Sustainable UCL


UCL achieves ISO14001 accreditation for the second year!

6 September 2018

UCL is celebrating achieving EcoCampus Platinum accreditation to the ISO14001 2015 standard, following a successful external audit by NQA on our Environmental Sustainability Management System.

What is an Environmental Sustainability Management System?

Eco Campus

As a large organisation UCL has a variety of environmental impacts which need to be managed. An ESMS is a structured framework for an organisations such as UCL to manage these environmental impacts, control and improve our environmental performance and ensure we comply with environmental legislation. ESMS are based on the Plan, Do, Act, Check, Cycle of continual improvement and are similar to systems used for health, safety and quality management. The ESMS supports the delivery of UCL’s Sustainability Strategy and enables all individuals to contribute to this effort.

What is ISO 14001?

ISO 14001 is the international standard that specifies requirements for an effective Environmental Sustainability Management System. It provides a framework that an organisation can follow, rather than establishing environmental performance requirements. It is developed by The International Organization of Standardization (ISO).

What is EcoCampus?

If ISO 14001 is a framework for an effective system, then EcoCampus can be thought of as a way of building that framework; The EcoCampus scheme is a step by step sustainability improvement and certification programme which helps Higher and Further Education Institutions implement an ESMS up to the international standard of ISO:14001. There are 4 phases to the programme – Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum (at which point organisation has met the ISO 14001 standard).

The Journey so far:

UCL has built it’s ESMS from scratch, having previously had no such system in place. The journey started in 2010 where UCL Estates adopted the Eco Campus programme at the request of the UCL Environmental Sustainability Steering Group. Following this UCL first achieved Bronze in 2010 and has incrementally progressed through each step to achieve Platinum in 2017, achieving accreditation to the 2004 standard of ISO14001.

This year, UCL has successfully reaccredited to the new, 2015 standard of ISO14001, therefore ensuring our ESMS is in line with the latest developments. This further demonstrates the commitment and leadership for sustainability which exists at the university.

What next?

However, this is not the end; A key component of EcoCampus is continuous improvement, and auditors will expect to see that demonstrated if we are to maintain Platinum status. All departments can play their part; As any department could be audited as part of the external audit process, it’s essential that all departments are able to demonstrate how they are addressing their environmental impacts. If you would like to volunteer your department to be part of the next audit, then please get in touch.

To do so many departments choose to take part in UCL’s Sustainable Impact Programme - an accreditation and award scheme that's all about staff and students working together in their departments to improve their environmental performance.

Alternatively, departments can get in touch with the ESMS Manager to arrange an introduction to the system, and see how it benefits them.

You can find out more about our ESMS here.