University College Cork’s (UCC) Green Campus Programme is an example of a bottom-up initiative, which was met with a top-down commitment from university management and has resulted in transformational change across the whole institution, where sustainability is now at the heart of all strategies and decision-making processes.
In operation since 2007, UCC Green Campus is “student-led, research-informed, and practice-focused”, and has seen the University become the first in the world to be awarded a Green Flag from the Foundation for Environmental Education and the first in Europe to receive a Gold STARS rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
Highlights over the last number of years include the establishment of the University’s Saver Saves Scheme for energy reductions, the development of an SDG teaching toolkit, the establishment of a Green Campus Living Laboratory Programme, the decision to rewild most of the green space on campus and student climate assemblies.
Annual carbon savings achieved with the initiative:
CO2t savings over the life cycle of the project: 51% (per m2 over 2012 – 2021).
The application provides strong evidence of leadership and the development of institution wide sustainability practices. This is further evidenced by certifications, rankings and KPI improvements. There is clear commitment that has been sustained over a long period of time. The judges noted that this started as a student led initiative that the university leadership bought into and supported.
This is a worthy winner of the Sustainability Institution of the Year.
"This award is fitting recognition of the genuine commitment to sustainability at University College Cork. UCC prides itself on being Ireland’s “Green” University and of sharing our learnings across the sector and beyond. We are committed to delivering a better future for us and our planet."
Professor John O’Halloran, President