People & Planet Green League - Press Area
Green League media enquiries & press releases
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RECENT PRESS RELEASES
11 June 2013 - For immediate release
Manchester Metropolitan named UK’s greenest university 2013
Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) is named as the greenest university in the UK today (11 June) by the People & Planet Green League 2013 – the UK’s only comprehensive and independent ranking of universities by ethical and environmental criteria published by The Guardian.
Plymouth University took 2nd place for the second year running, with Bangor University named the most sustainable Welsh institution and Edinburgh Napier topping the Scotland ranking for the 3rd year running. Gloucestershire, Worcester and Brighton also all made it into the UK top 5.
MMU has jumped 9 places to take the top spot in 2013, with the highest score ever achieved (59.5 out of 70). Theirs is a story of steady progress and improvement in environmental and ethical performance since they failed the first Green League assessment 2007.
Professor John Brooks, Vice-Chancellor at Manchester Metropolitan University, said:
“The whole university community will be thrilled with this recognition from People & Planet. Sustainability has been the main driver for the £350 million rationalisation of our campuses as we can and must meet the imperatives of the present without compromising the needs of the future. At MMU, we firmly believe that a strong ethos of sustainability not only strengthens the University’s appeal to students but improves the experience in so many different ways. In partnership with our students, we are working to create a sustainable university which goes beyond being carbon neutral and actually has a positive environmental impact.”
Nationally, the results were excellent, demonstrating clearly the combined impact of student-led campaigns, sector-wide carbon reduction targets and the growing number of university Vice-Chancellors committed to tackling climate change. According to John Hindley, Manchester Met’s environmental manager, the People & PLanet Green League itself has had a major influence over their performance and that of the higher education sector in general.
“In effect, it’s a very large universal auditing exercise that levels the field for the whole of higher education. The Green League has had a great effect for the whole sector and despite being in effect compulsory, it’s exceptionally competitive. It’s also something that is hard to do well in, because it’s not just looking at what you have out there as policy but also challenges you to back that up with solid performance data.”
The results also show UK universities are doing more to improve graduate prospects by preparing them for the future low-carbon economy and increasing their focus on sustainability in the curriculum; 47% of universities gained full points for integrating sustainability into the curriculum, compared to 27% just two years ago. In response to higher student demand People & Planet also recorded a huge increase in initiatives to engage staff and students on sustainability issues.
However, it’s not all good news. Universities are still failing to make the connection between their own academics’ research on climate change and the partnerships and investments they have with the fossil fuel companies causing climate change.
Louise Hazan, who compiled this year’s People & Planet Green League, said:
“After a decade of student-led Go Green campaigning, the Higher Education sector has made excellent progress in areas ranging from carbon reduction to ethical procurement. For the first time ever, 100% of universities assessed now have an environmental policy. However, we’re seeing excruciatingly slow progress from too many universities in some criteria such as ethical investment given the urgency of the climate challenge. We’d encourage those who have failed this year’s Green League ‘exam’ to take a leaf out of Manchester Metropolitan’s book”
In May 2013, University of Oxford which failed this year’s Green League assessment, announced a £5.9 million partnership between their Earth Sciences department and Shell. The partnership will support research into new techniques for extracting even more fossil fuels despite climate scientists’ warnings that more than 80% of fossil fuels must stay in the ground. In response, students have launched a Fossil Free Oxford campaign as part of a wider movement to sever the links between their institutions and the fossil fuel industry.
Chris Garrard, a postgraduate student from Oxford University, commented:
“Oxford is a hub for student campaigning alongside research that is having a powerful influence on international development and the environment. The trouble is, this positive activity becomes rather tainted when the Vice-Chancellor and others at the top set a tone of profit before people, and deals before ethics. It sets a poor example to students and those in the outside world that respect and acknowledge Oxford’s reputation. Deals such as the one agreed with Shell, represent a conscious choice to invest in a more unjust and potentially unstable world that the current students will inherit. That’s enough to justify a fail.”
