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Brighton Among The Nation's Greenest Universities

The University of Brighton has been recognised as one of the nation's top universities for sustainability. The university has been ranked 3rd out of 145 universities and higher education institutions in the People & Planet’s annual Green League, published today (29 May). Its position has improved 18 places from last year.

People & Planet, a student network campaigning to protect the environment, awarded the university a First Class honour which will be presented at a ceremony in Westminster on 21 June. People & Planet organises the UK’s only independent ranking of universities for their environmental and ethical performance.

Professor Stuart Laing, the university’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “This is outstanding news and reflects the hard work that staff and students are putting into making our institution more sustainable. The university is committed to sustainable development, environmentally and educationally, and to helping safeguard our planet for future generations.

"Protecting and renewing our shared natural and built environment is the greatest challenge facing our planet and all universities have an important part to play in meeting this challenge. Our aim at Brighton is to be a truly sustainable university in everything that we do.”

Professor Laing, who leads on cross-university sustainability and biodiversity actions, added: “Every year the Green League requirements get tougher but our continuous efforts mean we keep going up; we were at 50th place in 2007.

“Every area of the university is involved in the effort and every area is improving, including all faculties, estate and facilities management, residential and catering services, finance, human resources, and student services. All are essential and all deserve to be congratulated for their efforts.”

Louise Hazan, People & Planet’s climate change campaigns and communications manager, said: "Congratulations to all the staff and students at University of Brighton for their role in creating the third greenest university in the UK. Their success in integrating sustainability throughout the curriculum and finding creative ways to engage staff and students in the transition to sustainability is exemplary. National improvements across the People & Planet Green League results this year show universities are listening to the 70 per cent of students demanding greener degrees and that the university sector is leading the way to a low-carbon and sustainable future."

The University of Brighton scored a total of 54 points out of a maximum 70 to achieve its First Class honour, a higher score than that recorded by the top institution in last year’s table. The university achieved maximum points in several categories including curriculum, student and staff engagement, ethical investment, and environmental policy and it scored highly for environmental staff, environmental auditing, carbon management, sustainable food and renewable energy sources.

League tables
You can see the 2012 league tables on the People & Planet website.

Professor Marie Harder, Sustainable Development Facilitator, said: “A strong undercurrent of social responsibility flows through most activities at the University of Brighton. Sustainable development is not forced from top to down; it moves from many directions. It is being ‘embedded’ in many organisations these days but, at the University of Brighton, we draw out what is already there, and give it room to grow."

Abigail Dombey, the university’s Environmental Manager, said: “We are delighted to have been judged the third most sustainable university in the country, and believe that it reflects our commitment to sustainability. The University of Brighton has significantly invested in this area and created a new Environmental Team. We’ve also set ourselves a very challenging target to reduce our carbon footprint by 50 per cent in five years.”

Examples of the university green successes include its Sustainable Food Policy which includes more use of Fairtrade-labelled products, a commitment to using seasonal and locally-grown produce, reducing reliance on bottled water, using only free-range eggs and buying fish sourced from sustainable stocks. The policy encourages waste reduction, sourcing and procuring more energy-efficient production equipment, and the investigation into and trial of food waste recycling. For more information email hospitality@brighton.ac.uk

The university’s Biodiversity Action Plan aims to build a more abundant, connected and resilient landscape, inviting wildlife into the heart of the two pilot sites at Moulsecoomb and Falmer campuses. It will create new habitats for fauna and flora and a new grassland management regime for wildflowers and grasses. The Plan already has led to concrete actions and events to improve biodiversity, including 54 staff and student volunteers planting 300 shrubs and trees from a local non-profit nursery at the university’s Falmer campus.

From building invertebrate shelters to litter picking, more projects will be launched for volunteers to help improve the university’s campus’ biodiversity. Visit: www.brighton.ac.uk/sustainability .


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