Our Sustainability efforts have achieved a Highly Commended Award at the Green Gown Awards 2013. Now in their 9th year, the Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the UK.

The evening was hosted by Professor Iain Stewart MBE – Iain is best known as the presenter of a number of BBC programmes including the BAFTA nominated Earth: The Power of the Planet. Iain is also a Fellow of the Geological Society of London and President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, Professor of Geoscience Communication at Plymouth University and a member of the Scientific Board of UNESCO’s International Geoscience Programme.

This was a true celebration of sustainability best practice within the tertiary education sector. The Green Gown Awards Ceremony was a resounding success and a fitting tribute to the pioneering environmental and sustainability initiatives that have been championed in the tertiary education sector this year.

In summarising the significance of the Awards, Professor Iain Stewart states “Sustainability is one of those ideas that means something different to everyone. And yet we all have a clear notion of what is “unsustainable”. The Green Gown Awards are about celebrating a shift in thinking within the university and college sector to embrace and support those that are really pushing ahead with meaningful ways of making a future that works for all.”

The College was therefore thrilled to receive a Highly Commended Award in the category of Technical Innovation for Sustainability. The College is committed to creating a sustainable culture throughout its campus.

In line with the College’s sustainability strategy, Gateway for Progression (GAP) students have taken the initiative and social responsibility to reduce the College’s waste bill by 18% and provide an additional revenue stream for the College from recycling. This revenue is then injected back into the student learning.

Over the year, 12 tonnes of paper has been diverted from landfill and has saved the College over £2,000 in waste disposal costs. The activity also provides team building experiences in a working environment for the GAP students and helps develop their numeracy skills including weighing, measuring and counting.

The College also shares sustainability achievements such as this to staff and students on a regular basis using an ICT sustainability dashboard and it is hoping to improve the stream of sustainability information going forward by committing to the implementation of a formal Environmental Management System which will support the recording of this information.