Thursday, 23 June 2011

EcoCampus Silver Award for Greenwich!

I am delighted to announce that the University of Greenwich has now been awarded the EcoCampus Silver Award.

EcoCampus is an environmental management system (EMS) that the University signed up to which helps to put in place processes, practices and systems to drive the University towards reducing its environmental impact and implementing best practice. The EMS is based on the internationally recognised ISO 14001 and works in stages of accreditation.

Bronze is the first, then Silver, Gold and last of all Platinum. The idea is that the scheme gives you achievable targets to reach on a step by step process towards the final award which is the equivalent of the ISO 14001. So far only four universities have achieved the Platinum award and now we can say that the University of Greenwich has achieved its second major step towards that goal.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Sustainability Awards

Tuesday saw the University of Greenwich celebrate its first annual Sustainability Awards. To celebrate the progress the University has made over that last 12 months an esteemed selection of 45 people chosen for their contribution to the University’s sustainability effort were invited to Hamilton House for the event.
The event gets under way in Hamilton House

Neil Garrod lauds the efforts of the attendees in their contribution to sustainability at the University
On the agenda were speeches from the Sustainability Team, Charlotte Bonner from NUS green Impact Team, Neil Garrod Deputy Vice Chancellor for Resources and a presentation on ‘local food’ from Dr Howard Lee from Hadlow College. The main thrust of the speeches was angled towards the positive changes that had occurred at the University over the last 12 months and celebrating the impact that the people in the room had in helping bring about these positive changes.
A large part of the event was based around the achievements of the sustainability champions and to award them certificates and prizes for the work they had been doing on the Green Impact workbook. The workbook which had 22 tasks to complete for the bronze award, 15 for silver and 65 bonus tasks was attempted by all the sustainability champions. Since we launched the workbook an astonishing 561 tasks towards improving the University’s sustainability performance have been undertaken by the champions and their departments. These 561 completed tasks are the result of the hard work and determination of our sustainability champions, who have had to persuade, change and influence their colleagues and peers since the workbook was launched in October last year.
Overall 23 schools and departments achieved the bronze award, 1 achieved the silver and in turn won the gold award for the department that completed the most tasks. The golden department was the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), led by Caroline Troy, which completed a whopping 61 tasks in total. It might not be surprising that the NRI is leading the way with sustainability at Greenwich when sustainable development is at the heart of the NRI’s mission statement.
Our mission is to provide distinctive, high quality and relevant research, consultancy, learning and advice in support of sustainable development, economic growth and poverty reduction.”
Caroline Troy receives her prize for bronze, silver and gold award in the Green Impact workbook.
Along with the awards to the sustainability champions there were a few special awards going around for people who had put in a particularly strong effort towards sustainability at the University. Ian Cakebread and Tony Dodson won an award for their excellent bicycle powered generators built for Green Week, Pru Jones received an award for her efforts towards recycling at the Medway campus (often as high as 70%), ABM Catering won an award for their move towards sustainable menus and Sustain won an award for their contribution to the Sustainable Food Policy.
There was one particularly special award being handed out which was the Sustainability Hero Award complete with FA Cup style trophy, courtesy of Glasdon UK, which went to Mary McCartney from the Business School. Mary won the award for the extra effort she put in over the year towards sustainability. As the only champion in the Business School she has helped get sustainability to the top of the agenda within the school which is now developing more programmes, employing more lecturers and more researchers with sustainability at the heart of what they do. On top of this Mary managed to get the 2nd highest number of tasks done in the Green Impact workbook and fully deserves the award for 2011.
Neil Garrod awards the Sustainability Hero trophy to Mary McCartney

All the sustainability champions with their prizes
Following the awards everyone headed to Greenwich Park to enjoy a Sustainability Picnic laid on by ABM Catering. The menu was designed to showcase the best of the food on offer from the south east of England that we have available at the University. The menu included local cheeses, University of Greenwich home baked bread, cakes and scones and a selection of locally grown fruits.
Sustainability menu provided by ABM Catering

Enjoying the sunshine and the picnic in the park

Thursday, 16 June 2011

ILS Away Day

At the University's Information and Library Services (ILS) team's Away Day today, the Sustainability team were invited to present to the 120 ILS staff.   Sustainability was the theme of the entire day so the presentation with the aim of raising awareness of sustainability within ILS and getting more staff involved. So firstly as well as the usual definitions we played  the fun short video  .

