10th June, 2010
Aston University has been named among the top five performing UK universities in the influential People and Planet Green League 2010.
The list, published in The Times Higher, is the only league table ranking 133 UK universities by environmental performance, with Aston placed the 5th greenest university overall.
Independently compiled by the student campaign network People and Planet, the table is based on 11 environmental policy and performance related criteria including carbon emissions per head, waste recycling rates and new criteria measuring efforts to engage students and staff in cutting carbon emissions.
Over the past four years Aston has risen an incredible 88 places, from its 93rd position in 2007 to 45th in 2008 and 18th position last year. The latest top five result highlights the University’s increased commitment to environment and sustainability with further targets already in place to make its campus even more eco friendly.
One of Aston's strongest categories was staff and student engagement. Activities have included a Sustainability Week on campus, Go Green Awards, and a wealth of staff and student committees including a Fairtrade group, Wildlife Group, Sustainable Working group and opportunities for staff and students to volunteer in the local community.
Aston also won the Bronze EcoCampus award and is on track to gain the Silver award this summer.
Recent initiatives currently on Aston’s campus include;
The installation of wind turbines, grass roofs to encourage biodiversity, and rainwater collection units in new halls of residences
A combined heat and power plant on campus, which is drastically reducing carbon emissions
Increasing the use of electric vehicles both on and off campus
A student switch off campaign where students were encouraged to turn off electronic power in the halls of residences
Several additional recycling posts, to allow for batteries, books and mobile phones to be recycled.
Aston University is also at the forefront of alternative energy research including its European Bioenergy Research Institute and research into low carbon transport.
Director of People and Planet, Ian Leggett, said; “We congratulate universities like Aston which have achieved First Class awards in this year’s Green League. Their success is a tribute to sustained leadership and comprehensive efforts to achieve the necessary transition to a low-carbon higher education sector. But we can’t leave it to a small number of leading institutions, all universities must play their part and take urgent and ambitious environmental action now. This year’s Green League shows us that too many in the sector are not responding to the challenge.”
For the first time the Green League 2010 compares the scope and ambitions of English based universities’ carbon reduction plans against sector wide climate targets introduced earlier this year by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. These plans have become essential, as the Climate Change Act 2008 requires greenhouse-gas emissions in the UK to be cut at least 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. Other areas assessed by the guide include; the percentage of waste recycled, energy saving initiatives and transport policies.
For the full Green League 2010 table click here.