Stage 1 Guidance Notes

Stage 1 deadline is NOON on Wednesday 9 September 2020.

The Green Gown Awards are open to all post-16 educational institutions (further or higher education institutions, work-based or adult and community learning providers) in the UK and Ireland.

Click here for the categories and criteria

Applications are also encouraged from third parties such as catering suppliers, waste companies, transport providers, accommodation providers, architects etc. Third party organisations working or partnering with post-16 educational institutions may enter on behalf on an institution, but an institution employee must approve the application. Any such listings, including the Award, will use the institution's name and not to the third party organisation, unless when filling out the application form, and working with a third party, you have stated how the partnership should be named in the communication, if selected, as a Finalist.

AND REMEMBER, judges also have the discretion to award up to two winners for each category representing  a large and a small institution. However, this will only be done when applications are of a high quality and is not mandatory for judges to do so. Small institution applications are measured against an annual turnover of £50 million or below.

Initiatives which won or were highly commended in the previous two years will not be considered for this year’s awards, unless they can provide evidence of further, significant improvement since the last application and this improvement is clearly documented in the application form. They could also consider applying to the Sustainability Institution of the Year category provided that there is evidence of further improvement since the last Award. Other initiatives from the institutions concerned, or ones which were previously submitted but unsuccessful, can be re-submitted, again with the condition that they provide documented evidence of further, significant improvements since the previous submission.

Background Information

The Green Gown Awards is a two stage application process. The benefits of a two stage process are to make it easier for applicants; to enable a feedback process to achieve a more uniform quality in the applications seen by the full judging panel; and to allow recognition of a greater number of initiatives (through publication of a considerable number of finalist entries).

Stage 1 involves a short application form. A panel of sector experts will assess these to produce a list of finalists for each category. These finalist entries will then be invited to submit a fuller application for stage 2 and the deadline for submission is Monday 7th December 2020. These will then be assessed by a larger judging panel with experts from both inside and outside further and higher education at a special judgement day. This panel will select winning, and highly commended, entries for each category from the finalists. The Awards will be announced and presented at the Green Gown Awards Ceremony to be held in March 2021, venue/date to be confirmed.

Filling in the Stage 1 Application Form

The stage 1 application process will involve consideration of a large number of entries, many of which are likely to be on similar topics. Applications which stand out through their clear signalling of achievements and succinct descriptions of work done and benefits achieved, will have a greater chance of progressing to stage 2. 

Top tip: Give your entry a short, catchy title and be as descriptive as possible with your project summary. A catchy name will also help you stand out from the crowd.

Please note, the minimum font size is Arial 10pt and you must not exceed the pages stated for both stage 1 and stage 2. Applications need to be sent in Word format (and not PDF). 

Other than the application form, no other background materials, web links or appendices etc. will be accepted or examined for either stage 1 or stage 2 applications, so please do not send. Shortlisted stage 2 applicants will be invited to submit their institution's logo and one project image as well as being encouraged to produce a short 2-minute animation (in the form of a video, vlog, infographics or other) to support the dissemination of their project.

Generic Criteria:

To make a strong application please provide facts and figures to support your application and meet all the criteria within your chosen category. You should also include the following generic criteria:

Organisational Categories

Please cover the following topics in your application:

Cover Page - General Information: If the application is being made by a third party, or other non-academic body, please obtain prior approval from the institution, and provide a contact at the institution.

Sustainability Development Goals (SDG): Please select up to four SDGs that your application particularly delivers against. As educators for future generations of leaders, post-16 education has a critical responsibility for the successful implementation and realisation of the SDGs. Education is a transformational element in realising all goals. This is NOT a part of the judging process but will be used in various marketing communications and campaigns as a collective of all applications to illustrate the role of applicants in delivering the SDGs. Click here for more information on the SDGs.  

