Students Staff

29 November 2012

Top award for green thinking

University staff celebrate awards success with sponsors Zero Below

Staff celebrate Environmental Awareness award with representatives from award sponsors Zero Below

Outstanding work on the environment has won recognition at the Colchester Business Awards, organised by Newsquest.

The University won the Environmental Awareness award for efforts by staff and students to reduce CO2 emissions significantly and raise environmental awareness through all its work – including research and teaching, sustainable transport and energy infrastructure.

The Environmental Awareness award, sponsored by design and marketing agency Zero Above, recognised the University and the Students’ Union for their efforts to introduce sustainable approaches and best practice on the environment.

Strong feedback for its Freshers' 2012 campaign also helped the Students’ Union win the Excellence in Marketing award. The campaign was the SU’s biggest and most successful ever. Estate Management Procurement Apprentice Charlotte French was a finalist in the Apprentice of the Year category and the University was finalist in the Active and Sustainable Travel category.

Director of Estate Management Simon Neale said: “Raising environmental awareness is fundamentally important to the University.

“As well as reducing our environmental footprint through the installation of cutting edge technology we need people who study and work here to contribute by living more sustainably.

“The human factor can really make the difference and help achieve a thriving University, resilient to a changing climate and rising fuel prices, providing excellent learning and research opportunities long into the future.

“The judges were impressed by the contribution of students and staff from all departments and I’d like to thank everybody involved in helping embed sustainability into the culture of the University.”

International Relations Masters student Chris Reeves worked as Students' Union Ethics and Environment Officer last year and is now a frontrunner working for the Essex Sustainability Institute.

He said: "Last year, was a great year as it saw the University and the Students' Union and many other bodies such as SIFE UK - the student enterprise organisation - coming together to work on these issues.

"The work we did on energy saving and recycling through the 'Wasted' campaign has laid the foundations for moving forward into the future.

"The Essex Sustainability Institute, under the leadership of Professor Steffen Böhm, is now making big progress on bringing everyone involved in environment issues together so we can move towards being a leading university on green issues.

"From a student's perspective it is good to see the University leading in this area and we can feel proud to be recognised for being green. It is important to raise awareness of these issues amongst students as they will be going on to roles in organisations and businesses around the world, where they will be in positions of influence. Companies are also looking for people who have knowledge in this area."

The University is committed to excellence on sustainability and reducing its environmental impact. All departments contribute to these efforts and the University aims to integrate its sustainable approach into delivering an excellent educational experience.

A full round-up of our work is available on the Green Task Force web pages:

Our work on environmental awareness includes:

  • Students learn from world-leading thinkers, researching key issues facing the global environment. For example, The Essex Sustainability Institute in particular promotes environmentalism to the global community through international collaboration and research. For more on our projects see:
  • Campus Farm was launched to offer students and staff the chance to grow sustainable, organic fruit and vegetables. There is also the chance to nurture bees for honey.
  • Environmental issues are integrated into courses across the whole academic spectrum.
  • We are investing extensively in renewable energy and have already installed wind turbines and photo-voltaic solar panels on campus. Currently under construction is a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant which uses recycled cooking oil.
  • Staff and students are encouraged to use sustainable transport options.
  • A comprehensive environmental audit has been undertaken on all areas of our work including construction, refurbishment, emissions, energy, sustainable procurement, transport, waste, water and biodiversity.
  • Fair Trade University accreditation has been received from the Fair Trade Foundation.
  • Sustainable food sources are used at catering outlets including free range eggs, fish from sustainable sources and local produce.
  • All environmental decision making involves students and staff.
  • Events for the whole University community are organised to coincide with national environmental campaigns and highlight ‘green initiatives’.
  • A Carbon Change Advisor has been appointed to offer strategic advice on improving environmental performance.
  • The University is ranked third in the national Carbon Reduction Commitment rankings of all universities in the country after introducing a range of energy efficiency measures.

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