The University of Exeter was ranked joint 16th in the UK and 3rd in the Russell Group in the 2016 People & Planet League

Exeter achieves first class award in sustainability league

The University of Exeter has been awarded a first-class score for environmental and ethical performance in the People & Planet 2016 university league table.

The league ranks 150 higher education institutions in the UK according to how sustainable they are, with the University of Exeter achieving joint 16th.

Exeter has also been ranked 3rd among members of the elite, 24-strong Russell Group.

University of Exeter Environment and Sustainability Adviser Karen Gallagher said: “I am delighted with our fantastic score in this year’s People & Planet league table. It shows that the University is serious about incorporating sustainability into the management of the estate.

“This achievement reflects the hard work and dedication from people across the University. Working in partnership with the Students’ Guild, particularly on environmental issues, has been instrumental to our success.”

People & Planet, a student-led network with more than 40 years’ experience, has taken part in countless campaigns designed to engage and empower young people to take positive action for social and environmental justice.

This year there is a particular focus on energy, with the group calling on universities to start investing in green technologies and go “fossil free”.

Andy Seaman, University of Exeter Energy Manager, said: “The People & Planet league table provides the University with a key metric of performance against our peers and enables us to identify areas for continual improvement.

“As an institution, we are committed to lowering our carbon emissions. In fact last year we reduced our carbon footprint by 7%. Furthermore, we have reaffirmed this commitment to reducing emissions by 43% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, by incorporating this important element in the University’s Corporate Strategy 2016-2021.”

The University’s Corporate Strategy 2016-2021 is a key factor in Exeter’s success in the People & Planet league as it includes specific targets and objectives designed to improve our environmental sustainability.

Alongside our commitment to reduce carbon emissions, we also aim to encourage more sustainable means of transport, reduce the amount of waste generated and increase recycling, continue to embed Fair-trade principles and take positive action to conserve biodiversity on University sites, with an aim to become a Countryside Wildlife Site by July 2017.

Other contributing factors to Exeter’s success include a commitment to sustainable dining, demonstrated by a Two Star Food Made Good rating, granted by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) along with the launch of our Green Exeter Scheme which helps staff across the University embed environmental sustainability into individual departmental activities.

Student engagement was also vital. For example The Students’ Green Unit empowers students to set up their own sustainability projects. In addition, each year students living in halls of residences on campus take part in the “Student switch off”.

The People & Planet league scores are determined by information made public on university websites, encouraging openness and active engagement, along with information published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and other independent verification agencies.

For more information about the University of Exeter’s commitment to sustainability, visit the website.

Date: 2 December 2016

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