Where possible, please record the annual carbon savings you have/will achieve with your initiative. if your initiative does not have any carbon savings please leave this area blank. If your initiative is a long-term project, then please state over how many years. This is NOT a part of the judging process but will be used in various marketing communications and campaigns as a collective of all applications.

Project Title and Summary: Please make it as ‘catchy’ and descriptive as possible. If you are selected as a Finalist, this text will be included in the Finalists’ Brochure. We receive many applications – a catchy name helps you stand out from the crowd.

Organisational Profile: You must provide the relevant information and include a short profile of your organisation. These figures are used, if selected, in the Finalists’ and Winners’ Brochures.

Organisation’s External Accreditations. Please list here any standards/ accreditations you have that are relevant to your application. Judges are looking for excellent initiatives that go beyond expected good standards and accreditations. 

The Initiative: Describe the initiative, covering topics such as the activities undertaken; reasons for doing it; timescale; costs (in cash and staff time); current status (on-going, completed etc.); departments/organisations involved; any external recognition. Include quantitative data/cost data/budget analysis. We recommend you to provide as much evidence and supporting text here as you can. If there is a lot of data you want to include try and summarise it as much as possible. Please do not use links to external websites as judges may not necessarily review all the information so if possible include important elements here. We also want to hear about how the project was funded, what level of funding it received, which partners you worked with as well as any financial benefits gained from the project. For those categories asking for a holistic, whole life-cycle approach, the application must focus on the whole life-cycle and not on an individual campaign(s).

The Environmental and Social Benefits: Summarise the benefits. Benefits may relate to operational outcomes, environmental/social outcomes, sector benefits. Provide as much quantification as possible, making maximum use of normalised measures (e.g. energy per FTE or square metre of floor space) and be consistent in use of units. Be sure to highlight distinctive features (e.g. levels of energy and water efficiency saving, success in reducing car usage). Summarise the sustainable procurement practices – covering initiatives you used and any obstacles you encountered. What procurement practices were put into place as a result of your project? Has this resulted in a positive shift in attitude? Or in future procurement activities? Describe any financial implications as a result of your procurement practices? How were circular economy principles used? What are your project’s legal requirements versus what you have done over and beyond these standard requirements?

Top 3 learnings from implementing your project: Please write in the “first person” (i.e. I, we, our etc.). This is NOT a part of the judging process but will be used in various marketing communications and campaigns as well as the Finalists’ Brochure, website etc. Please include your institutions / nominee’s / teams top 3 learnings from implementing the project in 3 short bullets. This can act as words of advice to others who may be starting out on their projects. Please keep these short – max. 15 words per item.

Project Specific Supporting Materials: If your initiative relates to a visual or virtual campaign you can include a URL and/or images to illustrate this. Please do not include unless relevant to your application as they will not be viewed. You need to enter the images within the boxes within the application form and not send as separate files. (~See note below on file sizes.)

Reporting with Influence Category (previously Total Reporting)

For this category we only need your contact details, a web link to your publicly available sustainability report and a short summary. We also ask for some marketing text which will be used if you are selected as a Finalist. Please ensure you complete the correct application form for this category.

Individual Categories - Research with Impact - Student, Sustainability Champion - Staff & Student

INDIVIDUALS/TEAMS MUST COMPLETE THE FORM THEMSELVES AND BE NOMINATED BY A MANAGER OR PEER. THE NOMINEE IS THE PERSON FILLING OUT THE FORM AND BEING PUT FORWARD FOR THE INDIVIDUAL AWARD. THE PROPOSER IS THE PERSON NOMINATING THE INDIVIDUAL.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO THE PROPOSER: BY SIGNING THIS FORM, YOU ARE VERIFYING THAT THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE APPLICATION ABOUT THE NOMINEE (INDIVIDUAL OR TEAM) IS TRUE TO THE BEST OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE.

Please complete the application in the first person.

Please cover the following topics in your application:

Cover Page - General Information: Provide details of both the nominee and the proposer.

