Sussex named among UK’s greenest universities
Sussex has been awarded a First Class Award and ranked joint 45th out of 145 in the People & Planet Green League 2012 – the UK’s only comprehensive and independent green ranking of universities, published today (Tuesday 29 May) in the Guardian.
The People & Planet Green League assesses the environmental and ethical performance of all universities annually, awarding First Class ‘degrees’ to the greenest. Sussex is among 46 institutions to achieve a ‘First’ in 2012 and got the third-highest score in the 1994 Group.
John Duffy, Registrar and Secretary, said: “We are striving to create a sustainable university, with a well-functioning and reliable infrastructure that is environmentally, financially and socially sound.
“This award is a pleasing recognition of the considerable progress we have made.”
A working group was set up on campus to analyse the 2011 results, which placed Sussex 89th with a ‘degree classification’ of 2:2.
A number of subsequent key improvements and achievements have contributed to Sussex’s rise into the eco elite of UK universities:
- Affiliation with the Workers Rights Consortium, who work to combat sweatshops and protect the rights of workers who make clothing and other products for colleges and universities. This year, the University became only the third UK university (after Sheffield and Loughborough) to affiliate with the WRC
- State-of-the-art technologies such as passive ventilation, reduced solar gain, rainwater harvesting and energy-efficient lighting for new buildings. Fulton, Northfield and the new academic building have all been classified ‘Excellent’ by the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)
- New action plans on waste, sustainable procurement, water and biodiversity
- Comprehensive auditing of transport, sustainable procurement and water management.
Patrick Pica, Energy and Environment Manager, commented: “One of our biggest challenges is to make the University more environmentally sustainable at a time when it is enjoying wide-scale expansion. More students, more staff, new buildings – all these things have an environmental impact and it is my job to look at ways to lessen that impact.
“It is encouraging to be recognised for the significant commitment demonstrated by the University in continually improving its environmental performance.”
Louise Hazan, who compiled the People & Planet Green League, said: “Congratulations to all the staff and students at Sussex for their role in creating one of the greenest universities in the UK. Their success in reducing carbon emissions is exemplary.
“National improvements across the People & Planet Green League results this year show universities are listening to the 70% of students demanding greener degrees and that the university sector is leading the way to a low-carbon and sustainable future."
Nationally, the People & Planet Green League table reveals that the university sector has cut carbon emissions for the first time, recording a 5% reduction compared to 2011 results.
Sussex has reduced its CO2 emissions by 14% (3,150 tonnes) between 2005-06 and 2010-11. Emissions could be reduced by a further 11% this year after a significant amount of lighting on campus is replaced with LED technology.
The University’s Carbon Management Plan aims for a 44% reduction by 2020.
The University’s commitment to environmental issues and sustainability was underlined last year when the Daily Telegraph named Sussex the top UK university for recycling.
In December 2011, Sussex also became one of just 11 UK universities to receive the ‘gold’ accreditation for the EcoCampus Environmental Management System (EMS). Work is already well under way to achieve ‘platinum’ accreditation – the highest possible.