Swansea University has received a 2:1 honours award for its environmental performance in the UK’s greenest universities league tables.

Swansea University has leapt an incredible 52 places, making it one of the most improved universities in the UK after scoring the maximum points available in Student and Staff Engagement, Curriculum and Environmental Policy. It also increased its score this year in Sustainable Food, Staffing and Carbon Management; working closely with the Students’ Union to improve its green performance.

The People and Planet Green League awards degree-style classifications to universities in the UK based on environmental and ethical management and performance. There is tough competition as students try to turn their universities into sustainable institutions. In 2011 Swansea University was placed 122nd out of 138 institutions- equivalent to a ‘fail’ in the Green League- but this year has jumped to 70th out of 145.

The university held its first Sustainability Month in March 2012; which saw an impressive staff and student attendance at a diverse range of events including a sustainability speed seminar and a campus wildlife walk. The university has also improved its recycling rate and reduced water use; despite a continued growth in its research activity.

Professor Iwan Davies, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Internationalisation, with a responsibility for Estates Management said: “We are very happy with the rapid improvement to our ranking in the Green League and look forward to being recognised for our work in this field into the future.

“This year has seen the University’s new Sustainability Team introducing, and better coordinating, green initiatives across our campus. Our staff and students have really stepped up to the mark in helping the University improve its performance in this area, and it is thanks to all of them that we can take pride in our new league status.”

Dr Heidi Smith, the University’s Sustainability Manager said: “Swansea University is delighted with its improved position in this year’s Green League. This was a result of key work undertaken during the year including a new Sustainability Policy, the introduction of initiatives such as a student allotment, the Brighter Futures Fund, and staff and student competitions and awareness campaigns on campus.

“Although this demonstrates excellent progress, we recognise that there is still much we can do to improve further the University’s environmental performance. As a research intensive university, reducing our use of natural resources is going to be difficult for us compared to some other institutions; however, we are determined, through staff and student engagement, to become as efficient as we possibly can.”

Part-time Environment and Ethics Officer Rob Abrams has written a blog detailing his views on the successes and failures of Swansea University’s environmental performance that can be found here: http://swanseaunienvironment.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/swansea-university-success-and-failure-in-the-green-league/