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written by Joseph Farthing on June 10, 2010
People & Planet’s Green League 2010 was unveiled today. The award-winning Green League is the only league table ranking all UK universities by environmental performance based on 11 environmental policy and performance-related criteria including carbon emissions per head of waste recycled.
Amongst Scottish Universities, the University of Edinburgh takes the top spot this year, thanks to continued excellence in Policy and Management, and outstanding and innovative work in Staff and Student Engagement. The University of Edinburgh is the UK’s first Transition University, an initiative which works to reduce the personal emissions of students and staff. The project is funded by the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund, and is now spreading to other Scottish Universities, including the Universities of Aberdeen and St. Andrews.
Glasgow Caledonian University came second in Scotland, climbing 79 places in the UK league, closely followed by Edinburgh Napier University and the University of St. Andrews, who also showed improvement on last years’ results.
Most Scottish Universities in the league are signatories of the Universities and Colleges Climate Commitment for Scotland. Signatories are committed to producing and publishing a 5-year Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) which will include measurable targets and timescales to achieve a significant reduction in emissions from all business operations and activities.
The Green League 2010 also reveals that, alongside strong leadership and carbon management plans, staff and student engagement is one of the most crucial and cost-effective ways to improve environmental performance. Staff and student engagement was measured comprehensively for the first time this year as well as new criteria measuring sustainable food procurement. Encouragingly, People & Planet’s survey revealed that student engagement was felt to be less of a barrier to improvements than the lack of funding, staff capacity or the age of buildings.
University of Edinburgh Vice-Principal Professor Mary Bownes said:
“As a university we have invested heavily in energy efficiency projects – and will continue to do so; but we seek to engage our most valuable resource – our staff and students – with this issue too.”
Louise Hazan, who compiled People & Planet’s Green League 2010, said:
“Much of the change in the sector has been driven by thousands of students campaigning for greener universities and working alongside staff to raise awareness and change behaviour at the campus level. What People & Planet’s Green League shows is the clear need for more concerted Government pressure on universities to act fast and for universities themselves to engage all their staff and students in the transition to a low-carbon future. With funding cuts looming, those that don’t act now will suffer later.
Director of the student-led organisation, Ian Leggett, adds:
“People & Planet congratulates all those universities which achieved First Class awards in this year’s Green League. Their success is a tribute to sustained and comprehensive efforts to make the transition to a low-carbon higher education sector. But we can’t leave it to a small number of leading institutions: all universities must play their part and take urgent and ambitious environmental action now.”
Scottish List in Full
Scottish Rank University UK Rank
(2009 UK Rank)
1 University of Edinburgh 13 (18) 2 Glasgow Caledonian University 25 (104) 3 Edinburgh Napier University 29 (34) 4 University of St Andrews 32 (55) 5 University of Aberdeen 34 (49) 6 University of Glasgow 43 (21) 7 University of Dundee 48 (62) 8 The Robert Gordon University 57 (66) 9 University of The West of Scotland 72 (105) 10 Heriot-Watt University 89 (50) 11 University of Stirling 101 (97) 12 University of Abertay Dundee 119 (113) 13 University of Strathclyde 121 (68) 14 Queen Margaret University 125 (91)
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