Green League 2010 Methodology
Green League Indicators 2010
- Publicly Available Environmental Policy
- Environmental Management Staff
- Environmental Auditing & Management Systems
- Ethical Investment Policy
- Carbon Management
- Sustainable Procurement & Fairtrade
- Student and Staff Engagement
- Energy sources
- Waste Reduction
- Carbon emissions per head
- Water Consumption
The criteria and methodology for the People & Planet Green League 2011 are being developed in consultation with a range of stakeholders and will be published here in January 2011
People & Planet’s Green League takes a dual approach to environmental management - looking both at commitment to systemic improvement and at actual performance. We see both as being essential indicators of universities’ commitment to and actual transition towards a low-carbon, post-oil world which will require resilience and innovation from all sectors of society. The performance indicators reveal how well an institution is performing on the ground. The management and policy criteria demonstrate whether an institution has a systematic means of improving its performance
Methodology & Criteria 2010
Management and Policy Criteria
1. Publicly Available Environmental Policy
An environmental policy provides a formal, public and permanent demonstration of intent regarding performance. It is crucial in ensuring there is sustained, strategic improvement in environmental performance. People & Planet’s Green League 2009 revealed that 94% of institutions have some form of environmental policy but those policies varied widely in strength and the breadth of environmental impacts they covered.
Policies, targets and reporting are key drivers of performance improvement across the sector, so this year’s Green League awards significant points for those with the strongest environmental policies. However, we have reduced the overall number of points available slightly to provide more weighting to other management and performance indicators. Half points are no longer awarded for specific areas covered by policy, as People & Planet expects that by 2010 most universities should have developed comprehensive environmental policies which cover the basic areas of environmental management highlighted in previous Green Leagues.
Point Allocation: (6 points)
The institution has a publicly available environmental policy published in the last five years (2 points)
The institution reports on the environmental policy annually at a senior level of university administration (2 points)
The institution sets targets to reduce environmental impact in the following areas (2 points for policies that include all the areas below):
- Waste management
- Sustainable Procurement
- Construction & Refurbishment
- Emissions & Discharges
- Community involvement
Note: points are no longer allocated for targets relating to energy in the environmental policy. This is because we have a separate indicator focused specifically on Carbon Management, which assesses policy and targets relating to energy in more depth.
2. Environmental Management Staff
Without the expertise and championing of professional staff dedicated to environmental management, it has been repeatedly demonstrated that green initiatives in universities are unlikely to be systematic, well-coordinated and resourced, or have significant, sustainable success. Environmental managers develop objectives and set priorities with significant, time-bound targets and can co-ordinate the work to fulfil them.
The Green League 2009 revealed significant progress in this area as 67% of universities (85 institutions) now have at least 1 full-time environmental manager. This represents a large increase since publication of the first People & Planet Green League in 2007. Sector-wide carbon reduction targets also now provide clear incentives for institutions to allocate sufficient staff capacity to managing their environmental impacts. Commensurate with these increases, we have reduced the overall number of points allocated to this criteria to focus the Green League 2010 on other innovations essential for a university’s low-carbon transition journey.
After consultation with our stakeholders, we have also amended the methodology slightly to make the allocation of points in this category fairer to smaller institutions. Points this year are awarded to institutions based on the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) posts per 5,000 FTE students as previous Green Leagues have shown this to be the level of staff capacity required to manage the university’s environmental impacts. Further points are awarded where an institution can show that there is at least one member of staff with overall responsibility for strategy and implementation of environmental management policy which forms at least 50% of their job description.
Point allocation: (8 points)
The institution can qualify for points for either i), ii) OR iii).
i) Less than one full time equivalent dedicated staff member (4 points) Institution has at least 0.5 FTE member of staff per 5000 students with full responsibility for developing and implementing environmental management plans OR has a full time member of staff where responsibility for developing and implementing environmental management plans forms less than 50% of their job description.