Notes to Editors
For further analysis or interviews, please contact Louise Hazan on 01865 264180 or email@example.com
- The People & Planet Green League is compiled annually by the UK’s largest student campaigning network, People & Planet. http://peopleandplanet.org/greenleague. In 2013, the People & Planet Green League ranks 143 UK universities – awarding them a First, 2:1, 2:2, Third, or Fail – according to 13 criteria including: environmental policy, carbon management and their performance in areas such as carbon reduction, waste recycling, student engagement, green curriculum, energy efficiency, transport emissions, sustainable food, ethical procurement and water consumption. The ranking combines data obtained directly from universities through the Freedom of Information Act with raw estates data obtained from the Higher Education Statistics Agency. Find out more: http://peopleandplanet.org/greenleague/methodology
- Over the last three years, the Higher Education Academy and NUS have conducted surveys of c11,000 first-year students showing rising student demand for various aspects of sustainability. The latest survey showed that 85% think “Sustainable development is something that universities should actively incorporate and promote”
24 January 2013
EcoCampus & NQA announced as sponsors of 2013 Green League
People & Planet is pleased to announce that the 7th annual People & Planet Green League - the only ranking of all UK universities by environmental and ethical performance - will be jointly sponsored by EcoCampus and NQA in 2013.
Commenting on their reasons for sponsoring the league table,Sara Macey from EcoCampus said:
“EcoCampus and NQA are proud to support the People & Planet Green League 2013, and work in partnership to encourage further improvement in sustainability within the higher education sector. We felt that the ambitions of the Green League 2013 aligned strongly with our own.”
People & Planet’s Green League Manager, Louise Hazan, said:
“I’m delighted to be announcing this partnership with EcoCampus & NQA today. Over the years, we’ve seen more and more of the universities participating in EcoCampus make it into the First Class of the People & Planet Green League, indeed 5 of our Top 10 ranked universities last year were active EcoCampus participants. The scheme aligns closely with our own belief that UK universities must put in place strong policies, actions plan, staff capacity and resources to manage all their climate change impacts effectively.”
EcoCampus was initially started in 2006 with 10 pilot institutions, and has since gone on to attract around 30% of the higher education sector. The scheme offers a flexible phased approach to implementing an environmental management system, with universities gaining recognition at each stage of the process through a series of awards (bronze, silver, gold and platinum). The platinum award conforms with the requirements of the international standard ISO 14001.
About the sponsors
EcoCampus is the leading Environmental Management System and Award Scheme for UK Further and Higher Education sectors. EcoCampus enables institutions to systematically identify, evaluate, manage and continually improve their sustainability and environmental performance.
NQA provides independent rigour to the EcoCampus assessment process and third-party verification of the Scheme. NQA has been providing accredited certification for 25 years and is a leading certification body for energy, environmental and sustainability standards.
2012 PRESS RELEASES
28 May 2012
Green universities set benchmark for low-carbon future
- Green League 2012 research shows 4% carbon reduction and rapid integration of sustainability into curricula across the sector.
- Greenest universities are saving money & improving their graduates’ prospects.
- Progress contrasts with government inaction and lack of vision.
Full results of People & Planet’s Green League 2013 will be published from 10:00am on Tuesday 28 May (TBC)
Press for the 2012 Green League:
The People & Planet Green League 2012(1) – the UK’s only comprehensive and independent green ranking of universities - published today (29 May) reveals the ‘greenest universities ever’ with a large proportion making significant improvements in environmental performance.
Carbon emissions from 145 universities included in the league table have fallen 4% in the space of just a year and 93% of universities now have formal targets to reduce their carbon emissions(2). The University of Greenwich, which tops this year’s league table for the first time, has reduced its carbon footprint by an impressive 22% since 2005. Investing heavily in carbon reduction projects has also helped the university to achieve huge financial savings(3).
The Green League also reveals how UK universities are doing more to improve graduate prospects and prepare them for a low-carbon future, by responding to growing student demands for sustainability issues to be included in all curricula(4). The results show double the number of universities integrating sustainability into their Teaching & Learning Strategies since 2011(5).
Louise Hazan, lead researcher on People & Planet’s Green League 2012, said:
“Despite intense pressures on university budgets, this year’s results show how universities are increasingly aware that going green both helps save money and enhance the quality of education they can offer their students.
“2012’s top ranking green universities have set a new benchmark for sustainability, shifting away from ‘business as usual’ to help deliver a skilled low carbon economy for the future”
“Now is the time for stronger leadership from Government - to help build upon the Higher Education sector’s commendable efforts so far, and encourage other industries to follow in the same footsteps and turn over a new green leaf too.”
