Date of release: Monday, May 28, 2012

A2256-green-league-2012The University of Greenwich is the greenest university in the UK, according to this year's People & Planet Green League table, published today.

The university was praised for having "one of the most comprehensive and ambitious environmental policies" ever seen by the People & Planet judges.

Greenwich has already achieved a 22% reduction in carbon emissions since 2005 and its carbon management plan sets out how it will reduce carbon emission from energy use by 40% over the next 10 years (against 2009/10 baseline). The university has committed to investing £6 million on carbon reduction projects by 2016 with a payback of seven years.

Greenwich was praised for its work in raising awareness of sustainability issues among staff and students. Its Sustainable Food Policy was highlighted as being "an example for the sector". Greenwich has reached top spot after being placed fifth in 2011 and 61st in 2010.

Kat Thorne, Head of Sustainability, says: "People are key to making change and raising awareness. Giving staff and students the skills and the knowledge to be more environmentally aware is an important part of what we do at Greenwich. Our 50 staff sustainability champions, representing all Schools and Offices, have worked tirelessly to make a difference in their department, be that through auditing energy use or sustainability in the curriculum, or convincing their colleagues to print double sided.

"Universities have a key role to play in supporting and leading the change towards a sustainable future. Notable achievements that have helped move us to first place in the last year include achieving one of the most stringent environmental management system standards, ISO14001, across our estate. We have also embedded sustainability into the curriculum and and our electricity comes from renewable sources. However, we are only part way through delivering our commitment to long term change.

"Networks and partnerships are important and the London Universities Environmental Group has been a great way to share knowledge and best practice. A recent partnership has seen us team up with Leafield Environmental to design a new recycling bin as we couldn’t find one that suited our needs. These bins are unique to the UK with a 70:30 split in favour of recycling. They will first be installed at the Avery Hill Campus in June, before more are placed at the Greenwich and Medway Campuses."

Neil Garrod, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Resources), says: "This is wonderful news and a well–deserved result for a wonderful team. Not just those working in Sustainability who have worked tirelessly and imaginatively in leading the charge, but for all the staff and students who have contributed in multiple ways to the university's sustainability aspirations.

"We could never have come so far so quickly without the involvement and commitment of the whole university community. This is truly an institution–wide achievement in which each individual member of staff and student can take justifiable pride. It might sound a little cheesy but this result truly underscores the success that can flow from people power!"

Picture: Kat Thorne, Head of Sustainability at the University of Greenwich.

Story by Public Relations