1. Environmental Policy
Key changes for 2013
The total points available in this section has been reduced by 2 points, allowing for changes in weighting elsewhere. This was agreed at the Stakeholder Consultation day in consideration of the fact that 98% of institutions now meet criteria 1a and 93% meet criteria 1b.
- Reduction in weighting for 1a) from 1 point to 0.5 points.
- Reduction in weighting for 1b) from 2 points to 0.5 point
Why measure this?
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, backed up by senior management and with adequate resources. Last year’s People & Planet Green League revealed that 98% of institutions now have some form of environmental policy but these 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 and the People & Planet Green League awards points for those with strong environmental policies and associated actions plans. Universities should have policies and action plans which set specific and time-bound targets or performance indicators covering all major aspects of environmental management. Simply complying with environmental legislation is deemed insufficient. Universities are only awarded maximum points in this section if their policy or related action plans set targets for improvements in all eight key areas of environmental management.
How are points allocated?
Total: 3 points
The institution has a publicly available environmental policy published in the last five years. 0.5 Points
The institution reports on the environmental policy annually at a senior level of university administration. 0.5 Points
The institution sets targets to reduce environmental impact in ALL of the following areas. 2 Points
- Construction & Refurbishment
- Emissions & Discharges
- Community involvement
- Waste management
- Sustainable Procurement
How is this criteria assessed?
1a) Does your institution have a publicly available environmental policy?
- Complying with environmental legislation is insufficient.
- No points awarded if policy is draft version.
- No points if policy is not publicly available – ie. weblink provided.
- No points if not signed off at senior level.
- Provide a weblink to the policy.
1b) Has the environmental policy been reported on since 1 April 2012?
- Points can be awarded even if a university has a draft policy as long as they have a clearly laid out future reporting structure.
- Points only awarded if policy is reviewed annually.
- No points if evidence not provided.
- No points if the policy was not directly reported on or was not directly referred to in the attached evidence. Where minutes were provided only detailing discussion of general sustainability matters points were not awarded.
- Statement from responsible party about the reporting structure in place, including the staff member (job title) or committee to which the report was made or will be made if policy less than a year old.
- Attach evidence of reporting (eg. a published report, committee meeting minutes).
1 c) Does the policy and / or accompanying action plans or separate policies cover the following areas, setting specific, time bound targets for reducing environmental impact?
(Waste management, Transport, Sustainable Procurement, Water, Construction & Refurbishment, Emissions & Discharges, Community Involvement, Biodiversity)
- No points if specific and timebound targets not set in ALL 8 impact areas.
- No points for draft environmental policies or action plans.
- No points are awarded if policy or action plans don’t currently exist. We do not count creation of a policy as a timebound target.
- No points if policy or action plans do not include time bound targets or actions/activities (eg. reduce x impact by x% by specific date). Targets/action plans must be current.
Further detail on point allocation for each key impact area:
- Water, waste, transport: must include specific, quantifiable, time-bound targets to reduce impacts (eg. reduce impacts from x form of transport by x% by 20xx, and/or increase no. of passengers using y form of transport by z by 20xx). Carbon reduction targets which relate specifically to waste, water or transport are acceptable if clearly highlighted in evidence.
- Biodiversity: must identify specific time-bound actions to improve biodiversity or reduce negative environmental impacts (eg. increase x species by xx/build green roof by 20xx).
- Sustainable Procurement: must cover general purchasing and not a single entity (eg. paper). It must show clear evidence that there are action plans to reduce environmental impacts of procurement – although we are more lenient on these being time-bound or not. We are also looking for specific evidence of a whole-life costing approach to procurement. Points can be awarded for working towards a specific level of the Sustainable Procurement Assessment Framework (Wales) or Flexible Framework by a specified date.
- Construction and refurbishment: setting numerical targets is not essential –eg. a target for ALL new buildings to reach a certain BREEAM standard is acceptable. However, we still require time-bound targets to be in evidence. Must apply to the wider institution rather than one specific building or project.
- Community Involvement: setting numerical targets is not essential in this area but we do expect to see evidence of specific, time-bound action points or targets for engagement of local community and/or students and staff. These must refer specifically to involvement in environmental issues or the management of sustainability impacts.
- Emissions & Discharges: Refers to toxic, chemical or hazardous emissions to air and water, not simply carbon emissions. We can accept evidence showing that an audit concluded that this area is not appropriate for setting targets. Points will not be awarded if you simply state that emissions and discharges targets are not applicable without further explanation.
- Environmental policy and/or accompanying action plans/policies for each impact area.
- You MUST SPECIFY the relevant section, page or tab of the environmental policy and of any additional policy or action plan documents linked to or uploaded.