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Latest Press Release
EMBARGO: 13:00pm Tuesday 7 June 2011
Nottingham Trent named UK’s greenest university
- People & Planet People & Planet University League reveals major sustainability improvements in nearly all indicators, putting the sector on track for transition to low-carbon future.
- Carbon emissions still rising for some & majority of universities will miss government climate targets
- New free iPhone app allows students to select greenest universities
Full results of People & Planet’s People & Planet University League 2011 are available online from 13:00hrs on Tuesday 7 June at: http://peopleandplanet.org/greenleague
The People & Planet People & Planet University League 2011(1) unveiled today (7 June) by the UK’s leading student campaign network(2) reveals the environmental and ethical performance of 142 universities, awarding First Class ‘degrees’ to the best and Fail to those doing the least to address their impacts.
Nottingham Trent University takes the top spot this year for a second time (3), with strong scores for its environmental & carbon management policies as well as renewable energy and excellent recycling rates. The top 5 also includes the universities of Gloucestershire, Worcester, Plymouth, Bournemouth and Greenwich (the latter two are tied in 5th place).
Professor Neil Gorman, Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, said:
“We take our responsibility for reducing our environmental impact very seriously, and our position at the top of the People & Planet People & Planet University League shows that. I’m very proud of all the hard work and commitment from our staff and students that has helped towards this achievement and we will do all that we can to maintain our reputation as the most environmentally friendly and ethical university in the UK.”
The results show major improvements in 12 out of the 13 criteria used to rank universities and measure their transition to a fair & sustainable future – including:
- 8.3% increase in universities generating their own renewable energy on-site
- 57% of sector has put in place strong Carbon Management plans and climate targets
- 10% increase in energy-saving & recycling initiatives for students in halls of residence
- 10% increase in universities publishing Sustainable Food policies#
- 20% increase in universities employing at least one Sustainability Manager
- 68% of universities have now achieved Fairtrade status
However, the People & Planet University League also reveals that the sector’s carbon emissions have risen by 3.9% since 2005 and that 63% of universities are not yet on track to meet government carbon reduction targets of 34% cuts by 2020(4).
Russell Group institutions in particular have increased their climate emissions more than the sector average and none made it into the Top 20. The top of the league table is dominated by less research-intensive institutions and smaller teaching institutions who appear to be taking up the challenge of creating sustainability-savvy graduates more seriously.
Louise Hazan, who compiled People & Planet’s People & Planet University League 2011, said:
“This year’s results show the sector is making a clear transition towards low-carbon, sustainable operations and responding to increasing student demand for greener universities that offer value for money. However, despite clear progress in the last year on issues such as carbon management planning and student engagement, the fact that carbon emissions are still rising should sound alarm bells for Vice-Chancellors and the Government alike”.
As well as environmental impacts, the People & Planet People & Planet University League assessed how well universities are integrating sustainability in their core teaching and research activities with a new Curriculum criteria.
Robin Parker, President-elect of NUS Scotland, commented:
“More and more, students are seeking an education which equips them with the skills and knowledge to deal with the global challenges that their generation will face - challenges like climate change and global inequality. Given the current funding situation, it would be easy for institutions to see the sustainability agenda as a luxury – in fact, it is more important than ever.”
With environmental issues playing an important part in students’ choice of university(5), a new free interactive iPhone app launched alongside the People & Planet People & Planet University League 2011 allows students (and staff) to easily compare universities green credentials - from performance to curriculum. The application will be available to download from iTunes store from 7th June.
Finally, the People & Planet People & Planet University League 2011 also assessed universities’ commitment to ethical procurement. University of Sheffield is the first UK university to affiliate officially to the Worker Rights Consortium – an independent watchdog monitoring worker’s rights abuses in university supply chains.
Susan Nash, Vice-President Citizenship & Society, National Union of Students, said:
“With hikes in tuition fees next year and students wanting the best value for money, being green has never been more important for universities who are now competing for students. People & Planet’s launch of the People & Planet University League 2011 iPhone app makes it quick and simple for students to consider their Universities commitment to the environment when choosing their university.”
Notes to Editor
For further analysis, interviews or publication rights to the full People & Planet People & Planet University League 2011 table, please contact Louise Hazan on 01865 245678 or firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) The People & Planet People & Planet University League 2011 ranks 142 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, energy efficiency, transport emissions, sustainable food, ethical procurement and water consumption. See full methodology
It 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 table is published on 7 June in partnership with The Guardian and is available in full to other publications from 8 June. The results can be viewed at: http://peopleandplanet.org/greenleague
(2) People & Planet is the largest UK student network campaigning to end world poverty, defend human rights and protect the environment. Find out more The People & Planet People & Planet University League is produced as part of the Going Greener campaign which aims to transform the environmental performance of the UK education sector. Inspired by the Transition Towns movement, the campaign brings together staff and students to create transition universities by developing and implementing their own projects in response to climate change and energy security. Find out more about Transition Universities
(3) Nottingham Trent University also came top of the People & Planet People & Planet University League in 2009
(4) Current sector-wide targets, which apply only to English universities, are 34% or 43% by 2020 from 1990 or 2005 baselines respectively. Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish universities are expecting similar and possibly even tougher sector-wide targets to be finalised and applied soon.
(5) A 2009 study by the HEA and NUS found that over a third of students consider the environment to be either a ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’ factor in their choice of university.
Recent Press Releases
Which university is the greenest of them all?
