Press Office

People and Planet 2016

Newcastle ranked in the top 10 UK universities for sustainability

Published on: 22 November 2016

For the fourth year in a row Newcastle University has been ranked as one of the greenest universities in the UK by an influential guide.

Newcastle University is placed eighth overall in the People and Planet University League, gaining a First Class Honours. This score means that Newcastle University has achieved the highest ranking among research-intensive universities. It is the first time in the last five years that a research-intensive university has made it into the top 10 and is the highest ever position for Newcastle University. 

Cyclist at Newcastle University campus
Newcastle University campus

Focus on sustainability

Professor Tony Stevenson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Newcastle University, said: “This achievement recognises our commitment to continual improvement in environmental performance throughout the University and the excellent progress that we have made over the last five years. The result is reflective of collaborative efforts across the University and wouldn’t be possible without the involvement of staff and students across the organisation.

“With the introduction of the Urban Sciences Building in Science Central in 2017, we are creating a focal point for the University’s sustainability expertise which will use the concept of a ‘living laboratory’ to conduct research on urban environments. We will continue to build on our achievements to date and position Newcastle University as an exemplar for higher education and other sectors.”

Hannah Smith, People & Planet Co-director; Research and Campaigns, said: “Newcastle University has not only retained its First Class award in the People & Planet University League, it has excelled by moving up the rankings into the top 10 universities in the UK for environmental and ethical practice – an achievement to celebrate proudly.

“By setting a strong foundation of environmental policy and strategy, Newcastle have been able to make great progress in carbon management, waste reduction and sustainable food. People & Planet rate Newcastle University as one of the leading universities tackling campus sustainable development.”

Carbon footprint reduction

The People and Planet University League is published annually and ranks Universities on a variety of ethical and environmental metrics.

Newcastle University scored highly across all categories, including Carbon Management (100%), Environmental Policy (100%) and Waste & Recycling (75%). It has risen from 63rd and a 2:1 award in 2011 and over the past year scores have increased in a number of areas, including Ethical Investment (40% to 60%) where the recent recommendations of the University’s Carbon Advisory Group have included a commitment to embedding Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations into the University’s endowment investment portfolio.

The University Sustainability Team manage its Environmental and Energy Management Systems, certified to the internationally recognised standards ISO14001 and ISO50001. These provide the framework for delivering improvements in University operations and embedding sustainability across all its policies and plans.

As a result, Newcastle University carbon reduction programme is saving over 2,500 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of planting 187,000 trees to offset the emission. The University has recycled over 90% of its general waste in each of the last five years, and water consumption has reduced by over a third since 2005/2006.

Newcastle University’s Institute for Sustainability continues to carry out world leading research, aligned with the UN Sustainable Development goals, which aims to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.


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