planet University League assessed how well universities are integrating sustainability in their core teaching and research activities with a new Curriculum criteria.

Robin Parker, President-elect of NUS Scotland, commented:

“More and more, students are seeking an education which equips them with the skills and knowledge to deal with the global challenges that their generation will face - challenges like climate change and global inequality. Given the current funding situation, it would be easy for institutions to see the sustainability agenda as a luxury – in fact, it is more important than ever.”

With environmental issues playing an increasingly important part in students’ choice of university, a new free interactive iPhone app launched alongside the People & Planet People & Planet University League 2011 allows students (and staff) to easily compare universities green credentials - from performance to curriculum. The application is available to download from iTunes now.

See the People & Planet People & Planet University League 2011 results on The Guardian website **Full breakdown of results including case studies & score cards