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East Midlands Chamber News

Nottingham's two universities ranked among world's most sustainable institutions

Nottingham’s two universities have both been ranked in the top four of the world’s most sustainable higher education institutions.

The University of Nottingham placed third and Nottingham Trent University was fourth in the UI Green Metric.

Produced by the Universitas Indonesia, it is the only university ranking in the world that measures each participating university’s commitment in developing an “environmentally friendly” infrastructure.

The 2020 rankings, which including more than 900 universities from 84 countries, looked at six indicators: setting and infrastructure, energy and climate change, waste, water, transportation and education.

How University of Nottingham is building sustainability strategy

Since first taking part in 2010, the University of Nottingham has consistently been placed in the top four.

In the past year, it published a university strategy putting sustainability at the heart of the institution’s core goals and committing to joining the city of Nottingham in its ambitions to become carbon-neutral by 2028. In March 2020, the university joined other institutions in declaring a climate emergency.

New ambitious carbon reduction targets are being developed using a science-based approach to ensure the university achieves its “fair share” in reducing global emissions below 1.5 degrees.

John Atherton, pro vice chancellor and chairman of the university's sustainability committee, said: “The University of Nottingham is delighted to once again be recognised for the hard work it is doing to embed environmental sustainability across the institution and make it an integral part of our education and research.

“Our global research programme includes a focus on sustainable food production and future food security, green chemicals to tackle greenhouse gases, and sustainable propulsion.

“Year-on-year, we have reduced our carbon dioxide emissions on campus, achieving a total reduction of 40% since 2009 and exceeding the target set in 2010 by almost 2,000 tonnes.”

Nottingham Trent University takes top five spot for fourth year running

Nottingham Trent University improved on last year’s ranking of fifth place by jumping into the top four.

It was the only UK institution to score full marks in the education section, which looked at factors such as the number of publications, events and student organisations related to sustainability.

Among its achievements were diverting 99% of waste from landfill this year, planting 18,000 trees over the past four years and launching a Plastic Planet initiative to drive down single-use plastic use in areas such as the print shop and catering. Carbon emissions have now been reduced by 51% since 2005.

Delegates from universities in Chile, South Korea, Australia and Austria have visited NTU in recent years to understand how to be more sustainable.

Head of sustainability Charmaine Morrell said: “It’s great to see NTU recognised as one of the top five sustainable universities in the world for the fourth year in a row, as well as improving our ranking this year.

“This reflects the strong leadership and teamwork of NTU – not only the hard work of the estates team, but the commitment of staff and students to embed sustainable practices across our university."

The Nottingham universities were only beaten by Wageningen University & Research, in the Netherlands, which took the top spot, and the University of Oxford.