Press Office

People and Planet 2017

‘First Class’ Award for ethical and environmental performance

Published on: 14 November 2017

Newcastle University, UK, has successfully retained its ‘First Class’ award in the People and Planet University League.

Newcastle University is placed 20th overall of 120 universities in the People and Planet University League, gaining a First Class Honours. This score means that Newcastle University has achieved the highest ranking for the fifth year in a row, scoring highly in Environmental Auditing and Management Systems (100%), Carbon Management (100%) and Waste and Recycling Performance (87.5%).

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Elect Professor Julie Sanders said: “This is the fifth consecutive year that we have been recognised as ‘First Class’ for our collaborative efforts to embed sustainability across the University. Whilst we can be proud of this achievement, we also continue to seek new ways to demonstrate leadership in not only reducing the environmental impact of our operations, but also providing solutions to global research challenges in the field of sustainability.”

Cyclist at Newcastle University campus
Newcastle University campus

Consistently high ranking

To produce the league table, People and Planet score Universities according to publically available information on their website across a range of policy areas including Education for Sustainable Development, Sustainable Food and Sustainability Staff. In addition, data is taken from information published within the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Estate Management Records for 2015/16 to demonstrate current performance on waste and recycling, water and carbon reduction. 

Hannah Smith, Co-Director Research and Campaigns at People & Planet, said: “People & Planet celebrate Newcastle University's consistently high ranking across the 10 years we've published the league table. Newcastle were one of 40 universities to sign the People & Planet 'Green Education Declaration' in 2012 - 5 years on, they have proved their commitment to this pledge, as we congratulate them on once again ranking in the top 20 UK universities for environmental and ethical performance.”

Carbon footprint reduction

The news comes as the University is shortlisted by the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC) for a Green Gown Award for its excellent progress in embedding sustainable travel initiatives, which has led to over 80% of University staff choosing greener modes of travel to work. The University has also recently secured 100% renewable energy for its electricity needs from the offshore wind farm at Blyth in a pilot project with EDF. Current projects include investment of £2.4m in LED lighting expected to deliver carbon savings of over 1000tCO2 by the end of the programme, investment of over £2M in double glazing on the Armstrong Building and delivery of a renewed reuse and recycling campaign across the campus.

The £58m Urban Sciences Building (USB) that opened to staff and students in the 2017/18 academic year provides a focal point for sustainability research and is, in itself, a living laboratory that will lead international research into digitally enabled urban sustainability. The building houses a number of ground-breaking projects including the grid-connected energy storage test bed in collaboration with Siemens, the Urban Observatory which collects live air quality, light, sound and temperature data from across the city of Newcastle and from within the USB itself. 

Sustainability features within the USB include advanced energy metering to enable the living lab, two roof mounted renewable energy systems – a 35kW photovoltaic array and a 3kW Photovoltaic Thermal (PVT) array and, instead of traditional boilers and chillers, heating and cooling is delivered by a super-efficient heat pump system.


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