UK universities embracing environmental management

Universities across the land are recognising the importance of good environmental management, with an increasing number employing full time professionals to ensure they reduce their impact over time.

Student campaign organisation People & Planet has published a league table of British universities, awarding each a first, 2:1, 2:2 or third based on their performance against nine environmental criteria.

West Country universities fared well when compared to their peers, with Gloucestershire, Plymouth and Bristol’s University of the West of England taking the top three honours.

This is the second year that the organisation has published its list, and there has been a marked improvement over the past twelve months.

18 universities have created full time posts for environmental officers or managers over the past year while 25 have increased the proportion of renewable energy they use.

Almost all universities (97%) now have publicly available environmental policies while 86 universities reduced their reported carbon emissions from energy consumption over the last year

A handful of trailblazing universities – 12 in all – picked up full marks for regularly reviewing policy with specific time-bound targets in all nine areas of environmental management assessed for the league table.

The research was funded by WWF-UK.

The charity’s director of campaigns, David Norman, said: “The dramatic improvements in the league after only one year should be celebrated.

“With many UK universities leading the research on the environmental threats facing our planet, it’s common sense that they also lead in environmental performance.

“These advances are a welcome response to the urgency of tackling the threats to people and nature.”

According to People and Planet, the change in the sector has been driven by thousands of students who have been campaigning for greener campuses and making academic authorities aware that their environmental performance will affect their choice of university.

Sam Bond

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