The University of Chester has achieved a First Class award and been ranked 21st out of 154 universities in the 10th annual People and Planet University League – the UK’s only comprehensive and independent green ranking of universities.
The university is second in the North West in the table, up 20 places from last year, and is now positioned among the top 30 universities, who all receive the highest degree style classification in the league table.
People and Planet University League is an annual rating by the national student campaign group, which assesses the environmental and ethical performance of all universities.
The greenest are awarded a First, followed by 2:1s, 2:2s, 3rds and ‘Fail’ for those doing the least to address their environmental and social impacts.
This year, People and Planet is celebrating a decade of publishing the unique rankings, which the group says has transformed the sustainable development of higher education in the UK, as well as changing sustainability culture within those institutions.
The university’s students and staff have been recognised for their excellent work in environmental policy and education for sustainable development.
The improvement in policy and strategy has been achieved by outlining specific, measurable targets for areas within the Sustainability Strategy, including: water; biodiversity; procurement, construction and refurbishment; transport and community, as part of the revision of the institution’s Carbon Management Plan.
In this year’s ratings, the university’s Education for Sustainable Development maintained a 100% score and reflects the institution’s and Chester Students’ Union commitment to the externally assessed Responsible Futures accreditation.
Responsible Futures is an NUS programme that provides a structured framework of criteria to encourage action on embedding sustainability into formal and informal learning.
The university’s sustainability unit creates opportunities with academic and professional services departments, to enable students to develop sustainability knowledge and skills through coursework projects, dissertations and voluntary work.
The university’s huge investment in LED lighting and solar panels, as well as significant improvements to data monitoring and reporting, are now reflected in the carbon reduction and water reduction categories.
Thanks to this investment, a score of 50% for carbon reduction was awarded for the reduction in carbon emissions for the institution, compared to the previous year. The electricity supplying our largest sites was purchased from a green tariff, which, in addition to the electricity generated from the solar PV panels, means that the Energy sources score has improved from last year’s 13% to 48.3% as the institution seeks a cleaner, renewable energy supply.
Ethical investment has also improved to 45%, compared to 25% in 2016, due to the university signing the People and Planet’s Fossil Free declaration earlier this year.
Vice chancellor of the University of Chester, Professor Tim Wheeler, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and all credit to those who made this happen.
“The improvement in the university’s position this year reflects the co-ordinated approach to embedding sustainability throughout all operations and activities across the institution.
“The university never rests on its laurels, and we are working on a number of projects, with a number of institutions, in our aim to improve our position still further.”
Full results can be seen at: https://peopleandplanet.org/university-league