The University of Worcester has been named in the top 5 most sustainable universities in the UK.
Worcester is ranked joint 5th in the latest People and Planet Sustainability League, an independent league table of UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance. It is compiled annually by the UK’s largest student campaigning network, People & Planet.
The University of Worcester came joint top in the Sustainable Food and Energy Sources categories and scored 100% across five of the categories.
The majority of UK universities have come under criticism for not meeting emissions targets while the University of Worcester is one of a tiny handful who have consistently met these for the last decade.
Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor David Green CBE DL, said: “For the last dozen years, we have received First Class Honours in this annual assessment of universities as we do all we can to respond to the climate emergency.
“Working collaboratively, we have embedded sustainability into all of our work at the University and aim to inspire students, staff and the wider community to take action themselves. Universities have a particular responsibility for leadership as we educate so many who will be leading teams and organisations throughout the country and the world.”
The University, in close partnership with the Students’ Union, has pioneered many initiatives to promote sustainability over the last 15 years, including much improved recycling, promoting walking and cycling wherever possible, and practical changes such as introducing less energy intensive lighting and solar heated hot water. Earlier this year, the University more than doubled the electricity generated on site by Solar Photovoltaic panels and an increasing proportion of the University’s vehicles are fully electric.
In 2019, Worcester was named Sustainability Institution of the Year in the Green Gown Awards and the following year went on to be Globally Highly Commended at the International Green Gown Awards, at the United Nations in New York.
The University was awarded a grant of around £700,000 last year from the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which is already saving CO2 on a significant scale.
Worcester MP and Schools Minister, Robin Walker, said: “I would like to congratulate the University for the work they have done in this field, which has been recognised in this ranking. Worcester is a city that is proudly leading the way on climate action, which is one of the reasons we were chosen as the home for the newly established Office for Environmental Protection.
“COP 26 taking place in the UK this year has ensured that climate change has been at the top of the political agenda, and I was glad to see governments around the world commit to cutting their carbon emissions. The government’s commitment to decarbonisation has been met with real action such as the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.”
Earlier this year, the University was recognised as a ‘Community Commitment Education National Champion’, winning an International Corporate Social Responsibility Excellence Award, for the second time, for a project in which students worked with local schoolchildren to increase their knowledge and commitment to recycling.
For the past three years, Worcester has been named among the top three UK universities for Quality Education in the prestigious Times Higher Education’s global University Impact Rankings, which highlight the contribution made by universities towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
In 2019, the University of Worcester and Worcester Students’ Union both signed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Accord, pledging officially to work towards a more sustainable future and supporting the United Nations’ internationally agreed 17 SDGs.
The University has launched a new BSc (Hons) Environmental Management and Sustainability degree programme, starting in September 2022.