Nationally, the People & Planet Green League results show major improvements in all 13 criteria used to rank universities and measure their transition to a fair & sustainable future – including:
- Sector-wide carbon emissions down 4% on last year
- Double the number of universities integrating sustainability across their curricula
- 86% rise in universities employing at least 1 sustainability staff member
- On average universities are sourcing 72% of their electricity from renewables compared to 63% last year
First time winner University of Greenwich pipped previous winners Nottingham Trent, Gloucestershire and Plymouth to the post, and was joined in the top 5 by new entrant University of Brighton (up 18 places).
Neil Garrod, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Resources), at the University of Greenwich, said:
“Our position in the Green League is truly an institution–wide achievement in which all our staff and students can take justifiable pride. It became clear to our team that investing now in becoming a sustainable university would yield much more in the future.”
“We have already achieved a 22% reduction in carbon emissions since 2005 and aim to reduce them by 30% by 2016 and 40% over the next 10 years. Waste recycling rates have increased from 43% overall to 55% as an average across all three campuses; £15,000 that would have been spent on new furniture was saved in one year due to the reuse of resources. And in 2012/13 the university plans to invest £1.45 million on carbon reduction projects, with a payback of over £1.5 million over their life.”
The Green League ranking, which is compiled by student campaign network People & Planet(6), reveals the environmental and ethical performance of 145 universities, awarding First Class ‘degrees’ to the greenest and Fail to those doing the least to address their impacts. 46 institutions were ranked as First Class this year, 10 more than last year despite a higher points threshold.
Several Russell Group universities have also improved their green performance this year, with 5 scoring a First Class degree in 2012 compared to only 1 last year. Deputy Vice-Chancellor at University of Bristol, David Clarke, said:
“Research intensive Universities can face some of the toughest challenges in reducing their impact on the environment and improving their sustainability due to their varied and often historic estates. These challenges do lead to quite creative approaches and Bristol achieving a First in the Green League is testament to the creativity and tenacity of our staff and students.”
Notes to Editor
For further analysis, interviews or publication rights to the full People & Planet Green League 2012 table, please contact Louise Hazan on 01865 264180 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- The People & Planet Green League 2012 ranks 145 UK universities – awarding them a First, 2:1, 2:2, Third, or Fail – according to environmental policy, management and actual performance in areas such as carbon reduction, waste recycling, student engagement, green curriculum, energy efficiency, transport emissions, sustainable food, ethical procurement and water consumption. See full methodology The ranking combines data obtained directly from universities through the Freedom of Information Act with Estates Management Statistics data obtained from the Higher Education Statistic Agency. The full results are published on 29 May in partnership with The Guardian and are available in full to other publications from 10:00hrs on 29 May. The results can be viewed at: http://peopleandplanet.org/greenleague
- 2012 results show that institutions included in the People & Planet Green League in both 2011 and 2012 reduced emissions by 102071 tonnes of CO2e, or an average reduction of 4.03% on 2011 levels. This is based on Estates Management Statistics data from direct energy use applying the correct Defra conversion factors for each given year.
- In 2011, the University of Greenwich investment of £500,000 in carbon reduction projects has led to savings of over £200,000 in the first year (with a total value to the university of over £1.5million over the life of the projects). They also represent a carbon saving of over 1200 tonnes of CO2. See p22 of their Carbon Management Plan
- A study by National Union of Students and Higher Education Academy to be published May 2012 reveals that almost 70% of 4000 First and Second years questioned either ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ with the statement: “To what extent, if at all, do you agree that universities should be obliged to develop students’ social and environmental skills as part of their courses?” Source: contact email@example.com for further details of this study.
- In 2011, the People & Planet Green League revealed that only 24 universities had an explicit commitment to integrating sustainability into the curriculum within their approved Teaching and Learning Strategies. In 2012, this has risen by 96% to 47 universities, which means just under a third of the sector now have this formal commitment in place.
- People & Planet is Britain’s largest student network campaigning to end world poverty, defend human rights and protect the environment. We’re a student-led movement that empowers young people with the skills, confidence and knowledge they need to make change happen, at home and globally.