Sustainable UCL


UCL community wins award for sector-leading zero carbon campaign

25 March 2021

UCL students and staff have won the UK Higher Education sector Green Gown award for Climate Action for our #PositiveClimate campaign to become a net zero carbon institution by 2030 in response to the climate emergency.

Student with a sign at a climate march

What are the Green Gown awards?

Established in 2004, the Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges. With sustainability moving up the agenda, the Awards have become established as the most prestigious recognition of best practice within the further and higher education sector.

This year, the Green Gown Awards UK & Ireland, in association with UKRI, celebrated the inspirational work and projects of 74 Finalists in 12 different categories. UCL won the award in the category “2030 Climate Action”.

UCL’s #PositiveClimate campaign

UCL’s Positive Climate campaign is our sector-leading commitment to become a carbon-zero institution by 2030. To date, the campaign has saved over 10,000 tonnes of CO2; equivalent to planting 165,000 trees.

Some of the key activities in the campaign so far:

  • 100% renewable electricity for UCL;
  • Divestment from fossil fuels
  • A carbon pricing scheme to incentivise departments to reduce carbon emissions
  • A world-leading sustainable science programme (LEAF) that has now been adopted by 20 other universities
  • The launch of the UCL Grove; now with 188 trees to support carbon offsetting from travel

There is so much more to do to deliver on our zero carbon commitments; from exploring waste heat from the London Underground to provide heat to our buildings, to powering the university with 100% UCL owned renewable energy by 2030, there are many projects under way to shift how UCL operates.

A positive community effort

Becoming a zero carbon university is not just about infrastructure, it is about our people. The Green Gown award is a fantastic recognition of the hard work happening across the UCL community to achieve our ambitious goal. UCL’s researchers are providing  academic insights into everything from zero carbon building approaches to carbon finance and behaviour change to support the #PositiveClimate campaign.

Our students are also at the heart of climate action at UCL; with the clean energy society leading an installation of solar panels in the halls of residence; the climate action society hosting a symposium on the climate emergency and behaviour change students designing nudges to remind us all to reduce our energy use.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in the campaign to date; we’re looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together in the future.

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