People & Planet has released its annual university league tables in regards to sustainability, and has found that Nottingham Trent University tops the league, closely followed by the University of Brighton and Manchester Metropolitan University.
First published in 2007, the league celebrates the ambition and success of universities that are taking a “holistic and practical approach” to combating climate change and social inequality.
This year’s table shows that over 80 per cent of universities now have a publicly available policy on environmental issues.
What’s more, over a quarter of all universities have now committed to divesting themselves from the fossil fuel industry.
Despite this however, the results also show a four-year downward trend in carbon emission reduction across the sector.
Only 24 per cent of universities are still on course to meet the higher education reduction targets of 43 per cent by 2020.
People & Planet points blame at the removal of government and council incentive or support for sustainable development in the higher education sector since 2010.
Hannah Smith, co-director and research and campaigns manager of People & Planet said that before the start of the decade:
This was an exciting time – the future looked set to harness the energy of 150 institutions of research, creativity, innovation and knowledge, not to mention the 5 million students per year.
“Right now the policy landscape looks bereft of any support or incentive, which we find extremely concerning when you consider the opportunity the UK has to meet carbon reduction targets through the ambition of world-class universities.”
Despite this UK universities are leading the way on a global basis, with 42 higher education institutions committed to excluding fossil fuel industry from around £10.7 billion of endowment wealth, overtaking other EU countries, the United States, and Australia.
Amoge Ukaegbu, Campaigns and Movement Building Co-ordinator at People & Planet said:
UK universities have been world leaders on cutting-edge research into climate solutions.
“By severing their ties with fossil fuel companies, universities are standing in solidarity with the communities across the world that are on the frontline of fossil fuel extraction and climate change.”
“The Fossil Free movement has grown exponentially with students and universities at its core, pioneering a new way for public institutions to be truly independent of the fossil fuel economy and in doing so, trailblazing a path for wider society to follow.”
The top ten sustainable universities in the UK are as follows:
- Nottingham Trent University
- University of Brighton
- Manchester Metropolitan University
- Cardiff Metropolitan University
- University of Worcester
- Aston University
- City University London
- University of Gloucestershire
- Newcastle University
- Swansea University