York continues to drop in ‘Green League’ rankings

Credit: People and Planet

Credit: People and Planet

The University of York has been ranked 83rd in the 2011 People and Planet Green League out of 142 universities for its environment and ethics performance.

York gained a performance score of eight and a total score of 28.5, putting it towards the bottom of the table after being awarded a “2:2” by the organisation. Last year, the University of York ranked joint 48 and was awarded a “2:1″ classification.

York lost marks in the Environmental Auditing & Management Systems, Carbon Reduction, and Renewable Energy sections, and scored zero in Sustainable Foods.

The League assessed 142 universities on their actions and attitudes towards green living; Nottingham Trent was named the greenest university with a total score of 53.5, with the Universities of Gloucestershire, Plymouth and Worcester making up the top four. Among the 36 Universities to gain “1st” were St Andrews, Exeter and Oxford Brooks.

The University have recognised that “there is much to do”, however in the first Green League published in June 2007, York came 50th, improving in 2009 to gain a “2:1” and joint 35th place with Keele University.

“Sustainability is one of the four central themes in the University Plan for the next ten years,” commented a University spokesperson. “We are strongly committed to improving our environmental performance and to engaging both staff and students in this endeavour.

“Part of our approach will be to replace out-dated boilers with more efficient, environmentally friendly plant and to replace and refurbish old, energy inefficient buildings. At the same time we want to enlist hearts and minds to reduce energy usage and promote recycling. We recognise that there is much to do, but we are determined that through a concerted University-wide effort we will improve our performance over the coming years.”

Sophie Clarke, a first-year Environmental Geography student, was not surprised by the results of this year’s Green league. “Although York’s campus seems a very environmentally orientated place with the lake and the wildlife, the lake is never dredged so it’s very polluted.”

York St John University failed the League’s environmental standard with a total score of 16.5.

People and Planet is an organisation made up of a collection of student campaign groups in the UK. It claims to be “the largest student campaigning organization in the country campaigning to alleviate world poverty, defend human rights and protect the environment.”

Phoebe Cullingworth, chair of the University of York People and Planet group said: “We are extremely disappointed of our university’s performance, especially as we have lost so many points since last year. Our 2:2 award clearly shows that the university is not taking the need for a transition to a low-carbon future seriously.

“This year many student groups have worked hard on various campaigns to reduce the University’s carbon footprint and it’s discouraging to know that the University is not willing making a concerted effort to work with students on such critical issues.”


  1. Note there are no big Universities in the top 5 there (Cambridge, Oxford?). It might be, like with York, they have their priorities set on more important issues – say course quality etc. Nottingham Trent is hardly a world class institution – “but hey – at least it is green!”. Not a massive accolade really…

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  2. 16 Jun ’11 at 10:01 pm

    Rhoda Thornton

    Mr Nettles, this is by no means a direct criticism of your character. I would, however, like to highlight the importance of universities and large organisations engaging in active consideration of their environmental impact. It is ridiculous to suggest that, as a result of focussing too heavily on academic performance, we are incapable of embracing sustainable foods on campus, for example. In contradiction to your argument I would like to propose that, as an insitution of higher standard, we would be sufficiently educated to realise the importance of environmental performance!

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