Note: A staff member has part-responsibility for developing and implementing environmental management plans if they are working on only one aspect of environmental management, or have other non-environmental management responsibilities.
ii) At least one full time equivalent dedicated staff member (6 points) Institution has at least one full time equivalent member of staff with full responsibility for developing and implementing environmental management plans per 5,000 students. For example, one full time member of staff with at least 50% responsibility for environmental management plus at least 0.5 FTE members of staff working on only one aspect of environmental management (eg. waste manager).
iii) At least two full time equivalent dedicated staff members. (8 points) Institution has 2 or more FTE members of staff per 5,000 students. At least 1FTE has full responsibility for developing and implementing environmental management plans plus additional part or full time staff with responsibility for developing and implementing environmental management plans. (8 points)
3. Environmental Auditing & Management Systems
Only by analysing and regularly auditing the variety of different environmental impacts - from energy to purchasing and biodiversity - can a university set targets, assess priorities and monitor performance improvements. This is a key element of any externally-accredited Environmental Management System, such as ISO14001, EMAS, Green Dragon and EcoCampus.
The Green League 2010 awards points for institutions that have audited a variety of different environmental impacts, although a single, comprehensive baseline audit is not required. People & Planet recognises that this is ideal, but that universities are able to effectively monitor a variety of impacts separately.
In recognition of the rigor and accuracy of external environmental management systems, the Green League 2010 awards points to those universities that have opened themselves up to the external scrutiny of such schemes. We have also widened the list of schemes eligible for these points based on consultation with the sector and an evaluation of different schemes. In recognition of the incremental nature of accreditation for these schemes, we award different levels of points according to progress towards the highest achievable standard in each scheme.
People & Planet recognises that some universities are able to effectively monitor and manage their environmental performance independently but agrees with Defra that the sector should be moving towards externally-accredited environmental management systems. From next year onwards the Green League will be introducing a different points systems for Criteria 1 – 3 which recognises more fully the importance of universities operating an environmental management system.
Point Allocation: (8 points)
Institution has audited environmental impacts in the following areas in the last five years (0-4 points)
- Waste management (½ point)
- Transport (½ point)
- Sustainable Procurement (½ point)
- Energy (½ point)
- Water (½ point)
- Construction & Refurbishment (½ point)
- Emissions & Discharges (½ point)
- Biodiversity (½ point)
Institution operates an externally audited environmental management system (e.g. ISO14001, EMAS, Ecocampus, Green Dragon, IEMA Acorn Scheme (BS8885)) (0-4 points)
4. Ethical Investment Policy
A strong ethical investment policy ensures a university’s investments are conducted transparently and in an economically viable and socially responsible manner, not blind to wider social, environmental and humanitarian concerns. Ethical investment policies are not merely there to direct decision-making around the investment of ‘extraneous funds’. They are necessary to inform decisions about all areas of investment conducted by a university, including but not limited to pension fund investments, equities investment and banking providers.
If an ethical investment policy isn’t put into practice then it is not worth the paper it’s printed on. The Green League 2010 awards a point if there is a clear process for regular review, with ongoing opportunities for staff, students and other stakeholders to engage with the policy.
The People & Planet Green League is focused on testing the environmental impact of universities, therefore points are awarded to those universities that specifically consider the environmental consequences of investment.
Point Allocation: (4 points)
Institution has a publicly available ethical investment policy published in last five years. (1 point)
Institution has a publicly available ethical investment policy which is reported on annually and/or there are ongoing opportunities for staff, students and other stakeholders to engage with the policy. (1 point)
Institution has, on ethical grounds: a) divested, b) invested, c) engaged with companies as a shareholder, or d) changed banking provider. (1 point - no extra points for doing more than one)
The ethical investment policy or other investment documents makes specific reference to taking action due to environmental considerations (1 point)
5. Carbon Management
Combating climate change by drastically reducing our carbon emissions is the predominant environmental challenge of today. The latest science shows the need for at least 90% carbon reductions in the UK by 2050 and 40% by 2020. The Government expects all sectors of society to contribute to the 80% reductions by 2050 enshrined in the Climate Change Act (2008) and Climate Change (Scotland) Act (2009). Carbon management is therefore central to the future of environmental management in universities, as recognised by Universities UK and GuildHE’s endorsement of Hefce’s recently published Carbon Reduction Strategy (2010 which sets a sector-wide carbon reduction target for the first time.
