Press Office


Newcastle gains 'First Class' in green university ranking


Newcastle has been named one of the greenest universities in the UK.

Ranked 15th out of 143 universities in the People & Planet Green League 2013, the University has risen nine places since last year to become the greenest university in the region and one of the top scoring research intensive universities in the UK.

Pro Vice Chancellor, Planning and Resources, Professor Tony Stevenson said the result was a reflection of the hard work and commitment of everyone at Newcastle University.

“The whole university community can take credit for this tremendous achievement which reflects our belief that we can drive forward world-leading research and development without compromising the future," he said.

“Sustainability underpins much of our research and is one of Newcastle University’s societal challenge themes along with Ageing and Social Renewal.  Today’s recognition by People and Planet shows we really do practice what we preach.

“In partnership with our students, we are creating a sustainable university, not just in Newcastle but also in our overseas campuses in Singapore and Malaysia."

The annual survey audits systems, performance and attitudes to green living, with Newcastle University scoring 48.5 out of 70 and maximum marks in:
- Environmental Policy
- Environmental Staff
- Sustainable Food
- Recycling – 94% of all waste generated by the university is now recycled

High marks were also scored in carbon management, ethical investments, procurement and fairtrade, staff and student engagement and waste and recycling.

Carbon footprint

Since 2005, Newcastle university has decreased its carbon emissions by 0.62%, despite creating three new buildings and increasing the size of the campus by 22,500sqm.

Professor Stevenson explained: “This is even more impressive when you consider Newcastle University is a research intensive university with one of the UK’s leading medical schools and therefore very energy intensive.

“By introducing smarter systems and making staff more aware of electrical consumption we have managed to keep carbon emissions down while expanding the campus.”

The university has also worked hard to change staff and student travel habits. In 2008, 40% of staff drove or used a car to get to work.  In 2010 this had fallen to 22% and in 2012 the figure is now 20%.

Student involvement

Working with the student union, the university has significant student representation on our governing body which deals with estates, planning, finance and resource allocation, and university funds are available for student or staff-led practical sustainability projects such as campus allotments and recycling schemes.

In July 2012, the university achieved both ISO14001 and EcoCampus Platinum certification for its Environmental Management System (EMS). This achievement celebrated the journey from the bronze award in 2009, silver in 2010, gold in 2011 to the recognition of a fully functioning EMS in 2012.

Students played a key role throughout this with annual MSc Clean Technology dissertation projects providing vital momentum towards this achievement.

The involvement of students has provided the opportunity for utilisation of the campus as a learning resource as well as enabling first hand practical environmental experience, enhancing graduate attributes and fostering the next generation of environmentalists and sustainability professionals.

published on: 11 June 2013