University celebrates moving up to 2nd place in UK sustainability league

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 The University of Gloucestershire has received First Class honours and has jumped up to 2nd position in the 2017 People & Planet University League published today.

Published: 14/11/2017 14:37

​The University of Gloucestershire has received First Class honours and has jumped up to 2nd position in the 2017 People & Planet University League published today.

The University has been graded 2nd in the UK for its overall sustainability performance, moving up 6 places on its 8th place ranking in the 2016 league table. First class status was awarded to just 30 of the 154 higher education institutions assessed this year.

The league is the only comprehensive and independent league table that ranks UK universities on their environmental and ethical performance, including core operations and academic activities.

The University scored 100% for its academic innovation programmes, sustainability strategy, carbon management and environmental management systems. It is known for pioneering sustainability in the core curriculum and as essential professional development for all students.


Dr Alex Ryan, Director of Sustainability at the University of Gloucestershire, said:

“We are thrilled with this result and to have reached 2nd place in the People and Planet league table.

This affirms our place as a centre of excellence for sustainability in education and our continued commitment to transforming our University. We punch well above our weight in sustainability and we are proud of the contribution we are making to the UN global Sustainable Development Goals.

Tackling sustainability is an imperative for the 21st century and helping our students to develop in this area is increasingly critical for all professions. These are the pressing challenges of our times and they inspire students to be truly innovative and to think and act differently. Our University’s mission is to offer a transformative education and sustainability is becoming a distinctive feature of the experience for students who live and learn with us at Gloucestershire.

We are excited about the future for sustainability and our new strategy is moving us on to new horizons, both in reducing negative impacts of running our organisation and also increasing our positive impact through education and research that is relevant to the needs of society.”

University of Gloucestershire sustainability initiatives


Regeneration Repair Cafe: led by Dr Michelle Williams and the Product Design team, in collaboration with Vision 21 and Gloucestershire County Council. Since its 2016 launch, the repair café has connected over 500 local people with students to learn together and build the circular economy, repairing over 400 items that would otherwise have gone to landfill. It was Finalist in the 2016 UK Green Gown Awards and recognised by the United Nations University as an outstanding flagship project for building community learning partnerships. Michelle has also been shortlisted for the Sustainability Champion award in the 2017 UK Green Gown Awards.

University Educators for Sustainable Development (UE4SD): this unique European project connected educators across 33 countries, developing their ability to create learning experiences that will empower graduates to lead change for sustainability. The UE4SD project has collected best practices, developed resources and piloted new training experiences that can be used by educators in all settings and countries, and has been shortlisted as Finalist in the 2017 UK Green Gown Awards.

Power of the Purse: collaboration with our Finance, Estates and Sustainability teams has seen sustainability principles integrated right across our £24 million purchasing operation. In year one alone, we identified over £950k savings, provided training for all key staff and developed guidance that will continue to increase the positive impact we have in our supply chain and business relationships. The project has been shortlisted as Finalist in the 2017 UK Green Gown Awards.

Sustainability Internships Programme: led by Miriam Webb and the Sustainability team, delivering professional sustainability experiences in university teams and local organisations, with tangible results. Our Sustainability Internships Programme was Finalist in the 2016 UK Green Gown Awards and recognised by the United Nations University as a flagship project for youth capacity building.


The University of Gloucestershire’s notable sustainability achievements include:

  • Consistent 1st class placement at the top of the People and Planet universities’ sustainability league table since it began, plus a Special Recognition Award in 2013 for this performance

  • First English university to gain ISO 14001 accreditation, which we have maintained for over 10 years, across all our campuses and for both corporate and academic activities

  • Recognition in our Quality Assurance Agency 2015 institutional review, for good practice in enhancement of student learning experiences in sustainability

  • ‘Gold’ Green Impact status for our Students’ Union since 2013 and £280,000 from the NUS Students Green Fund for our ‘Greener Gloucestershire’ initiatives

  • Grant capture of £1,405,000 for education innovation and student experience projects, with funders including HEFCE, HEA, UNESCO and the European Commission

Soil Association ‘Food for Life’ Gold catering mark across all our campuses, through our partnership with pioneering sustainable caterers BaxterStorey.