Aston again been named among the top performing UK universities in the influential People & Planet Green League 2011.
The University has been awarded “First Class Honours” for its ranking at number 12 out of the 142 UK universities and HE institutions overall, which submitted results. This is the third year running that Aston has achieved a top 20 ranking.
Independently collated by the student campaign network People & Planet, the table, published in the Guardian, is based on a university’s environmental policy, ethical performance, and its scope and ambition for future plans. Criteria include carbon emissions per head, recycling initiatives and sourcing Fair Trade and ethically approved products.
Aston achieved waste recycling rates of nearly 80 per cent through schemes such as a ‘binless’ office system, a ‘zero waste in halls’ project and the introduction of a food waste composter. These initiatives saw Aston receive full marks for its waste reduction and recycling with other top performing areas being environmental policy and management and staff and student engagement.
Campus initiatives have included 'Go Green Week', the creation of wildlife and sustainability groups, environmental volunteering projects for staff and students, and recycling schemes.
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. However, despite clear progress in 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."
Nineteen out of the top 20 universities in this year's ranking have achieved Fairtrade University status with a further nine new universities gaining Fairtrade Status this year.
Veronica Pasteur, Head of Campaigns at Fairtrade added: "Congratulations to Aston University for becoming one of the UK’s greenest universities, and to all its staff and students who have shown a collective commitment to Fairtradeand for recognising their global responsibility. The awareness that this is raising among the student population will help make a better future for producers in the developing world."
Words by Alex Earnshaw
8 June 2011