Sustainable UCL


UCL Sustainability Award Winners revealed

18 September 2018

Food waste initiatives, carbon-neutral buildings and sustainable education; UCL Sustainability Awards hallmark the achievements of our sustainable community.

UCL Sustainability Awards

Celebrating UCL's Sustainability Champions

On Tuesday 4th September the Sustainability Team hosted UCL’s sixth Sustainability Awards ceremony. The event was UCL’s largest, celebrating the achievements of over 60 teams and 100 Green Champions.

Richard Jackson, UCL’s Director of Sustainability, Geraint Rees, Chair of UCL’s Environmental Sustainability Steering Group and Judy Long, Director of the Black Environment Network hosted the awards and thanked the teams.

UCL has had so many sustainable success stories this year, from the introduction of sustainability modules, to the New Student Centre which is on target for BREEAM Outstanding and the Ditch the Disposable campaign. But UCL’s biggest success is the engagement of our community which has risen considerably since our start in 2012. This event is about celebrating the hard work of our community, who together are ensuring that our organisation transitions to a zero carbon university quickly and further becomes a responsible institution. (Richard Jackson).

A Sustainable Event

This year the Sustainability Team have been working with various stakeholders to make UCL events more sustainable. Most noticeably the Office of Vice Provost Advancement, who worked hard to make the It’s All Academic Festival the first sustainable event at UCL. The Awards Ceremony was no exception.

Image of Sustainability Awards
The awards were hand crafted by artist Joanna Atherton, who imprinted plastics found along the UK coastline onto clay tiles. From sunglasses, to children's toys and cutlery the awards are a stark reminder of the longevity of disposable items. Joanna spoke of the irony of how fossils are taken from the sea to make oil, causing climate change and thus destroying the coral it originally came from. The awards were spray painted in a metallic blue to represent optimism, progress and the future. Pencils with lavender seeds on their tips were also given out. This showcased how the small seeds of change our green champions are making, creates a huge foliage of change.

Photographs were taken on the patio of the Wilkins Terrace. A project which used Portland Stone, a durable, long lasting, local, sustainable material.

As like all of the sustainability team’s events, the ceremony was catered with an entirely vegan and vegetarian spread, with Sodexo pulling out all the stocks to make it one of the tastiest events we’ve ever been to!

The Winners

Overal Winners - PALS & OVPA

The joint winners of the night were the Office of Vice Provost Advancement (OVPA) and Psychology and Language Sciences (PALS). Both teams undertook a variety of ambitious projects alongside completing the Office and Labs Green Impact workbooks. They will be enjoying a foraging away day together in autumn to celebrate. Last year PALS enjoyed a trip to the Eden Project for winning the competition, see how they got on in this video.

PALS joint winners

This year PALS undertook a variety of projects, including inventing an urban pollution mask, upholstering the department’s furniture and creating a garden in Gordon House out of recycled materials. They also placed a camera in their catering outlets to monitor and improve food waste and ran a number of research projects on behavioural change studies and sustainability.

OVPA joint winners

OVPA organised a walk to work day, created a garden in Bidborough House and embedded sustainability into the It’s All Academic Festival. For the event, they replaced disposable water bottles, with a water refilling station and invited the audience to bring their own bottles as part of their sustainability engagement. Biodegradable, recycled, branded water bottles were given out to those that had forgotten their bottles.

To displace plastic cups at the bar, reusable cups were available to borrow for a £1 deposit. This reduced a considerable amount of waste at the event. The audience also received free biodegradable glitter face painting, which was an innovative way of engaging the audience in sustainability. The Sustainability Team ran a number of sustainability tours on the day, and there were numerous talks on sustainability issues.

Special Awards

A number of special awards were given out to students and staff who had made an exceptional commitment to sustainability at UCL and beyond. They are as follows:

Sustainability Impact Award

The winner of the Sustainability Impact Award was the student-led project, Zero Food Waste. The society, (set up last academic year), was created to tackle food waste and food insecurity. The project sees student volunteers transport food leftover from UCL cafes to nearby homeless shelters. 

