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Top Honours for University’s Environmental Efforts

Published: Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 12, 2013
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The University of Bristol’s efforts to be environmentally friendly and ethical are first class, according to a new league table.

Bristol was awarded a First Class Award and placed 23 out of 143 universities in the People & Planet Green League 2013 – the UK's only comprehensive and independent green ranking of universities, which was unveiled in The Guardian.

The award marks an improvement from the previous year, with Bristol rising from 36th to 23rd.

People & Planet – a student-led network which campaigns to protect the environment – awarded universities with 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.

Bristol University’s growing success is credited to the ‘creativity and tenacity’ of its staff and students, who continue to implement new initiatives to improve sustainability. It again scored maximum points for its sustainability policy, staffing levels, auditing, ethical procurement, sustainable food, staff and student engagement and sustainability and the curriculum. It also scored highly in carbon waste management.

Among the measures which have helped Bristol achieve a First Class Award are:

•    Implementing energy saving projects to save 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
•    Spending £2million on low energy LED lighting across the University.
•    Building and refurbishing eight buildings to the BREEAM Excellent Standard, which includes four ‘green roofs’ and 250kW of Photovoltaic (PV) panels.
•    A 13 per cent reduction in water use, including the first use of rainwater recovery at the University.
•    Recycling 75 tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment, 16 tonnes of cardboard and two tonnes of polystyrene.
•    Development of the Green Impact Awards which now run at over 50 other universities.
•    Bristol is one of only a few universities to achieve a full institution certification to the international environmental standard ISO14001, which covers both operational activities and what’s taught as part of the curriculum.

Martin Wiles, Head of Sustainability at the University of Bristol, said: “It’s really encouraging to see our hard work result in a First Class Award again. Having so many historic buildings and being a research-intensive university presents some tough challenges, which mean we have to work especially hard to reduce our impact on the environment and improve our sustainability.”

Manchester Metropolitan University was named the greenest university in the country, with Plymouth University retaining second place and the University of Gloucestershire moving up into third.

Louise Hazan, who compiled the 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 per cent 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.”

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