Swansea University makes the grade in university green awards

Swansea University has made the grade and received a 2:1 honours award for its environmental performance in the UK’s greenest universities league tables published today.

Climbing an impressive 52 places Swansea University has become one of the most improved universities in the UK.  The university scored the maximum points available in Student and Staff Engagement, Curriculum and Environmental Policy. It also increased its score this year in Sustainable Food, Staffing and Carbon Management, and worked more closely with the Students Union to pull together efforts to improve its green performance.

Green League awards

The People and Planet Green League awards UK Universities degree-style classifications based on their environmental and ethical management and performance. Educational institutions pit their eco-credentials against each other and there is tough competition as students want their universities to be sustainable institutions. Last year Swansea University was placed 122nd out of 138 institutions, ‘failing’ the Green League but this year has leapt up to 70th place out of 145.

The University held its first Sustainability Month in March 2012, which saw an impressive staff and student attendance at a diverse range of events including a sustainability speed seminar and a campus wildlife walk. The university also improved its recycling rate and reduced its water use last year despite a continued growth in its research activity.

Professor Iwan Davies, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Internationalisation, with a responsibility for Estates Management said: “We are very happy with the rapid improvement to our ranking in the Green League and look forward to being recognised for our work in this field into the future. This year has seen the University’s new Sustainability Team introducing, and better coordinating, green initiatives across our campus. Our staff and students have really stepped up to the mark in helping the University improve its performance in this area, and it is thanks to all of them that we can take pride in our new league status”.

Dr Heidi Smith, the University’s Sustainability Manager said: "Swansea University is delighted with its improved position in this year’s Green League. This was a result of key work undertaken during the year including a new Sustainability Policy, the introduction of initiatives such as a student allotment, the Brighter Futures Fund, and staff and student competitions and awareness campaigns on campus.

“Although this demonstrates excellent progress, we recognise that there is still much we can do to improve further the University’s environmental performance. As a research intensive university, reducing our use of natural resources is going to be difficult for us compared to some other institutions; however, we are determined, through staff and student engagement, to become as efficient as we possibly can."

The Green League is the only ranking of all UK universities by environmental and ethical performance. It is based on information submitted by universities to People & Planet, the largest student network in Britain campaigning to end world poverty, defend human rights and protect the environment. The People & Planet network consists of groups at universities, colleges and schools, plus many other individual supporters.

In the coming year Swansea University will be publishing a new carbon management strategy and a biodiversity plan for its campus, both of which are being developed with the input of many stakeholders. The full Green League table data can be accessed at: http://peopleandplanet.org/greenleague