Sustainable UCL


UCL awarded First Class honours status in University ‘Green’ League for the third year in a row!

15 November 2017

Over the past few years UCL has steadily moved up the rankings of the People & Planet University League. Today, we achieved our highest ever position -  26th place out of 154 UK universities in the 2017 league.

Against other Russell Group Institutions, UCL achieved 5th position (behind, LSE, Leeds, Exeter and Newcastle).

Compiled by student campaigning organisation People & Planet, the University League is an independent ranking of UK universities on their environmental, social and ethical performance. 

UCL scored maximum points for its Sustainability Policy, Carbon Management and Human Resources for Sustainability. It also scored highly for its Environmental Management System, Sustainable Food initiatives and for its commitment to engaging students and staff on environmental and social issues.

UCL has also made progress towards embedding Sustainable Development into the curriculum, powering the campus through sustainable energy sources and transitioning towards ethical investment. You can view UCL's full scorecard here.


UCL’s Director of Sustainability thanked everyone at UCL for helping to achieve this fantastic award:

" I am extremely pleased that we have consistently progressed up the rankings of the University 'Green' League year on year, achieving a First Class Honours award for the third time in a row. This demonstrates UCL’s commitment to embedding environmental and social sustainability into our core institutional activities. I 'd like to thank everyone across the University for helping UCL improve its position - this is a massive effort involving a lot of people. In the upcoming year UCL will be embarking on producing a new Sustainability Strategy which will help UCL to further lead the HE sector in terms of environmental and social sustainability. This is an exciting project which will invite and draw on involvement from the whole UCL community. I look forward to working with you all when embarking on this new strategy.”

Measures that helped UCL achieve 1st class award:

  • Improving UCL’s Environmental Management System: UCL gained ISO140001 and EcoCampus Platinum accreditation in July for its holistic approach to managing our environmental impacts across the Institution.
  • Sustainability Engagement Programmes: With 38,000 students and 11,000 staff; UCL is dedicated to engaging the UCL community in sustainability to help them become the sustainability leaders of tomorrow. Last year 60 teams participated in the Green Impact, UCL’s engagement programme to ‘green’ their departments, and we have a strong Green Champion Network. The University also runs bike workshops, gardening events, environmental training, bird walks, environmental lectures and conferences. See our website to get involved.
  • Building a Sustainable Campus: UCL has embarked on an extensive building and refurbishment programme - Transforming UCL, and at its core is environmental sustainability. All new buildings and major refurbishments follow UCL’s Sustainability Design Brief and must achieve BREEAM Excellent or above. Our new Student Centre, which has solar panels and a green roof is set to achieve BREEAM Outstanding.
  • Making a local and global impact: A sustainable UCL is intrinsically linked to a sustainable London.  We are collaborating with other London universities to share best practice and to push for changes to London Policy, from improved cycling infrastructure to better air quality. 
  • Education for Sustainable Development: UCL is committed to embedding sustainability into the curriculum, providing students the opportunity to explore issues of sustainable development and solve some of society’s most pressing issues through using UCL’s campus and operations as a test-bed. See our programmes on our website.
  • Ethical Investment: UCL is progressing towards an approach to investment which reflects a transition to a low carbon future by following the principles of the Sarasin Climate Active Fund. For more information see our website.

To see the full league table, visit the People & Planet website.

To get involved