Sustainable UCL


UCL Retains 1st Class People and Planet Award

14 December 2023

UCL has proudly retained its first-class honours in the People and Planet University League 2023, for the 7th consecutive year - solidifying our position as a sustainability leader among UK universities.

UCL east building with blue globe

The People and Planet University League, an independent ranking published by The Guardian, has assessed 153 UK higher education institutions based on various environmental and ethical criteria. UCL has maintained its first-class position, securing an overall score of 71.4%, placing us 12th in the league and 2nd among the UK Russell Group universities. 

People and Planet League 

UCL received full marks for sustainable food, auditing and environmental management systems, sustainability staff, staff and student engagement, and education for sustainable development. Notably, a 94% score was awarded in workers' rights and 90% in environmental policy. 

Expressing his enthusiasm, Jason Clarke, UCL Assistant Director of Sustainability, stated:

"I’m delighted to have retained our first-class status and achieved an overall score of 71.4% in this year’s People and Planet League. The league, independently assessed by a student campaign group, reflects UCL's unwavering commitment to integrating sustainability into our operations, research and education.

However, we acknowledge that there is still significant work ahead to transform UCL into a genuinely sustainable institution. We are currently in the process of developing a new UCL Sustainability Plan that will lead us to 2027, specifically addressing areas such as the accessibility of our scope 3 emissions targets. Our dedication to continuous improvement to sustainability continues." 

UCL's achievements, as highlighted in the recent 2021-22 Annual Sustainability Report, showcase our commitment to sustainability across many areas. Notable recent successes include the development of UCL's first Net Zero building at PEARL and the establishment of a UCL-wide Climate Hub, representing the university at COP27 and COP28. 

The People and Planet League also supports UCL’s recognition in other areas. Earlier this year, UCL was awarded the ''University of the Year 2024'' by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide. The guide highlighted our new and 'visionary' UCL East Campus and the prominence of our climate change experts in the media. 

Despite these achievements, UCL acknowledges several areas for improvement raised by the People and Planet League. Active steps are being taken to address these concerns, and we are working on a new UCL Sustainability Plan, set to launch in Spring 2024, collaborating with experts from the community to align with the UCL 2022-2027 Strategic Plan. 

The introduction of the UCL Grand Challenge on the Climate Crisis, coupled with the appointment of the new Pro-Vice-Provosts, Prof. Mark Maslin and Prof. Lisa Vanhala, further reinforces UCL's commitment and efforts in addressing climate change and sustainability. We invite our community to join this exciting phase in our sustainability journey, acknowledging both the progress made and the challenges ahead.  

Related links: