11th July 2008 – for immediate release
Staff and students at Aston University have proved they’re serious about going green this week after a league table published in the Times Higher Education reported significant improvements in environmental performance.
The Green League Table, compiled by national campaign network People and Planet and published on July 3rd, cites Aston’s staggering jump up the league table in comparison to last year. In twelve months, the University has leapt from 93rd to 45th place – pitching Aston as the third top performing university in the region.
With an overall grade of 2:2 (universities were graded in the same way as degree students; first being the highest score and a fail being the lowest), the University performed highly in a number of areas, including:
• Top marks (12/12) for Environmental Staff – with the recruitment of a dedicated Environment and Sustainability Manager. Aston University is one of only 18 universities in the country that has taken this step
• 9.5/10 for having a publicly available environmental policy – this was launched earlier this year and details a series of innovative ways to achieve environmental objectives
• Top marks (3/3) for being a Fairtrade Organisation – the University provides Fairtrade products wherever possible in its retail outlets and stages events each year to promote the importance of Fairtrade.
The university has also put in place green initiatives such as a transport plan (including a car share initiative and plans to improve cycle and motorcycle parking), installing low energy lighting across the campus and a real-time meter to measure its carbon footprint (first University in the UK to do this), establishing mini recycling centres, and ensuring its purchasing practices make a minimal impact on the environment.
Lynnette Jones, Environment and Sustainability Manager, Aston University, said:
“Everyone at the University is really pleased with our dramatic improvement in this year’s Green League. Aston University has the vision to become one of the leading environmentally aware and sustainable Universities in the UK. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but we have commitment at the top and support from staff and students, so hopefully the only way is up!”
The Green League is part-funded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and aims to encourage universities to set an example on sustainability and the environment. Initially published in 2007, it was introduced following a political debate over climate change where MPs approved sector-by-sector targets on carbon emissions. This is the only league table in the UK that monitors the environmental performance of universities and is based on nine criteria including percentage of waste recycled and carbon emissions per head.
To read Aston University’s environmental policy, visit www.aston.ac.uk/environment,
for further information on the People and Planet Green League Table visit http://peopleandplanet.org/greenleague.
For more information contact Laura Plotnek, University Communications Team, Aston University on 0121 204 4549 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spreading the word at World Environment Day (5th June 2008) – Left-right: Lynnette Jones, Environment and Sustainability Manager and Margaretta Swann, Finance Team at Aston University.