Welcome to the Green Gown Awards blogs section! You will find a mixture of blogs from our winners and finalists as well as partners, company members, and of course, ourselves.

These aim to be interesting, informative and inspirational! Together, we believe we can lead and empower the post-16 education sector to make sustainability 'just good business'. These Green Gown Award blogs will help show what is happening across the sector from different perspectives and how we can work together to make a better tomorrow.

If you are a finalist and have a blog post you would like to submit - just email us.

COP26: Not just for world leaders and corporates - what can you do?

We look at what SMEs and the further education sector can learn from COP26. Two sectors that are often overlooked when it comes to climate change, but have a considerable impact.

We hear from Russell Burton at Hillside Environmental Services. Read more here

Re-thinking best practise – environmental sustainability in research

The research community can only tackle the huge challenges posed by climate change and biodiversity loss by working together to embed sustainability at the very heart of higher education research and innovation, says Alison Robinson, NERC Deputy Executive Chair. More here.

Ground Source Heat Pumps: An Effective Technology for Reducing Carbon across University Estates

Salix Finance's Natasha Mylett looks at how universities across the UK are continuing to develop and deliver their estate-wide carbon management plans in spite of the pandemic and a number of challenges facing Higher Education institutions. Read more here.

Now is the time to take climate action

EAUC CEO, Iain Patton gives us the takeaways from the recent UK and Ireland Green Gown Awards Judging. More here.

Emerald and the SDG Publishers Compact

Sharon Parkinson, Senior Journals Publisher at Emerald Publishing, explores how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Publishers Compact is designed to inspire action among publishers and accelerate progress to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Find out more here.

Net Zero. The start, the path, and the goal

Richard Murphy, Managing Director at The Energy Consortium, looks at what we can do to start to decarbonise our lives and institutions as we work towards achieving Net Zero.

Find out more here.

Awarding a Sustainable Future for Education

As a company that prides itself on strong values, Salix is delighted to 

support the dedicated work that higher and further education institutions have contributed to the UK climate agenda over the past year. Find out why they support the Green Gown Awards here.

Universities and colleges embedding sustainability to encourage positive change

Advance HE is proud to be a partner of the Green Gown Awards which put a spotlight on the innovative and inspiring sustainability work taking place in universities and colleges to create a brighter future for their students. Read more here.

Potential mandatory food waste reporting and other changes down the line for FE and HE

Julie Barker, Non-Executive Director of College and University Business Officers (CUBO), and founder of Julie Barker Associates talks to the EAUC around the ever-burning need to address the finite resources being consumed, the changes that the industry has already made and the business-critical issue of potential mandatory food waste reporting. Read more here

Climate Crisis is the Mega Challenge and Opportunity facing the Education Sector –

Climate change was the clear mega trend UK universities and colleges need to better recognise - so say judges of the 2019 Green Gown Awards. Read more here.

Five examples of campus innovation from the 2019 Green Gown Awards

Nominees for the Campus of the Future category at the annual Green Gown awards offer some great examples of innovation and emerging technologies on the university estate. Read more here.

UUK Blog: Universities must help secure a sustainable future for our planet

The concept of sustainability may not be on the minds of every university staff member or student, but in light of significant global challenges, universities must do all they can to help protect our planet and those that depend on it for survival. Dave Gorman, Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability University of Edinburgh, writes for UUK. Read more here.

Advance HE Blog: Developing Skills and Capabilities Relevant to Sustainability  

From Ayrshire College, which is delivering courses to create the next generation of environmentally conscious teachers, to Sutton College, which is working with care homes to tackle the issue of recruitment and high turnover of staff in the care home sector, the initiatives being undertaken by institutions to help secure a sustainable future are increasingly varied. Learn more  here

Food for Life

Soil Association's Food for Life Served Here award is used to great effect by universities to add to their sustainability credentials. The award provides guidance on topics such as animal welfare, sustainable fish, ethical and local sourcing, seasonality, and many other issues that are key in sustainable food. Following on from the Food for Life Menu at this year's Green Gown Awards, the Soil Association tell us about the importance of building sustainability into our menus and working practices from the outset. Read more here.

Inspiring the next generation to take on the challenges of sustainability  

Our 2018 Green Gown Award Ceremony host, Helen Browning, OBE, sees inspiring the next generation to take on the challenges of sustainability as an issue at the centre of her personal journey in food, farming and the environment. It is also a central part of what the Soil Association does, including training the next generation of Future Growers and serving 32,000 meals in universities every day through the Food For Life scheme. Find out more about how Helen is helping to inspire future generations to tackle sustainability challenges here

Creating a sustainable healthy menu

On 8th November the Green Gown Awards, hosted at the National Railway Museum, will honour the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the UK and Ireland. As an event recognising the sustainability of others, it is only right that we demonstrate these values and we’ve worked to create a healthy and sustainable menu to be enjoyed by our guests. Helen Beresford-Boyse gives an insight into how this was achieved. Read more