16 May 2011
Who will take the top spot in this year’s People & Planet People & Planet University League table? Full results will be released on Tuesday 7 June 2011 at 1pm. The award-winning People & Planet People & Planet University League is the only ranking of all UK universities by environmental and ethical performance. This year’s league table results will reveal which of the UK’s 143 universities has the biggest carbon footprint and most ambitious plans to reduce it, the curriculum most likely to produce graduates suited to a fast-changing world, the best recycling rates, water reduction and sustainable food on-site and much more.
First Nations protest tar sands investment at Royal Bank of Scotland AGM
18 April 2011
New research shows that, since public bailout in 2008, RBS has raised more than £5.6 billion for companies involved in controversial Canadian tar sands projects, £2.2 billion of which was in the last twelve months. Canadian First Nations representatives to voice opposition in person at RBS AGM
Students protest university involvement in sweatshops
26 November 2010 Students across the UK, the USA and Europe are starting a new wave of direct action, this time directed against their universities’ complicity in labour abuses. The International Week of Action, 22 – 28 November, was called by charities People & Planet and War on Want. Students took action in a number of imaginative ways: Oxford demonstrated that they’d rather go naked than wear sweatshop-produced clothes, Sussex launched an anti-sweatshop campaign on their campus, the University of East Anglia used street theatre to ‘bring the sweatshop to the campus’. They are all calling for their universities to sign up to a labour rights monitoring organisation set up by students called the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC)
Government fails all students on green schools
19 Aug 2010 On the day A-level results are released People & Planet, the UK’s largest student campaigning network, is calling on the Government not to jeopardise green education for students across the country. Having controversially cut the schools rebuilding programme and recently cut a scheme to create 5000 green work experience placements, the Education Secretary’s department now looks set to drop a coordinated approach to creating sustainable schools.
Transition universities top People & Planet University League 2010, but “progress from most far too slow”
People & Planet’s People & Planet University League 2010 is unveiled today by the UK’s leading student campaign network. The People & Planet University League is the only league table ranking all UK universities by environmental performance. The University of Plymouth takes top spot this year, with strong scores in both the environmental policy and performance sections. Also in the top 5 are the universities of Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Central Lancashire, Aston and Nottingham Trent.
For the first time ever, the People & Planet University League 2010 compared the scope and ambition of universities’ carbon reduction plans against sector-wide climate targets introduced earlier this year by HEFCE, Universities UK and GuildHE. Whilst some universities are on track to cut emissions by 34% over the next 10 years, the majority (107 universities) have short-term targets equivalent to less than 3.5% annual cuts. This shows a severe lack of ambition and urgency across the majority of the sector, despite the fact that capital funding will soon be linked to emissions cuts.
Naked students say no to sweatshops
9 March 2010 People & Planet groups across the country, and allied student groups in the USA and Canada protest against sweatshops in university supply chains. They say ‘we’d rather go naked than wear sweatshop clothes’. They call for universities to Buy Right and join the Worker Rights Consortium, a labour rights monitoring organisation set up by students.
Tescos commits to doubling supply of Fairtrade cotton school uniforms
11 January 2010 People & Planet’s Wear Fair campaign sweeps across the country, persuading schools and colleges to switch to Fairtrade cotton uniforms and sportswear. After lobbying from People & Planet the supermarket giant Tescos agreed to double its supply and introduce several new lines of Fairtrade cotton school uniforms.
Government faces environmental legal challenge over RBS
30 June 2009 The World Development Movement, PLATFORM and People & Planet have today launched legal action against the Treasury for allowing public money, poured into the Royal Bank of Scotland to be invested in energy companies, and projects linked to climate change and human rights violations.
Since RBS was bailed out in October 2008, it has contributed to loans worth an estimated £10 billion in coal, oil and gas companies. Coal is the biggest source of carbon emissions globally, which contributes to dangerous climate change. The campaigners believe that by investing in RBS, the Treasury is in direct conflict with the government’s legislation and policies to reduce carbon emissions and prevent dangerous climate change.
18 June 2009 The People & Planet University League 2009 was published in the Times Higher Education on Thursday 18 June 2009. The full results table, data and analysis here: About People & Planet University League | Results | Press
16 April 2009 Whilst increasingly aggressive forms of policing are being deployed to prevent citizens from demanding that action is taken now to prevent catastrophic climate change, People & Planet demonstrate that young people’s peaceful protest is vital to tackling the global problem.
31 March 2009 Calling on RBS to clean up it’s toxic assets and quit investing in fossil fuels, protesters will be converging in Edinburgh and London
3 July 2008 Today People & Planet’s People & Planet University League 2008 was published. It shows a remarkable improvement in environmental management and performance in the UK’s Higher Education sector over the past year.
24 June 2008 People & Planet’s People & Planet University League 2008 is going to be published Thursday, 3 July.
23 April 2008 At a mock trial preceding the Royal Bank of Scotland’s AGM today, the bank was found guilty of environmental and climate crimes by students and given a suspended sentence to clean up its investments by 2009 or face a boycott.
1 April 2008 People & Planet take part in Fossil Fools Day, protest in Parliament Square, over the governments plans to new coal power plans.
25 February 2008. Topshop is facing increasing criticism from its core customers, with students and young people protesting over sweatshop conditions in the company’s supply chain.
21 February 2008. To mark Go Green Week, the UK’s first national student week of action climate change, People & Planet launch the Green Education Declaration.
Oxford University People & Planet. 6 February 2008. Topshop’s last minute pullout from a debate on Fairtrade, in response to student campaign.
1 February 2008. People & Planet and social events organiser UK AWARE have launched a brand new nationwide student award for environmentally friendly design.
6 December 2007. Action in 16 cities across the UK to expose the impact of Topshop’s business practices on wages and labour standards for workers in the fashion industry.
8 November 2007. The award was given for The People & Planet University League 2007, which ranked UK universities by environmental performance.