Sustainability Development Goals (SDG): Please select up to four SDGs that your application particularly delivers against. As educators for future generations of leaders, post-16 education has a critical responsibility for the successful implementation and realisation of the SDGs. Education is a transformational element in realising all goals. This is NOT a part of the judging process but will be used in various marketing communications and campaigns as a collective of all applications to illustrate the role of applicants in delivering the SDGs. Click here for more information on the SDGs.  

Where possible, please record the annual carbon savings you have/will achieve with your initiative. if your initiative does not have any carbon savings please leave this area blank. If your initiative is a long-term project, then please state over how many years. This is NOT a part of the judging process but will be used in various marketing communications and campaigns as a collective of all applications.

Individual Summary: Explain succinctly what you have achieved. Please make it as ‘catchy’ and descriptive as possible. If you are selected as a Finalist, this text will be included in the Finalists’ Brochure.

Organisational Profile: You must provide the relevant information and include a short profile of your organisation. These figures are used, if selected, in the Finalists’ and Winners’ Brochures.

Organisation’s External Accreditations. Please list here any standards/ accreditations you have that are relevant to your application.

The Individual: Why do you think you deserves to win? What actions have you taken to make you stand out? Include how your actions were over and above the normal requirements. Include any recognition received within and beyond their institution. Describe your actions, covering topics such as the activities undertaken; reasons for doing it; timescale; costs (in cash and time); current status (on-going, completed etc.); departments/organisations involved. Include quantitative data/cost data/budget analysis where available. We recommend you to provide as much evidence and supporting text here as you can. If there is a lot of data you want to include try and summarise it as much as possible. Please do not use links to external websites as judges may not necessarily review all the information so include important elements here.

Impacts and Benefits: Summarise the impact and benefits from your actions. Benefits may relate to positive impacts on their peers, institution, students, local community, workforce or other. Provide evidence of impact, any aspects of positive sustainable procurement outcomes (if relevant) and good leadership/championing practice and how you have engaged and inspired others.  How were circular economy principles used? (If relevant.) Include any positive unexpected outcomes from your actions. Describe how you have gone over and beyond standard job requirements?

Top 3 learnings from implementing your project: Please write in the “first person” (i.e. I, we, our etc.). This is NOT a part of the judging process but will be used in various marketing communications and campaigns as well as the Finalists’ Brochure, website etc. Please include your nominee’s / teams top 3 learnings from implementing the project in 3 short bullets. This can act as words of advice to others who may be starting out on their projects. Please keep these short – max. 15 words per item.

Project Specific Supporting Materials: If your initiative relates to a visual or virtual campaign you can include a URL and/or images to illustrate this. Please do not include unless relevant to your application as they will not be viewed. You need to enter the images within the boxed above and not send as separate files. (~See note below on file sizes.)

Outstanding Leadership Team of the Year Category

This category only has one stage but the selected Finalists will be asked to present live at the Awards Ceremony where guests will vote for the winning team. 

TO BE COMPLETED BY THE TEAM LEAD APPLICANT AND MUST BE ENDORSED BY A SENIOR MANAGER (E.G. VICE CHANCELLOR/PRINCIPAL).

Please complete the application in the first person (i.e. we/our).

Please cover the following topics in your application:

Cover Page - General Information: Provide details of both the nominee and the proposer.

Sustainability Development Goals (SDG): Please select up to four SDGs that your application particularly delivers against. As educators for future generations of leaders, post-16 education has a critical responsibility for the successful implementation and realisation of the SDGs. Education is a transformational element in realising all goals. This is NOT a part of the judging process but will be used in various marketing communications and campaigns as a collective of all applications to illustrate the role of applicants in delivering the SDGs. Click here for more information on the SDGs.  

Where possible, please record the annual carbon savings you have/will achieve with your initiative. if your initiative does not have any carbon savings please leave this area blank. If your initiative is a long-term project, then please state over how many years. This is NOT a part of the judging process but will be used in various marketing communications and campaigns as a collective of all applications.

