UCL achieve Eco Campus Platinum Award!
13 September 2017
We are delighted to announce that UCL is now certified to ISO14001 and Eco Campus Platinum.
thoughts exactly. ISO14001 is an international standard that sets out and then
tests the requirements for effective environmental management within an
organisation. It is there to help organisations of any size
become more environmentally friendly, by complying with legislation and
reducing environmental impacts.
In laymen’s terms it is a really big deal and an excellent achievement!
What is Eco Campus?
Eco Campus is the environmental management scheme for higher and further education. It sets out a phased approach to ensure that universities are:
- Fully compliant with environmental legislation
- Have processes in place to prevent pollution
- Continuously reducing environmental impacts, whilst also seeking to make positive interventions across our curriculum, campus and community
Eco Campus Platinum is the highest award a university can achieve!
2010 UCL Estates adopted the Eco Campus programme at the request of the UCL Environmental
Sustainability Steering Group. UCL first achieved Bronze in 2010 and have
progressed through each step to achieve Platinum in 2017, which also results in
accreditation to ISO14001.
UCL was audited over 5 days in June during which time the auditors visited lab departments to look at waste and chemical management, interviewed the Estates teams to look at carbon management, grounds maintenance and infrastructure and met numerous members of the UCL community taking part in UCL’s Sustainability Engagement Programme (Green Impact) and other environmentally related activities.
Eco Campus has been adopted by many other universities, of which far less than 50% have currently achieved ISO14001. The size, scale and complexity of UCL make our remit and scope of environmental management larger than most organisations and therefore there are significantly more areas we can be audited against. This is a great benchmark of our progress and whilst the Sustainability Team coordinated the audit, this was a massive institutional effort from the academic community, professional services and our external contractors.
Achieving ISO14001 requires continuous progress. We will be audited again in June 2018 and so we must ensure that the areas of improvement that were flagged are investigated and the auditors will continue to check whether the institution is embedding sustainability in everything we do – a continuous challenge in a fast moving organisation.
Benefits to UCL
Whilst a lot of this work goes on in the background, it means that students have a benchmark to refer to with regards to how UCL is managing its environmental impacts. There are opportunities to get involved too through:
- The Green Impact scheme
- Student auditing
- University wide sustainability initiatives and societies
- Living Lab
For more information see our Get Involved page on the website.
This achievement provides staff with:
- Pride due to working at an institution which maintains high environmental standard, a selling point to prospective students.
- Increased funding. Grant applications include questions on the level of environmental management the university is certified to. UCL staff can now score maximum marks for such questions.
- As a whole, the award will help UCL stand out in tightly contested bids.
Leading by example
UCL requires our contractors to be certified to ISO14001 too and so we are setting
the right tone for how we wish our partners and professional service
contractors to manage the environment. For an institution as large as UCL, it
will hopefully also push other institutions to raise their environmental
credentials too. Many other Russell Group universities such as University of
Cambridge, Imperial and the University of Oxford are yet to achieve full
certification and so we hope that our achievement encourages others to follow.
For more information on what we do, see our website!