University of Manchester wins top prize at Green Gown Awards

Green Gown Award winnerThe University has won the ‘2030 Climate Action’ prize at the prestigious UK & Ireland Green Gown Awards in recognition of its “forward looking and innovative” work to decarbonise the University’s operations.

The Green Gown Awards celebrate the innovative and change making initiatives and projects in sustainability across the further and higher education sectors, and the University of Manchester claimed the top prize for work supporting its new Environmental Sustainability strategy, which launched in July 2023.

The judges said that they were “impressed with the honest, forward looking, innovative, transferrable, scalable and holistic approaches involving carbon budgeting to help deliver the University’s Zero Carbon Masterplan with effective ongoing evaluation and realistic assessment of outputs yet to be realised.”

The team collected their award at a ceremony at the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool on Thursday, 30 November.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, said: “Winning the prize is a powerful signal to our community about the seriousness with which we are working to our zero carbon target. Our entry is a great example of academic and professional services staff working together and success would be valuable recognition for them.”

Richard Smith, Head of Environmental Sustainability, added: “We are thrilled that the University has been recognised at this year’s Green Gown Awards. We pride ourselves on basing everything we do on what science demands of us. Our target was devised by our colleagues at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and achieving it requires consistent, urgent action.”  

The work on this initiative has been shared with other HE institutions and city neighbours as we rise to the challenge of climate change together. This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of all our colleagues involved in putting this initiative together and making it come to life.”

So far, the University has secured £157.3m of funding from internal and external sources to deliver its sustainability goals.

We have already begun implementing the strategy with our first air-source heat pumps now in operation, and our first heat pump-only building in construction ready to go live early next year, with much more to come. 

The Environmental Sustainability strategy builds on our core goals of Teaching and Learning, Research and Discovery and Social Responsibility and stresses the need for all decisions to be taken in the light of our existing carbon commitments.

It also highlights six priority operational areas, all linking back to the United Nations Sustainability Goals: Construction and Refurbishment; Risk and Climate Resilience; Responsible Procurement; Resource Management; Valuing Nature; Travel and Transport.

Charlotte Bonner, CEO, EAUC, who deliver the Green Gown Awards, said: “The Green Gown Awards celebrate the most innovative and impactful work being done by those working in the post-16 education sector. The projects, initiatives and people showcased through the awards this year are, as ever, inspirational – it’s been a privilege to be part of the judging. I look forward to seeing them flourish in future and to using their examples to springboard further action for sustainability.”

The 2023 UK & Ireland Awards are held in association with UK Research and Innovation. Now in its 19th year, the 2023 results showcase 20 Winner and 17 Highly Commended institutions.