Post-16 education proving key to reaching Sustainable Development Goals

6th July 2017

This year’s UK and Ireland Green Gown Awards’ finalists are proving post-16 education is at the forefront of the effort to deliver solutions to the most pressing global challenges of our time.

Having been a leading participant in the United Nations negotiations to develop 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development – the UK and Ireland must fulfil its commitment to deliver the Goals. For this to happen, it is clear from the hundreds of applicants to the Green Gown Awards that the Government must invest more in the solutions being developed in our Higher and Further Education institutes. They are leading the way as agents of change within our communities at home and abroad.

After a tough judging session, the applicants have been whittled down to 113 finalists across 15 categories. These projects range from electric pool cars to music albums dedicated to climate change. They include ambitious zero carbon targets, pioneering new ways to create heat sources from waste and the largest Passivhaus building in the UK.

The finalists represent nearly 1.5 million students and just under a quarter of a million members of staff leading the way with their commitment to the global Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs).

Some are ensuring sustainability is at the heart and stomach of their kitchens. Others have looked at the journey fashion products take from raw materials to final garment; worked internationally making sustainable differences in sanitation; and enabled students to learn about biodiversity by anthropomorphising animals on social media. The variation and creativity is heartening and reflective of sustainability forcing its way up the list of global priorities.

This year, applicants were tasked with outlining how their sustainability projects incorporated the global SDGs for the first time. All applicants listed at least one SDG they were delivering. Two thirds (66%) of this year’s finalists - making it the most popular - listed ‘sustainable cities and communities’ as an SDG they are delivering. Meanwhile just under half (46%) are working towards ‘responsible consumption and production’ and one in two put forward projects that improved ‘quality education’. There are also some surprising development goals being tackled in tertiary education, with 37% stating they are delivering against the ‘climate action’ SDG and one in four delivering ‘industry, innovation and infrastructure’.

Between the finalists, the projects touch on every department and permeate across the whole curriculum. They are conducted by students, staff, academics, external stakeholders and can be found all across the UK and Ireland. These initiatives are a shining example of the power post-16 education possesses and the seriousness with which it takes its responsibility in creating a better world and a new generation of leaders.

Iain Patton, Chief Executive at the EAUC, said: “With the EAUC’s new strategy to reposition and align sustainability around key institutional priorities and challenges, this year’s Green Gown Award applications reflect the potential of sustainability to solve the sectors most critical problems. Every day, tireless environmental and sustainability leaders across the UK and Ireland are driving change and making sustainability just good business. The Green Gown Awards exist to give them the recognition and platform they need to do even more.”

Winners are announced on 15 November 2017 at The Monastery, Manchester. 

More information is available at

Green Gown Awards 2017 - Finalists:
Best Newcomer
Borders College - Flushed with success! A UK first in sustainable energy from waste water
MidKent College - We can see the wood from the trees!
Northumbria University - Improving sustainability together – our success story (so far…)
Southampton Solent University - Environmental and sustainability strategy – Waste improvement project

Carbon Reduction
Category Supporter: The Energy Consortium
Goldsmiths, University of London - The Energy Detectives – investigating and solving energy waste across campus
Newcastle University - Newcastle University’s car(bon) reduction
Northumbria University - From carbon ambitions to carbon success
The College of West Anglia - Greening West Anglia
The London School of Economics and Political Science - Achieving carbon reductions above and beyond the basics!
The University of Nottingham - Medical School carbon reduction strategies
University of Chester - Lights, solar, action!
University of Reading - Smashing 35

Anglia Ruskin University - Sustainable Sainji: A community focused learning partnership
Ayrshire College - The Older Adult Group
Coventry University, The University of Warwick and Coventry City Council - Green Week takes Coventry by storm (or soup)
Durham University - Green Move Out
Durham University - Van Mildert College Outreach
Sheffield Hallam University - Snug not smug
Students’ Union at Bournemouth University - Down by the river- BU students connecting the local community to wildlife
University of Bradford Union of Students - Choices 4 all: Get out be active
University of Brighton - Community21 – Embedding the University of Brighton School of Architecture and Design into a local and international sustainable development network
University of the West of England, Bristol - Hands on Bristol - Live architecture lab

Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change#
Category Supporter: Scottish Funding Council
Aston University - Embedding sustainability at Aston University
Canterbury Christ Church University - Building a sustainable future: From start to beginning
Goldsmiths, University of London - Continually greening Goldsmiths
London Metropolitan University - Going above and beyond!
University of Edinburgh - Zero by 2040 – The University of Edinburgh’s climate strategy
University of Leicester - Leicester: Talkin’ bout our evolution

Leeds Trinity University - Industry-relevant work experience for every student at Leeds Trinity University
Nottingham Trent University - Future-proof your career
Perth College UHI - Don’t waste your e-waste
Queen Mary University of London - Green Mary careers week
Queen’s University Belfast - Queen’s University Belfast’s ‘Environmental Leadership Programme’
University of Exeter- Dip, Dabble, Dive and Thrive – integrating sustainability in the extra-curriculum
University of the Arts London, London College of Fashion - Balancing the books: Creating a model of responsible fashion business education
University of Wales Trinity Saint David - Inspiring the future generation - INSPIRE student internships