Although this strategy applies only to English institutions, similar requirements will soon be brought in for institutions in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, for example through the Universities and Colleges Climate Change Commitment for Scotland (UCCCfS) and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (Hefcw). People & Planet has worked hard to secure a sector-wide carbon reduction strategy with ambitious targets and welcomes their introduction. We recognise that the funding councils for devolved nations have not yet formalised their own targets, but will be based broadly on the national targets enshrined within UK legislation (to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050). The Green League 2010 awards specific points to those institutions who have created carbon management plans with targets broadly in line with the sector-wide reduction targets set by the Hefce 2010 strategy.
Why focus on short-term targets? To avoid the climate impacts of cumulative emissions in the atmosphere, carbon reductions need to start now and decline annually on a steep trajectory until 2050. For example, it is not acceptable to carry on with business as usual and drastically reduce emissions by 80% in 2049 to achieve a 2050 target. The total emissions emitted between now and 2050 would be far greater than if emissions had declined annually. It is vital that universities’ carbon management plans set them on the right carbon reduction trajectory (or transition pathway) by including ambitious short, medium and long-term targets. The Green League 2010 will therefore calculate and award points for those institutions whose short-term (1-5 years) and medium/long-term (10+ years) targets contribute adequately to the sector-wide targets. This is calculated as a yearly average reduction target per institution as compared to the 35% cut by 2017 on a 2005 baseline target which is set out in Hefce’s carbon reduction strategy.
Why focus on Scope 3 emissions when these are excluded from Hefce’s Carbon reduction strategy?
It is estimated that up to 50% of a university’s footprint comes from the emissions embedded within the goods and services procured. To recognise that universities have a huge power to influence the significant emissions resulting from travel and procurement more points are allotted if carbon managements plans cover those specific areas. Last year’s Green League revealed that a relatively small number of institutions’ carbon management plans covered these so it is hoped that when plans are reviewed institutions will look at these very significant areas.
These ‘Scope 3’ emissions are currently excluded from the sector-wide targets set at the national level and will only be included in 2012/3 pending a nationally agreed methodology for calculating Scope 3 emissions accurately. People & Planet feels it important to reward those universities who are leading the way in monitoring and addressing these significant portions of their carbon footprints, despite not being legally required to do so yet.
Why include student travel at the start and end of term?
See rationale which remains unchanged from last year’s Green League 2009 methodology.
Point allocation: (8 points)
Institution has a publicly available carbon management plan with a specific % time-bound carbon reduction target with a baseline that includes direct energy use (2 points)
Yearly average % carbon reduction target (taken from an institution’s short-term targets) as compared to 2005 baseline (0 to 3 points depending on how target compares to sector-wide targets)
- 0 points – 0 – 1.9% annual reductions
- 1 point – 2 – 3.4%
- 2 points – 3.5 - 5%
- 3 points – Over 5%
e.g. An institution that has a short term target to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2015, compared to a 2005 baseline, would be awarded 2 points as this is equivalent to a 4% yearly average reduction.
The scope of the carbon management plan baseline includes the following areas (0-3 points):
- Procurement (1 point)
- Staff and student business trips e.g. flights to conferences and field trips (1 point)
- Staff and students commuting to university on a daily basis (½ point)
- 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) (½ point)
6. Sustainable Procurement and Fairtrade
Fairtrade University certification is an objective standard, accredited by the Fairtrade Foundation, for progressive Fairtrade purchasing in universities. A sustainable university will consider its impacts not just in the UK but also on the wider world particularly through its purchasing policies. Being an accredited Fairtrade University demonstrates that the university is, at least in part, considering this.