Our sustainable print partner - Seacourt’s Planet Positive PrintingTM

Thanks to print firm Seacourt, our 2018 Green Gown Awards UK & Ireland Finalists’ Brochure and Guest Directory continues to be the greenest possible – in fact more natural resources were given back than were consumed in its printing.  Printed on carbon neutral, 100% recycled paper using 100% VOC-free inks and LightTouchTM print technology – waterless, free of harmful chemicals and instantly dried by LED. It is produced by a circular economy business - Seacourt is zero waste, powered by 100% renewable energy and certified by ClimateCare as Beyond Carbon Neutral. It’s important to practice what you preach. We caught up with Seacourt’s Client Partner, Mark Pickford, about how Seacourt became so sustainable.  Read more…

My fall and rise in a creative career using recycled glass (UK & Ireland Green Gown Awards)

With only a few weeks to go until our Winners are announced, we asked our creative trophy artist ,Adele Billinghay, what goes in to designing a Green Gown Award. Design is one thing, but perhaps more important are the sustainability elements.    

“I have been fortunate to be asked to make the Green Gown Awards since 2009 but my career with recycled glass actually began by accident – quite literally! Read more ...

Building Opportunity and Resilience to Tackle an Uncertain Future for Universities and Colleges

Uncertainty and civic responsibility are mega trends UK universities and colleges need to better recognise - so say judges of the 2018 Green Gown Awards.

A panel of over 100 national and international judges – a who’s who of leading names from the education, business and sustainability worlds – met to judge the 2018 Green Gown Award Finalists at the PwC Headquarters in London on Friday 28th September. They represented institutions including United Nations Environment, Unilever, Goldman Sachs, Advance HE, Marks and Spencer, National Union of Students – among many more. Read more...

Continuous Improvement on Sustainability is Fundamental to Institutional Change (UK & Ireland Green Gown Awards)

Jenny Jamieson, Policy Officer and Outcome Manager of EAUC Scotland in the Research and Innovation Directorate at the Scottish Funding Council outlines why continuous improvement on sustainability is fundamental to institutional change.  Jenny is also a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. 

The Scottish Funding Council is proud to sponsor the category ‘Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change’ in 2017 for the Green Gown Awards UK and Ireland.  This category resonates with much of what the Scottish Funding Council is aiming to achieve, both in the college and university sectors in Scotland and with the ambitions of many of our stakeholders. Read more...

Running a Sustainable Catering Operation (UK & Ireland Green Gown Awards)

Matt White, Chair of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO), looks at the approaches higher and further education institutions are implementing to reduce the environmental impact of catering outlets. 

“We are very proud to once again be sponsoring the Green Gown Awards. It is imperative that the higher and further education sector continues to look for new ways to drive sustainability and it’s inspiring to see the incredible steps this year’s finalists are making in this area. Read more...

Green Gowns: Making Educated Choices Around the Environment (UK & Ireland Green Gown Awards)

We spoke to Emily Gingell, Marketing Assistant for publication University Business (Green Gown Awards media partner) about how post-16 education can lead the way in embedding sustainability.

In today’s fast-paced HE landscape, universities are focusing more than ever on going greener. Sustainability is a key strategic issue for today’s universities; not only is it a way for them to proactively contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly society, but it can also help them to stand out from their competitors. Read more...

Sustainable Printing the Seacourt Way (UK & Ireland Green Gown Awards)

Thanks to print firm Seacourt, our 2017 Green Gown Awards brochure is the greenest ever produced.  It is printed on carbon neutral, 100% recycled paper using vegetable-based, VOC-free inks, using LightTouch print technology - waterless and free of harmful chemicals. It is produced by a circular economy business - Seacourt is zero waste, powered by 100% renewable energy and certified by ClimateCare as Beyond Carbon Neutral. It’s important to practice what you preach.
We spoke to Seacourt MD Gareth Dinnage about how Seacourt became so sustainable. Read more...

Green Gowns: From Eco Designs to Ocean Clean Up (UK & Ireland Green Gown Awards)

Linda Thomas owns Linda Thomas Eco Design and creates the iconic green gowns bestowed upon Green Gown Award winners. Find out about her journey from Green Gowns to Marine Waste in here own words.

"I became in involved with EAUC in 2015 after my eco dresses were in a fashion show at Colston Hall, Bristol for part of European Green Capital and Big Green Week. I liked that EAUC had joined up thinking and was celebrating sustainability in a sustainable way. Read more...

Green Gowns Judging and the Hot Topics in Education (UK & Ireland Green Gown Awards)

Iain Patton, CEO at the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), talked to representatives from the education, business and sustainability sectors about megatrends in education.

Sustainability is fast becoming the most frequently used term in strategic thinking. You will find it across all sectors and in many guises – call it ‘corporate responsibility’, ‘resilience’, ‘environmental management’, ‘the circular economy’ – it all comes back to creating processes that meets the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.