ABERYSTWYTH University and UWTSD are celebrating after having more success at the Green Impact Awards, an environmental accreditation and awards scheme run by the National Union of Students, who support teams and departments to make simple and powerful changes in behaviour and policy in order to work towards a more sustainable institution.
Thirteen teams from different departments across Aberystwyth University took part in the scheme in 2015-16, and were audited by student volunteers in April.
All teams were recognised for their achievements; five were awarded the Gold Standard, six achieved Silver, and two were awarded Bronze.
Achieving the Gold Standard were teams from Human Resources, Estates Sustainability, IBERS (Carwyn James), Information Services and the Institute of Education, Graduate and Professional Development (Cledwyn).
Awarded the Silver Standard were the Earth Observation and Ecosystem Dynamics Research Group, the Institute of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science, and teams from the Careers Service, Planning and Governance, Psychology, and Research, Business & Innovation.
Estates Grounds and the Aberystwyth Arts Centre were awarded the Bronze standard.
Health, Safety, and Environment Advisor, Dr Heather Crump, stated: “Green Impact, part of the Live Greener behaviour change campaign (e.g. Blackout and Student Switch Off), has grown in popularity over the past three years, with more and more people getting involved and engaged with the scheme.
“With news of it continuing for another year, we hope it continues to gain momentum and even more sustainability initiatives take place. Green Impact is integrated into the university’s drive to achieve the internationally recognised ISO 14001 standard for environmental management.”
At UWTSD, the Green Impact project was able to engage with over 106 staff members from across all three campuses this year, putting 502 actions into place, 329 as a direct result of Green Impact. The dedication of those involved provided a potential savings of almost 9492kg of CO2 and almost £1,397 in savings through waste reduction, energy conservation, and reductions in travel. Furthermore, it provided six students with training and development opportunities during their roles as auditors.
Fiona Wheatley, Sustainability Development Officer, said: “It’s important to promote good environmental behaviour at UWTSD and Green Impact offers a way to incorporate small reminders into the workspace. It’s also a great way to encourage members of staff to work together towards a greater good. I was extremely pleased with the efforts of all the teams this year. The project was very successful and forms a solid foundation for sustainability to continue to grow throughout the university in the future. The project will be beginning again this September and we hope to further its success. We plan on engaging even more staff members.”
UWTSD has been a participant in the NUS Green Impact Project since 2013/14. Initially, the first year saw six teams successfully achieve a Bronze award. During 2014/15, this grew to 16 teams, who achieved a range of awards from Bronze to Gold. This year (2015/16), 15 teams submitted for a range of award from Bronze to Gold, and one team for an excellence award. Arrangement to facilitate Green Impact events and awards are undertaken by the Sustainability Delivery Team at UWTSD.
UWTSD’s strategy also includes key performance indicators on sustainability. Green Impact binds a community of sustainability champions across the university, helping to ensure that it consistently delivers on its sustainability objectives.
At UWTSD, the results were as follows:
Student Experience: Silver Award; Environment Office: Gold Award; SWWCTE Townhill Campus: Silver Award; Team Owen: Bronze Award: HR; Silver Award: Green Business; Bronze Award: SOAC Green Team; Bronze Award: Y Gofrestrfa – The Registry; Bronze Award: SWWCTE Carmarthen (CAADOC-Caerfyrddin); Bronze Award: Corporate Services; Gold Award: Corporate Communications & PR; Bronze Award: INSPIRE; Gold Award: GWLAD; Bronze Award: SSJ&I: Bronze Award; Faculty Office – Lampeter: Bronze Award; Fine Art/ Celf a Dylunio Team Excellence Award: Project – Ground sourced Clay to Ceramics
Sustainability is high on the list of priorities for staff and students. In a 2016 survey completed by the NUS, over 87% of first year students agree that sustainable development is something universities should actively incorporate and promote.