People & Planet believes it is important for universities to consider the sustainability of their whole supply chains (across the broad range of products and services they procure) and recognise the interconnections between social and environmental factors. We will be strengthening the Green League criteria to recognise the broader social impacts of procurement from 2011 onwards. We have included this area in the Green League 2010 questionnaire as a monitoring exercise and will only award points from next year onwards.
As a first step towards this emphasis on sustainable procurement, the Green League 2010 shines a spotlight on food as one critically important area of sustainable procurement. The food we consume accounts for almost 10% of the average UK carbon footprint and universities are significant procurers/providers of food. People & Planet believe universities have a responsibility to address the carbon intensity of the food they serve, whether internally or through contractors. We will be increasing the points allocated to this section from next year onwards and hope to encourage institutions to review and carefully consider the significance of sustainability throughout their supply chains.
Point Allocation: (3 points)
Institution is an accredited Fairtrade University with the Fairtrade Foundation. (1.5 points)
Institution has a publicly-available Sustainable Food Policy or a Sustainable Procurement Policy which integrates sustainability criteria for food (0.5 point) (if over 50% of catering is outsourced, then sustainability specfications should be built into catering contracts).
Institution does two or more of the following: (1 points)
- Working towards Soil Association Food for Life catering mark
- 75% of dishes are ‘freshly’ prepared
- Menus are seasonal
- A range of local and organic is served
- No fish is served from MCS ‘fish to avoid’ list
- At least 30% of ingredients are organic or MCS certified
- At least 50% of ingredients are locally sourced
- Non-meat dishes are being promoted as part of a balanced, climate-friendly diet
- Meat free days run across campus food outlets.
- Removal of bottled water for sale
7. Staff and student engagement
An institution’s transition towards environmental sustainability cannot be achieved without the engagement and support of the entire university community including students and staff at all levels. Whilst universities are directly responsible for many environmental impacts through their operations, the university community also contributes significantly to its overall footprint through its behaviour - for example, consumption of electricity or travel habits.
Universities that play an active role in encouraging and engaging students and staff in sustainable behaviour change will be able to make their transition to a low-carbon, lower-energy future much more smoothly, cheaply and quickly.
From the example they set to students to the phenomenal amount of waste glass they generate, Students’ Unions and Students’ Associations also have a huge environmental responsibility. In addition to some universities owning and managing Students’ Union properties, all universities can share expertise on environmental management with their student unions or associations, as well as providing resources (such as time or grants) for environmental initiatives by their staff and students. Whilst last year the Green League considered the sustainability of student unions and associations alone, this year points are also awarded for university-led initiatives to engage students and staff, both are absolutely essential. We have also moved points available last year in the Environmental Management Staff section to this section, in order to reward those institutions which have formal schemes to involve staff members in environmental management - for example departmental eco-rep schemes or Green Impact awards.
People & Planet also recognises the crucial importance of the curriculum in shaping both the behaviour of its students and the UK’s response to climate change. We will be introducing a distinct criteria on the integration of sustainability into the curriculum from next year onwards and increasing the weighting of points the following year. It is hoped this will give universities time to review the mainstreaming of sustainability into their core activities - ie. teaching and research.
Point allocation: (0-3 points)
0 points if doing none or only one of the below 1 point if doing 2-3 of the below 2 points if doing 4-6 the below. 3 points if doing 7 or more of the below
- Students’ Union or Students’ Association associated with the institution has achieved a Bronze standard, Silver standard or Gold Award in this year’s Sound Impact
- Environmental Awards (if not affiliated with NUS, evidence of similar environmental initiatives within union will be required).
- University supports an annual Go Green Week or Environment Week
- Staff engagement scheme - such as Green Impact or departmental eco-champions.
- Trade Union climate action groups or time off to participate in Union-linked sustainability initiatives.