Team Summary: Explain succinctly what your team has achieved. Please make it as ‘catchy’ and descriptive as possible. If you are selected as a Finalist, this text will be included in the Finalists’ Brochure.

Organisational Profile: You must provide the relevant information and include a short profile of your organisation. These figures are used, if selected, in the Finalists’ and Winners’ Brochures.

Organisation’s External Accreditations. Please list here any standards/ accreditations you have that are relevant to your application.

The Team: Why do you think your team deserves to win? What actions have your team taken to make you stand out? Include how your team's actions were over and above the normal requirements. Include any recognition received within and beyond their institution. Describe your actions, covering topics such as the activities undertaken; reasons for doing it; timescale; costs (in cash and time); current status (on-going, completed etc.); departments/organisations involved. Include quantitative data/cost data/budget analysis where available. We recommend you to provide as much evidence and supporting text here as you can. If there is a lot of data you want to include try and summarise it as much as possible. Please do not use links to external websites as judges may not necessarily review all the information so include important elements here.

Impacts and Benefits: Summarise the impact and benefits from your team's actions. Benefits may relate to positive impacts on peers, institution, students, local community, workforce or other. Provide evidence of impact, any aspects of positive sustainable procurement outcomes (if relevant) and good leadership/championing practice and how your team has engaged and inspired others.  How were circular economy principles used? (If relevant.) Include any positive unexpected outcomes from your actions. Describe how your team has gone over and beyond standard job requirements?

Leadership and Engagement: Please summarise what you feel is distinctive about your team’s actions. How does your team’s role sit within the institution’s strategy, values and ethos? Have any of your actions had an impact in this area? Also include information on any communication/engagement about your actions. Include numbers involved.

Wider Societal Benefit: Please outline the wider societal impact and value of your application. What is the impact of your team to society outside of your institution, staff and students? What is the legacy of your team as it benefits wider society? Provide evidence of the impact.

Graduate Employer Impact: Please outline the impact and value of your team’s application to graduate employers. How has your application improved graduate employability attributes that will attract them to potential employers? What is the legacy of your team as it benefits graduate employers? Provide evidence of the impact.

Top 3 learnings from implementing your project: Please write in the “first person” (i.e. I, we, our etc.). This is NOT a part of the judging process but will be used in various marketing communications and campaigns as well as the Finalists’ Brochure, website etc. Please include your nominee’s / teams top 3 learnings from implementing the project in 3 short bullets. This can act as words of advice to others who may be starting out on their projects. Please keep these short – max. 15 words per item.

What would it mean to your institution to win a Green Gown Award?: To be completed by your Vice Chancellor/Principal.

Project Specific Supporting Materials: If your initiative relates to a visual or virtual campaign you can include a URL and/or images to illustrate this. Please do not include unless relevant to your application as they will not be viewed. You need to enter the images within the boxed above and not send as separate files. (~See note below on file sizes.)

~File Sizes: If your initiative relates to a visual or virtual campaign you can include a URL and/or images to illustrate this. Please do not include unless relevant to your application as they will not be viewed. IMPORTANT – in order to keep file sizes small, if you do submit any images, please ensure you do the following: Click on an image – select “picture format” from the top menu – “compress picture” – apply to all pictures in the document and tick the “delete cropped areas of pictures”. Save. The file size of the saved document must be under 3MBs. You need to enter the images within the boxes above and not send as separate files.

Marketing Information

The Application Form asks for certain types of information which is not a part of the entry but will be used in various marketing campaigns, individually or combined (Finalists' and Winners' Brochures, case study pages, website etc.). If successful and going on to become a Finalist, applicants will be asked at Stage 2, for their institution's logo and an accompanying project/individual photograph. Further information will be provided at Stage 2.

Judging Criteria

The judging will be based on a composite view of the application, taking account of the above criteria within the application form, and the specific criteria of the Award category.

For Application Forms, click here.
For Conditions of Entry, click here.
For Categories and Criteria, click here.