2017 GUPES Green Gown Awards Winners

2017 GUPES Green Gown Awards Winners image #1 2017 GUPES Green Gown Awards Winners image #2 2017 GUPES Green Gown Awards Winners image #3

Recognising and rewarding universities across the world that are leading sustainability

The United Nations Environment Programme and the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability are pleased to announce Chiba University in Japan as this year’s GUPES Green Gown Awards Winner.

Chiba University, won for its pioneering Student Committee-led achievement of international Environmental and Energy Management Systems. Chiba University is the only university to have acquired both ISO14001 (2005) and ISO50001 (2013) in Japan and it’s all the more remarkable that this was achieved by student leadership. In order to effectively operate the systems, since 2003, the Student Committee has had a core role in making drafts of environmental objectives and plans for the University, spreading knowledge in students’ guidance and staff meetings, serving as internal auditors of the faculties, and editing environmental reports. In addition, the students carry out various activities such as a used book market, making posters, holding eco classes for young children, making community gardens and much more. From the students’ view, operating the management systems gives them great opportunities to learn about environmental problems and practical business affairs.

On their achievement, Professor Haruaki Nakaya, Vice President for Planning and Personnel Affairs says:

“As a Manager of the university I highly value this project not only for its substantial effects, such as reducing environmental burdens and expenses of the university but also for effectiveness demonstrated on the educational side which is the main job of a university.”

A collective of 5 universities in Switzerland won the Highly Commended Award for the Sustainability Week Zurich. The Sustainability Week Zurich (SWZ) is the largest student run sustainability project in Switzerland. Over the past five years over 300 students from 5 universities and 10 campuses in Zurich have organised over 160 events, attracting over 15,000 visitors. This innovative approach includes the 5 main universities in Zurich: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ), University of Zurich (UZH), Zurich University of Teacher Education (PHZH), Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), and Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW).

So far, the SWZ has directly contributed to the creation of a sustainability delegate position at the University of Zurich (UZH) and prompted the Vice-Chancellor to allocate funds for a sustainability report. Furthermore, it has helped initiate discussions about reducing university airplane emissions.

On their achievement, Michael Hengartner, President, University of Zurich says:

"We are proud to support the efforts of our students to bring more sustainability to Swiss universities and to their communities. This prize will honour their successful volunteer engagement and strong commitment to a more sustainable and just future."

The GUPES Green Gown Awards is a joint initiative supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) that expands the Green Gown Awards further across the globe with an emphasis on recognising and sharing successes for sustainability. This exciting partnership with the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) positions universities and colleges as leaders in sustainability as well as enabling them to continue their learning from global leaders. The GUPES Green Gown Awards were open to GUPES Members across 6 regions (Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America and West Asia). The GUPES Green Gown Award Winner from each of the regions will automatically be entered into the International Green Gown Awards contest. The International Green Gown Awards Ceremony takes place on 16 May 2018 in Marseille, France at the Kedge Business School and GRLI “Global Responsibility Now” event.

Monika MacDevette, Deputy Director, Ecosystems Division, United Nations Environment Programme explains that:

“Universities are a rich source of innovation, commitment and passion for a sustainable future of people and planet in harmony. The GUPES Green Gown Awards showcase this and provide a source of inspiration and can-do spirit that the UN Environment Programme applauds and celebrates.”

The education sector is a critical player in ensuring that future generations are equipped with the skills and experience required to provide a sustainable future. The GUPES Green Gown Awards celebrate those that are taking the bold steps necessary to develop resilience and adaptability and to showcase the education sector’s contribution to society.

Iain Patton, CEO, EAUC said:

“All around the world universities are beacons of hope for a more sustainable future. The GUPES Green Gown Awards recognise and celebrate the powerful contribution of university staff and students and most importantly let us learn and benefit from their excellence.”

The Awards help to achieve the United Nations Environment Assembly Resolution “investing in human capacity for sustainable development through environmental education and training”, the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.