Graph showing the results of the SusteIT tool for the University 
Then we went onto what it means for the university- it's always very difficult to condense that in to a short presentation but we focussed mainly on the carbon management plan and waste and recycling. It was useful to have completed the SusteIT energy and carbon footprinting tool which indicates that ICT equipment is responsible for 15% of the university's carbon footprint associated with energy use.
Next up were the ILS Sustainability Champions - ILS have two champions per campus. We heard how they got on with the Green Impact workbook and what they had achieved over the past year.  The biggest impact they have had this year has been setting all the student printers in the labs to print duplex as default and this has had a very clear effect on paper consumption. Using the very apt nautical theme with the deck of the Titanic as the guide to indicate paper usage- consumption had been greatly reduced.  
Next up was Neil Collins talking about the power management software that the university has trialled and has showed that on average we could save about £37 in energy costs per student lab PC if implented on our current PCs. Once the upgrade to the student PCs is completed over summer the project will be pursued.

We were also treated to a fun quiz using some interactive technology in a 'Who wants to be a millionaire style' multiple choice quiz on sustainability showing that some people were actually listening to the sustainability team earlier as most now know how much waste the university created annually- over 100 tonnes and our carbon footprint. 

At the end there was an interesting discussion covering what ILS projects are on the crads for the next 12 months and many of these will have a huge impact on reducing the carbon footprint and cover many of the the JISC top 10 tips which is good news for the university.    

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

People & Planet Green League 2011

Today the University of Greenwich rose to 5th in the People & Planet Green League table and was awarded a 1st Class award for its efforts over the last 12 months.

See the story on the Guardian website here and in the education section of today's (7th June) paper.

We are absolutely delighted with the result which has seen us rise from 103rd in 2009 and 61st in 2010 to our current position. We would like to thank everyone at the University who has been supportive of our work, who have been involved with the various projects and who make working at the University of Greenwich a real pleasure! Without everyone’s support and enthusiasm towards improving the University’s sustainability performance we wouldn’t have been able to make such a climb up the table.

Although today is a day for celebrating the achievements we have made we are keen to make sure that next year we are doing even more. There are still plenty more opportunities for the University to tackle issues of sustainability over the next 12 months and we are determined not to rest on our laurels and continue to push the sustainability agenda forward.

The People & Planet Green League 2011 reveals the environmental and ethical performance of 142 universities, awarding First Class 'degrees' to the best and Fail to those doing the least to address their impacts.

Nottingham Trent University takes the top spot this year and also in the top 5 with Greenwich are the universities of Gloucestershire, Worcester, Plymouth and Bournemouth (with whom we are tied for 5th place). We managed to obtain a score 47 points out of a possible 70, so despite our high league table finish there is still plenty more to be done.

The People & Planet website has a full breakdown of the scores and demonstrates the areas where Greenwich is doing well and the areas we need to improve on.

The results show major improvements across the higher education sector in 12 out of the 13 criteria used to rank universities and measure their transition to a fair & sustainable future – including:

• 8.3% increase in universities generating their own renewable energy on-site
• 57% of sector has put in place strong Carbon Management plans and climate targets
• 10% increase in energy-saving & recycling initiatives for students in halls of residence
• 10% increase in universities publishing Sustainable Food policies
• 20% increase in universities employing at least one Sustainability Manager
• 68% of universities have now achieved Fairtrade status

Louise Hazan, who compiled People & Planet's Green League 2011, said:

"This year's results show the sector is making a clear transition towards low-carbon, sustainable operations and responding to increasing student demand for greener universities that offer value for money. However, despite clear progress in the last year on issues such as carbon management planning and student engagement, the fact that carbon emissions are still rising should sound alarm bells for Vice-Chancellors and the Government alike”.