Student Award for Outstanding Commitment to Sustainability  

The student sustainability award was given to Emily Maw from the Mathematics Department. Emily led the team to Platinum victory within their first year!

Staff Award for Outstanding Commitment to Sustainability 

With so many nominations for this category, there were two winners!

Sarah Boddy receiving her award
Sarah Boddy from UCLU Volunteering went above and beyond her job by co-organizing UCL’s Sustainability Fair with the Sustainability Team in October. She also led the Grow Wild wellbeing and environmental campaign in Spring.

Cristina Azevedo also received an award for her exceptional commitment to sustainability at UCL. Cristina has driven sustainability at LMCB and in 16 labs at the MRC. She initiated multiple projects above and beyond Green Impact which reduced the energy consumption and material use of labs. 

Sustainability Education Award 

Dr. Aeli Roberts was Highly Commended for the Sustainability Education Award. Throughout the last 10 years Dr Aeli Roberts has brought her unique combination of skills (in Chemistry, Law - as a qualified barrister - and Construction) to create and teach modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in sustainability and the way sustainability issues interact with the Built Environment. She has brought on board other research staff in this area so that Sustainability is now a key research theme within the School. 

Winner: Dr. Aiduan Borrion 

Dr Borrion received the overall Sustainability Education Award for leading the development and delivery of a short course “conducting a life cycle assessment: from theory to practice application”. The course was developed in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and supported by UCL life learning investment fund in 2016. The four-day course runs twice every year at UCL. It has attracted over 100 industrial professionals from 20 countries and is well known internationally for sustainability education.  

Project Awards

UCL Estates received a Gold Award for undertaking sustainable building work, initiating the Ditch the Disposable Campaign and creating the Bidborough House wellbeing garden. You can find out more on UCL Estates’ website here.

The Division of Psychiatry received an Excellence Award for reducing resource-use in the department.

The School of Pharmacy Library achieved an Excellence Award for undertaking events in their Medicinal Garden to link it to research in their depratment.

Green Impact Office Awards


  • Earth Sciences 
  • Cortexlab 
  • Epidemiology & Public Health 
  • UCL Space & Climate Physics 
  • Economics


  • Residences 
  • UCL Division of Surgery & Interventional Science


  • History of Art 
  • UCL Innovation & Enterprise 
  • DSS 
  • Greek & Latin 
  • Planning Team 
  • Student & Registry Services 
  • UCL Language & Speech Science Library 
  • Royal Free Medical Library 
  • UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health Library 
  • Main Library 
  • Central Library 
  • Science Library 


  • Mathematics 
  • Sodexo 
  • Wickford Library 
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology Library 
  • Institute of Neurology, Queen Square Library 
  • The Joint Library of Opthalmology, Moorfields Eye Hospital & UCL Institute of Ophthalmology 
  • UCL School of Pharmacy Library 
  • UCL Cruciform Hub Library 


  • PALS 
  • BSCPM Green Onions 
  • ION 
  • UCL Careers 
  • Action on Hearing Loss & Ear Institute Libraries
  • LMCB Greeners 
  • UCL FBA: Green Counts 
  • OVPA 
  • UCL Eastman Dental Library 

Green Impact Lab Awards


  • HPF Laboratory 
  • Wakefield St. Brainiacs 
  • Dolphin Group Labs 
  • ICH Laboratories 
  • Cortical Processing Laboratory 
  • Infection and Immunity Cruciform 
  • Bahler Group 
  • Heritage Science Laboratory 
  • UCL Respiratory Laboratory 


  • Research Dept. of Pathology 
  • SoP Teaching Labs 
  • IoO Green Labs 
  • UCL Surgery 
  • Cruciform 3.4 


  • Rheumatology Rayne 
  • Sobell Laboratories 


  • PALS Laboratories 
  • Biochemcial Engineering 


  • Institute of Archaeology 
  • CEGE Labs Green Group 
  • LMCB Greeners 
  • Geography Laboratories 
  • Biochemical Engineering