Cardiff University - Realising your business potential
City College Peterborough - CommUNITY meet and eat
Imperial College London - Kenya Jiko Stove
London Metropolitan University - The Big Idea Challenge
Manchester Metropolitan University - MetMUnch
SHRUB Co-op Edinburgh and The University of Edinburgh - Edinburgh’s Swap and Reuse Hub (SHRUB) Co-operative
The University of Nottingham - Enactus Nottingham – Creating business, transforming lives
The University of Warwick - Project Baala: A real solution not insanitary - Student led social impact
University of the Arts London, London College of Fashion - Blockchain in fashion
University of the West of England, Bristol - Team entrepreneurship – Students building sustainable businesses
University of Worcester - Green now white bags: Five years skilling students – a University/City recycling collaboration

Facilities and Services
Loughborough University - Maintaining the green. Living the sporting dream
Middlesex University - MDX freewheelers
Middlesex University - MDX goes green
Sheffield Hallam University - Closing the waste loop
Sheffield Hallam University - Driving towards a sustainable fleet
Sheffield Hallam University - Greening our printing
The University of Birmingham and UniGreenScheme - University of Birmingham trials UniGreenSchemes resale service and in one year diverts 27,500kg into reuse and saves £45,000
University of Cumbria - University of Cumbria utilise AquaFund to smash sustainability goals for water, CO2 emissions and costs
University of Gloucestershire - Power of the purse: Responsible procurement that reaches our people, projects and partners
University of the West of England, Bristol - Together in electric dreams

Food and Drink
Category Supporter: TUCO
Loughborough University - Ditching the disposable for...The Loughborough Cup… Another inspiring winner!
The University of Nottingham - Enactus Nottingham - Foodprint
The University of Winchester - The big Winchester coffee cup innovation of 2016/17: From 3 to 33 in 100
University of Cambridge - Making the right choice easy - Tasty food with a lower environmental impact
University of Chester - Just the VEGANning
University of the West of England, Bristol and The Students’ Union at UWE - Project Fairtrade - Making a world of difference at UWE Bristol

Learning and Skills
Bournemouth University - Greening the screen; facing the challenge of embedding education for sustainable development into higher education media production courses
Nottingham Trent University - Challenge days for challenging times
The University of Manchester - Whole institution sustainability engagement through innovative learning programmes
University of Edinburgh - Vets go green! 
University of Gloucestershire - Lighting the way for sustainability: Educating the educators of Europe as beacons of change

Research and Development
Category Supporter: SALIX
Zainab Bibi - University of Bristol
Thomas Fudge - Brunel University
Emily Haggett - University of Southampton
Jessica Klaver - University College Dublin
Laura J Salisbury - University of the Arts London, London College of Fashion
Gemma Small - University of Salford
Oxford Brookes University - The Green Guide to Specification – An environmental profiling system for construction materials
University of Salford - The Energy House
University of the West of England, Bristol - International Water Security Network

Student Engagement#
Ayrshire College - Park Life
Cranfield University - Bottom up, top down, meet with outstanding student engagement at Cranfield
London Metropolitan University - You heard it through the green vine
London South Bank University - Who cares about the Earth? Whole Earth brings a way to communicate sustainability through photography to our students!
The University of Nottingham - When beasties go large: #beastsofUoN
University of London - Reduce the juice
University of Winchester - This changes everything: 11 songs about climate change
University of Worcester - Go Green Week: From campus to city - students lead the way

Sustainability Reporting
Category Supporter: PwC UK
City University of London
Queen Mary University of London
The London School of Economics and Political Science
University of Cambridge
University of Leeds
University of Oxford
University of the West of England, Bristol
University of Worcester

Leadership Award
Category Supporter: Interface
Angus Allan - South Lanarkshire College
David Duncan - University of Glasgow
Chris Jagger - The University of Nottingham
Professor John O’Halloran - University College Cork
Professor Eunice Simmons - Nottingham Trent University
Professor Christine Willmore - University of Bristol
Sustainability Champion Award
Navdeep Dhuti - London South Bank University
Thomas Haines - The Students’ Union at UWE
Indy Sira - The University of Warwick

Paul Dingley - The Students’ Union at UWE
Bernard Freeman - King’s College London
Sarah Gretton - University of Leicester
Anne Perkins - Aston University
Shaunagh Smith - University of Chester
Dr Michelle Williams - University of Gloucestershire
Sustainability Professional Award
Category Supporter: EAUC
Matthew Arnold - University of Sussex
Paul Crossley - London South Bank University
Georgina Gough - University of the West of England, Bristol
Simon Kemp - University of Southampton
Tom Parkes - University of Brighton
FOOTNOTE: ** revised for 2017
# Included in the International Green Gown Awards
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