Brighton MP presents greenest universities with 'degrees'
21 June 2012
Caroline Lucas today presented 40 of the greenest universities with a First Class ‘degree' at the People & Planet Green League graduation ceremony in Parliament.
At the ceremony, People & Planet also presented the findings of a new report on the progress made in greening the higher education sector over the last six years.
The University of Greenwich topped the People & Planet Green League 2012 - the UK's only comprehensive and independent green ranking of universities.
Meanwhile, Brighton University jumped to third place from 21st in last year's league.
A total of forty six universities have been awarded ‘First Class Degrees'.
Caroline, MP for Brighton Pavilion, who gave out the certificates alongside environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, said:
"It's really encouraging to see students and universities working together to reduce their carbon emissions and prepare for a green economy.
"The 40 universities being presented with their First Class green degrees at today's graduation ceremony in Parliament are a shining example of what can be achieved.
"However, universities must keep up this momentum and will need strong leadership from the Government if we are to truly create a sustainable, higher education sector."
The new report's findings show huge sustainability improvements across the sector including:
Universities in 2007
Universities in 2012
15 First class awards
46 First class awards
65% had environmental policies
98% had environmental policies
Average % renewable energy: 12%
Average % renewable energy 72%
Average per head CO2 emission: >1tonne
Average per head CO2 emission: <1tonne
However, the Green League progress report also suggests that a lack of investment at national level is holding back progress on carbon reduction within the sector.
Whilst the greenest universities are making significant improvements in environmental performance, many are still struggling to meet their obligations and now stand to face financial penalties.
Louise Hazan, author of the Green League 2012 report, said:
"The universities receiving First Class awards at today's Green League graduation ceremony demonstrate clearly how going green can save money, improve their graduates' prospects and support the UK's transition to a low carbon economy.
"However we need further action to ensure their success is replicated throughout the sector. People & Planet is calling on all Vice-Chancellors to sign up to the Green Education Declaration launched today, setting out their commitment to achieve a sustainable higher education sector by 2020."
Notes to Editors
A full copy of the People & Planet Green League 2012 Report can be downloaded from: http://peopleandplanet.org/dl/gl2012_report.pdf
The People & Planet Green League 2012 was published on 29 May 2012 in The Guardian.
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