UNEP targets British universities to develop future stars of sustainability

Universities and colleges across the UK have signed an agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to encourage sustainable innovation among future generations.

The Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges represents more than 230 higher education institutions across the UK

The Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges represents more than 230 higher education institutions across the UK

The partnership will bring together members of the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) and the UNEP's Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) network as part of a three-year agreement.

The network will work on improving environmental education, training and networking to increase sharing of ideas and an understanding of what sustainability means across the globe.

Green Gowns

The EAUC, which has a membership of more than 230 UK universities and colleges, will be working with UNEP and GUPES to encourage universities and colleges throughout the world to measure their sustainability performance and improve how universities and colleges measure, monitor and improve their sustainability. 

EAUC chief executive Iain Patton said: "Our member UK universities and colleges have to take the lead on a global scale to ensure our students have the skills and knowledge to ensure a social, economic and environmentally responsible future for us all. We are excited to be putting our members on the map and working together with UNEP to bring this change."

The agreement will also put the EAUC's Green Gown Awards on a global scale. The awards recognise British universities sustainability initiatives, covering all aspects of educational institutions. The partnership with UNEP will expand the Green Gown Awards further across the globe with an emphasis on profiling and fact sharing with the Southern Hemisphere.

Future leaders

UNEP's head of environmental education and training Mahesh Pradhan added: "This partnership with EAUC complements current efforts of the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability, whereby new opportunities for exchange of sustainability knowledge, experiences and networking are created."

Last month, edie heard from Nespresso's head of sustainability Jérôme Perez, who explained that there is a need to ensure current and future university students understand the importance of sustainability for the future success of business.

"We must educate the leaders of tomorrow to ensure sustainability is embedded in the business community," said Perez. "For a business to be truly sustainable, it is vital for future leaders to engage with these issues to ensure sustainability is at the heart of the way businesses think and perform.

"Educating future leaders will go a long way to help implement sustainable practice across business and as such, it is incredibly important business education programmes teach students both academic theories and practical applications for sustainability in business."

Matt Field


| colleges | education | Innovation | students | training | united nations | universities


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