- Interhalls energy saving competitions (eg. Student Switch Off)
- Interhalls recycling competitions
- Student representation on all university committees concerned with estates, planning, finance and resource allocation.
- Awareness-raising campaigns that reach all students and staff
- All staff inductions cover sustainability policy and issues
- The university makes use of student involvement (e.g. course work or volunteering) in sustainability projects.
- Availability of funds for student or staff-led sustainability projects
- Oversight and involvement of students and staff in development and monitoring of Carbon Management Plan.
- Provision of land for student / staff food-growing projects
The Green League 2009 increased the weighting for the improvement in an institution’s performance over the institution’s absolute performance figures. This was done to reward those institutions which demonstrated considerable improvement and clear determination to tackle their environmental impact. No institution has ever performed so well that it does not have room for improvement, however this approach did have the effect of reducing the overall points available to higher performing universities.
People & Planet respects and recognises the fact that environmental improvements will happen over different timescales (for example, a big improvement one year, followed by 3 years with less change). In light of this, the criteria below return the emphasis to measuring absolute performance rather than improvements. People & Planet feels it is important to celebrate improvements, even in those performing less well overall, and will continue to do this by highlighting key ‘movers’ within the Green League. However, we have taken on board feedback from our stakeholders and put more weighting on absolute performance in the Green League 2010.
8. Energy sources
Universities have a clear responsibility to rapidly reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases in order to help prevent further climatic destabilisation. Whilst improving energy efficiency is absolutely crucial, carbon reductions will not be achieved by energy conservation measures alone and it is therefore vital for universities to invest in renewable and decentralised energy.
Peak oil and energy security are also important considerations for any institution to integrate into their planning, policies and management. As finite resources dwindle on a planet with ever-growing global demand for energy, the domestic production of clean, renewable energy will be key factors in the HE sector’s sustainability and transition to a low-carbon future.
The Green League already awards points for the percentage of renewable energy purchased by universities, but for 2010 this has expanded to measure the percentage of renewable energy being produced on site by universities. We continue to recognise the importance of efficient energy usage by awarding 1 point for those universities with onsite Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants.
Point allocation: (6 points)
Percentage total energy from renewable energy sources subject to LECs (0 to 3 points depending on renewable energy compared to other institutions)
Institution has an onsite Combined Heat and Power Plant (CHP) (1 point)
Percentage of total energy generated on-site from Low and Zero-Carbon (LZC) technologies* (0-2 point compared to other institutions) * based on EMS definition D72d
By not recycling, universities are wasting money on landfill taxes as well as contributing to pollution and climate change. Institutions are ranked according to the proportion of total waste mass they recycle.
Recognising that reducing waste is environmentally superior to recycling waste, the Green League 2010 awards up to four points for waste mass per head compared to other institutions.
Point allocation: (8 points)
Percentage of waste an institution recycles (0 to 4 points depending on percentage of waste recycled compared to other institutions)
Waste mass* per head (0 to 4 points depending on percentage change compared to other institutions)
*based on EMS definition D73
10. Carbon emissions per head
As well as monitoring universities’ carbon management plans and targets the Green League also aims to track performance in actual emissions and recognise those universities whose ‘low-carbon transition pathway’ indicates they are delivering carbon reductions in line with the sector-wide cuts required (ie. 48% cuts by 2020 from a 2005 baseline). The allocation of points for this criteria is based on two different measurements of universities’ carbon emissions. People & Planet uses data from the Estates Management Statistics to measure the carbon dioxide emissions per head for each university, as well as the total emissions from the institution.
Carbon emissions per head is a measurement of, the total kg of CO2 equivalent emitted from energy use (oil, coal, gas, grid electricity, steam/hot water) divided by the population of the university. Population is calculated according to a ‘full time equivalent’ measurement, for both staff and students. For the institution’s total emissions, this is taken directly from EMS data for total energy emissions.
