Next People & Planet University League Nov 2016
How sustainable is your university?
People & Planet’s University League is the only comprehensive and independent league table of UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance. It is compiled annually by the UK’s largest student campaigning network, People & Planet.
Are you a key contact at a UK University? People & Planet encourage universities to provide us with key contacts for staff involved or responsible for the completion of their League survey. Please let us know.
Which universities are ranked?
Every UK university that receives public authority funding combined with being legally registered as a ‘Higher Education Institution’ is assessed and ranked.
How are universities assessed?
Since 2007, People & Planet have been scoring universities using a set of criteria that investigates their environmental and ethical commitments and actions. Each criteria section adds up to 100% - a bit like a university exam. We refer to this as ‘the methodology’.
Over half the criteria is scored using data collected and made public by the Higher Education Statistics Agency or other public verified data sources (you can find out which by looking at the methodology as we publish the whole thing to be as transparent as possible). The rest is scored based on information made public by the university itself. Universities that do not make their environmental information public online aren’t likely to score very highly - if we can’t find the info, the uni will score zero.
Is the methodology published?
Yes, each year People & Planet publish the full methodology on this website, complete with available scores and weighting of scores.
What questions are in the methodology?
We ask questions covering 13 sustainability topics; including carbon reduction, student and staff engagement, sustainable food, workers rights, ethical investment and education for sustainability.
The full methodology is published on this website. Please use the tabs on the left hand side of the Methodology web pages to navigate each section.
Are those questions the same every year?
Most of the methodology looks the same from year to year, however, the questions are reviewed and developed over time to respond to changes in policy, environmental science, HE sector requirements and the evolution of norms and legislation around human rights and other social justice issues.
The set of questions we started out with in 2007 wouldn’t stay current for long if we didn’t continue to research the context of sustainable development and keep up to date with the learnings and understanding of what students and universities need to be doing to tackle fast moving environmental and global social justice problems.
Who writes the methodology?
People & Planet put together the methodology with advice and support from leading organisations working on environmental and social justice issues. Expert university staff and professionals working to improve sustainability in Higher Education take part in consultation focus groups and help develop the criteria from year to year.
The People & Planet University League is developed organically in consultation with our student members and very much reflects what students mean by sustainability.
How does this all take place?
Currently, up to 50% of all questions are assessed using data taken from the Estates Management Statistics, published every Spring by HESA. The 2016 data set was published on 12th May and People & Planet have already begun marking universities using this data.
The remaining methodology assesses information that is made publicly available on the university website. Universities can support the assessment by hosting vital documents - such as carbon management plans - online, which allow for the information to be checked and audited.
Universities will be told when their websites will be assessed, giving them time to make updates. A team of People & Planet staff and trained volunteers evaluate every university and allocate scores for each question depending on the evidence that is publicly available for each university. This year the marking commences on Thursday 11th August 2016.
In previous years, the university would be failed if they did not update their answers to the survey questions. For 2016, if a university hasn’t made their information public, it will be marked as missing data, markers may spend up to 3 hours researching available information from the university website or other publicly available sources.
The university scorecards are marked twice to maintain rigour and consistency and universities are given the opportunity to review their scores and appeal against any marking decisions if they believe an error has been made - we call this the “appeals phase”. People & Planet review every appeal and make case by case decision on each appeal.
Finally, the scores are added together and each university is ranked in the order of their total percentage score. The highest scoring university is ranked top of the People & Planet University League!