In 2015 City University became the first organisation to receive a Gold award in the Islington Sustainable Energy Partnership Green Certification Scheme. The award recognises the University’s commitment to embedding sustainability across all its activities and this case study highlights the particular achievements that have made them worthy Gold award winners.

A holistic approach

City University spreads across 5 sites in central London and has 21,000 students and 2,100 staff. The University works hard to embed sustainability throughout the organisation rather than making it the responsibility of one department. The Sustainability Committee has representation across all Schools and the University’s Environmental Management Structure has operational reporting lines across each area.

City aims to create a sustainable working and learning environment for teachers and pupils alike through initiatives such as their successful Sustainability Leaders programme, regular staff training sustainability skills workshops and Green City Week .

Robust Monitoring & Target Setting

City has a robust Carbon Management Plan that commits the University to reducing its carbon emissions by 30% by 2015 and by 43% by 2020. Both targets are based on solid baseline figures from 2005/6 and have a clear scope setting out what is and isn’t included. Importantly, the plan specifies a minimum of 3% reduction to be reported on each year to ensure they stay on track.

The principles of the Environmental Sustainability Policy have also been applied to the development of an Environmental Management System, which is accredited to ISO1400. The policy covers targets for water consumption, waste, travel, purchasing, food, biodiversity and stakeholder engagement as well as energy and carbon.

Timetabled action planning

Targets are no good if there is no plan for how to achieve them so the University has set out a list of initiatives and projects that have been identified with details on how they meet criteria in terms of carbon and cost saving, business direction etc.  The initiatives include running awareness campaigns, staff training, using renewable energy sources and installing energy saving equipment and controls in new and refurbished buildings. These are roughly timetabled over a 5 year period so they can be budgeted for and planned accordingly.

Transparent reporting

The energy used to power equipment and heat and cool the University buildings is a major contributor to their carbon emissions. City publishes emissions from its key buildings on its website on a monthly basis. Formal reporting on progress in reducing carbon emissions, in tonnes of CO2, is done annually and reported publically and to the ISEP Carbon Monitoring Exercise.

Sustainability is now included as one of the University’s strategic Key Performance Indicators helping to ensure it is a high priority across the campus. All the University’s sustainability targets are reported on in their excellent  annual Sustainability Report  – a great example of making reporting meaningful but also readable and engaging.

Measurable Results

The University’s results speak for themselves with the headline figure being an overall reduction in carbon emissions of 33% to date against the 2005/6 baseline.

Other key achievements include:

  • First-class rating in the 2015 People and Planet Green League
  • 91% of its electricity purchased from renewable sources
  • 43% ▼reduction in business travel emissions
  • 3000 students engaged through the Green Dragons Programme
  • 68% ▲ increase in greening actions delivered by staff and student

Activity beyond the organisation

City University have been active members and supporters of the of the Islington Sustainable Energy Partnership since its launch back in 2008 and the University’s Sustainability Manahger sits on the ISEP Steering Committee. The University operates a sustainable procurement policy and actively encourages suppliers with regard to carbon reduction through the tender process and supplier review. Progress is tracked using a Flexible Framework. The Green Dragons programme is an institution-wide campaign that gives students and staff the chance to obtain funding for collaborative sustainability projects both on campus and within the local community.

Find out more about the University’s plans for the future of its Sustainability work here.

Jason Clarke _city Uni _Gold Award

“ Being awarded the Gold Certification by ISEP is a recognition of our efforts over the past few years but more importantly, working with ISEP to achieve the certification, has been a fantastic opportunity to learn from other organisations facing similar challenges.”

Jason Clarke, Sustainability Manager City University