The criteria only quantifies direct emissions from energy, heating and electricity. It excludes significant other indirect emissions, for example from procurement, travel or flying. And it does not take account of varying circumstances on campus such as the age of buildings, more energy-intensive research, how many animals are kept on site or the extent of campus-provided accommodation. Alternative indicators such as CO2 per metre squared of building space or per pound spent are equally open to such criticism.
Points will be allocated according to how closely an individual university’s carbon reduction trajectory is to the linear trajectory that an institution would need to take to reduce emissions by 48% by 2020, from a 2005 baseline.
Point allocation: (8 points)
Institution’s carbon emissions per head (0 to 4 points depending on carbon emissions per head compared to other institutions)
Institutional carbon emissions reductions compared to sector-wide carbon reduction targets from 2005 baseline. (0 - 4 points)
11. Water Consumption
Each person in the UK currently uses about 150 litres of water every day. This has been rising by 1% each year since 1930. This is not a consumption level which is sustainable in the long-term. On current trends, over the next 20 years humans will use 40% more water than they do now.
Some universities are beginning to take steps to reduce their water consumption by, for example, installing grey water or rainwater systems. We applaud these initial efforts and encourage other institutions to follow suit.
Point allocation: (8 points)
Water consumption per head (0 to 4 points awarded depending on water consumption per head compared to other institutions)
Percentage total water from grey or rain water (0 to 4 points compared to other institutions)
Grade boundaries will be set after the scores are collated.
Which universities are assessed?
People & Planet will assess all 139 UK universities.
- For both the University of London and the University of Wales, we have taken the constituent colleges.
How has the information been collected?
Research for criteria 1-7
Information for criteria 1-7 will be gathered by the Green League 2010 questionnaire which is submitted to universities as a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act / Environmental Information Regulations. The responses to this questionnaire will be analysed by a team of student researchers.
Research for criteria 6
Fairtrade University accreditation information is supplied directly by the Fairtrade Foundation. The assessment of evidence of sustainable food procurement criteria met will be coordinated by Soil Association/Sustain working together with People & Planet. From next year, we intend to award points specifically for those institutions to have achieve the Soil Associations’ Food for Life accreditation which will be based on data provided by the Soil Association.
Research for criteria 8-11.
The remaining criteria relate to on-the-ground environmental performance outcomes. This information comes from the most recent Estate Management Statistics (EMS) available, obtained through a freedom of information request to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and collated and analysed by People & Planet.
A number of institutions have raised concerns about People & Planet’s use of EMS in the compilation of the Green League ranking, due to their outdated nature (statistics refer to the previous academic year) and concerns over the quality of reporting across the sector. Estates Management Statistics are the only statistics of their kind covering all UK universities and are coordinated by Hefce on behalf of the four UK funding bodies. Guidance to assist universities in reporting their data accurately is provided on the [EMS website](http:// www.opdems.ac.uk). EMS is also used by Hefce for the Capital Investment Framework and sample audits of EMS data will monitor accuracy. The scope of EMS data and the definitions are reviewed annually by a steering group drawn from the sector and including Directors of Estates and Finance. The management of EMS is currently transferring to the Higher Education Statistics Agency(HESA) who are undertaking a thorough review of data items and definitions.
As such, People & Planet has concluded that they remain the best source of data available upon which to base the performance-related indicators used in compiling the Green League. We are actively engaging with Hefce and HESA to improve the scope, accuracy of reporting and timing of EMS in relation to future People & Planet Green Leagues.
In cases where information is missing from the final EMS data for 2008-2009 which People & Planet uses to calculate its Green League ranking, we have taken the most recently available data (ie. from the previous year), rather than awarding 0 points. Whilst this may not necessarily reflect any increases or decreases in environmental performance in 2008-2009, we believe this to be the fairest approach available to us. In cases where information has not been submitted to Hefce for the 2008-2009 EMS and no data is available from the previous year, institutions will automatically receive 0 points for that category.