University in UK top 10 for sustainability

The Newcastle University campus blossoming with sustainability. Image: Flickr, Alan CarrThe Newcastle University campus blossoming with sustainability. Image: Flickr, Alan Carr

Newcastle University has been ranked in the top ten universities for sustainability by the People and Planet University League.

The University is in the eighth position on the table, achieving a First-Class Honours rating. This is the first time in five years that a research-intensive university has been in the top ten and it is the highest ever position.

From being rated 63rd in 2011, the University has come a long way in improving sustainability. Newcastle ranked highly across all categories, achieving the full 100% in Carbon Management and in Environment Policy.

The People and Planet University League is an annual publication judging universities on a variety of ethical and environmental criteria.

Tony Stevenson, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University, stated: “This achievement recognises our commitment to continual improvement in environmental performance throughout the University. Additionally, it recognises the excellent progress that we have made over the last five years. The result is reflective of collaborative efforts across the University and wouldn’t be possible without the involvement of staff and students across the organisation.”

The University Sustainability Team deal with many environmental issues such as energy, waste management and travel planning. They implement the university’s Environmental Management System, Energy Management System and policies to ensure our environmental and energy performance as a university is improving.

As a result of their work, Newcastle carbon reduction programme saves over 2,500 tonnes of C02 per year, which is the equivalent of planting 187,000 trees!

In addition to this, for the past five years the university has consistently recycled over 90% of general waste. In sustainable travel, the number of single occupancy staff car journeys to university has dropped from 40% to 16% in ten years.

Improving sustainability at Newcastle University will continue according to the Sustainability Team. They have a target to reduce carbon emissions by 43% by 2020 and plans to achieve this by reducing staff commuting and implementing a policy of 100% recycled office paper only. They also aim to reduce water usage to 13 cubic metres per staff and student; for example, by introducing aerated shower heads in halls of residence.

The Newcastle Institute for Sustainability is also a huge part of sustainability achievements. The research team spans all three faculties and is committed to finding practical solutions to the world’s sustainability problems.

Being ranked as one of the greenest universities in the UK is an achievement to be celebrated, but Newcastle University encourages students to also contribute and get involved through volunteering with the Sustainability Team or join a society.

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