We are proud of our progress in the application and delivery of sustainable development and are placed 8th out of all universities and colleges in the UK for our sustainability performance in the People and Planet University League 2022/23.
This can be seen in the re-accreditations and awards we’ve gained through the years. In addition to those you have likely seen on our main website, we have included a timeline of our recognitions through the years. This ensures that no achievement is forgotten, and the legacy of past student and staff actions can be showcased for years to come.
In 2012 we were 1st Place in People and Planet’s University (Green) League and since then we have maintained our ‘First Class’ Award. This is the only comprehensive and independent league table of UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance. People & Planet are the UK’s largest student campaigning network.
Our Estates & Facilities Directorate (EFD) has operated to international ISO14001 (Environmental Management) standards since 2012. ISO14001 is a voluntary international standard set through environmental management systems (EMS) to reduce impact and risk. It requires senior leadership in addition to operational innovation and collaborations to allow developments without overusing resources. More information can be found on our Strategy page.
We were an accredited Fairtrade University from 2011 to 2019, and following the new audit system were reaccredited in 2022. The Fairtrade University and College Award gives recognition to institutions that have embedded ethical and sustainable practices through their curriculum, procurement, research and campaigns. The award is jointly delivered by the Fairtrade Foundation and Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK).
Since 2015 our catering outlets (all 8 across campuses) and menus have been Food for Life Gold certified. This is to great credit to our catering contractors Baxterstorey and Sodexo, in addition to our and hospitality staff. Partnered by the Soil Association, Food for Life certifies caterers for providing meals cooked from scratch, using sustainable fish, free range eggs and ingredients that can be traced back to the farm.
Hedgehog Friendly Campus is a British Hedgehog Preservation Society funded national biodiversity programme for universities, schools and colleges. The project offers free support to staff and students to make impactful changes for hedgehogs. Greenwich joined the programme in May 2020 and all campuses received are currently at Silver accreditation aiming for Gold.
The Marine Stewardship Council named Greenwich as its University of the Year in a series of awards recognising leadership in supporting certified sustainable seafood. Top chef Raymond Blanc OBE and the food chains Waitrose and Marks & Spencer were among the other individuals and organisations to be honoured.
Greenwich’s prize was awarded for its active engagement with the ‘MSC Investigates’ series of animated films which involved internal and social media marketing. It said that over 30 universities got involved with this initiative, but none more so than Greenwich. MSC is a requirement in our Food Policy.
The Green Gown Awards
The Green Gown Awards award sustainability excellence across a breadth of categories. They are across the UK, multiple submissions across Universities. A list of finalists are chosen, before the winner is announced.
In 2020, Eco-Team (Greenwich & Medway) became a finalist in the Student Engagement Category following a year of discussion, action and debate.
In 2018, The Reusable Cup Race became a finalist in the Campus Food and Drink Category. Created by two students volunteering with the Sustainability Team, this was all about rewarding the collective from individual actions. More about this project can be found here.
In 2016, we were lucky enough to have two projects in the final lists.
First, our Sustainable Food Policy; working with our caterers to create a set of food KPIs, from 50% meat-free meals to maintaining accreditations and setting targets for eliminating disposable cups, this was commended in the Food and Drink Category.
Then, in the Student Engagement Category, the ‘Sustainability Hub’ became a finalist. Partnered with the Students’ Union, this project was run for three years (with funding from NUS), aiming to increase awareness and provide student volunteering opportunities. Our summary of the project is here, or check out the video.
Back to other awards
In 2013, the University received the prestigious Times Higher Award for our ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development‘. This was all about improvement, and big ones at that. A change programme began in 2009, bringing Greenwich up from 103rd and 1st in the People & Planet league table. Led by former Head of Sustainability Kat Thorne (and the old team), improvements included a
- 22% -reduction in carbon footprint from 2005.
- 200 –number of solar panels installed in student halls.
- 100% -university PCs benefiting from power-down software.
- 1,500 –Green Impact tasks, tripled from previous year.
- 50 –departmental champions
- 1,300 Envirobins sold (Greenwich’s collaboration with Leafield Environmental generating income).
- ISO14001 accreditation achieved.