According to research released by sustainability consultancy Brite Green, English universities have made steps forward in reducing carbon emissions in the academic year ending in 2015. However, targets in this sector are unlikely to be met.
Higher education emissions dropped in 2014/15 but still remain well above the target figures. The higher education sector in England has improved its carbon emissions reduction performance compared to last year, but it is still off track to achieve the 2020 targets. According to projections, if emissions continue to fall at the current rate, the sector will achieve a 15% reduction by 2020 from the 2005 baseline. This is still far from the 43% HEFCE target , established to help meet the UK’s carbon reduction commitment set out in the Climate Change Act 2008 , and the self – imposed 37% emissions reduction average target for all institutions.
In the third annual University Carbon Progress Report, Brite Green analysed publicly available data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and HEFCE . Institutions were able to review data to ensure it is accurate and applicable. To strengthen efforts in providing relevant data and supporting practitioners, this year B rite Green also survey ed energy managers and carried out detailed stakeholder interviews to analyse challenges, opportunities and best practices in carbon management.
The most recent data show absolute emissions reductions achieved to date of 10% in 10 years. At the same time, 71% of universities are set to miss their own 2020 targets. This is still a slight improvement from last year’s analysis, with an additional 3% reduction compared to 2013/14.
Brite Green Managing Partner Darren Chadwick states:
“Universities have reached a significant milestone this year having achieved an overall reduction in emissions of 10% from 2005, against a background of significant commercial growth”
Only 30% of universities are on track to meet their carbon targets.
Of the 12 6 institutions analysed only 37 are on track to meet or exceed their targets, a slight improvement from 2013/14. The report also reveals that there is a large gap between top and bottom performers across all carbon metrics. The top ten performers, led by SOAS University of London, have all achieved absolute emission reductions of more than 38% from the 2005 baseline. Like last year, the bottom performers continue to move further away from their targets.
Commercial growth, weakening policy and post – Brexit uncertainty are key factors in poor carbon performance
Commercial growth continues to be one of the most significant challenges faced by institutions when trying to achieve absolute emissions reductions. This year, energy managers also highlighted that political uncertainty – particularly post-Brexit – has become another significant challenge.
UK carbon targets and the Paris Agreement frame the need for better results
The UK’s legally binding carbon targets together with China and the USA’s recent announce ment that
they will ratify the Paris Agreement on carbon emissions mean that more is needed to match climate
action with policy objectives.
Universities have started to implement broader sustainability strategies
Amidst setbacks, universities continue to implement effective carbon reduction strategies and are now moving towards a more rounded approach to sustainability management across each institution. Carbon reduction challenges are being tackled by broader sustainability programmes and cross-department al collaboration.
Across the board most universities still have aspirations to grow research and student
numbers so it makes carbon reduction very tough
Universities are improving efficiency
The majority of institutions have continued to improve efficiency, both in relation to revenue and floor
space. Since 2008, university emissions intensity has fallen by 33% when measured against income
(£) and 16% when measured against floor area (m2).
“Regardless of our sector target I still feel like any absolute reduction in a growing sector/business is
impressive. Across the board most universities still have aspirations to grow research and student
numbers so it makes carbon reduction very tough ” notes Iain Patton, Chief Executive of EAUC .
Brite Green is consolidating itself as a leading advisory firm for the sector
In its third year, the report has provided the opportunity for Brite Green to consolidate itself as a leading resource for carbon management in the higher education sector. Our research is used across the sector to design and evaluate carbon management strategies, and we have worked with universities to develop and improve all aspe cts of their sustainability performance.
According to Darren Chadwick, Managing Partner at Brite Green:
“A lot of great work has been done in the sector to tackle carbon emissions but progress to date highlights the need for better national collaboration. We have published a good practice guide this year to showcase the best practice at the institution level, but there is a real need for better policy and low-carbon infrastructure at the national level to help achieve our carbon reduction targets.”
Lots of resources are available for universities
Brite Green provides a detailed report on sector performance and individual reports for each institution free of charge. We have also published a good practice guide that includes practical insight and case studies from practitioners from across the UK.
Download the good practice guide from the Brite Green website
Brite Green is also offering free consultation to universities to identify areas for improvement in their
4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again
As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.
Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.
Jars and Containers
Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.
An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.
Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!
If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!
Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!
These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money
The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.
Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.
Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.
Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale
The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.
Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.
Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI
It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.
Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.
Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.
Implementing green changes without a plan
Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.
Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:
- How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
- How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
- How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
- How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?
The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.
Not considering the benefits of green printing
Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.
Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.
According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:
- They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
- They consume less energy than traditional printers.
- They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.
You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.
Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers
Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.
The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.
You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.
Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.
Energy3 weeks ago
How Much Energy Does Bitcoin Use, Really?
Environment4 weeks ago
Biggest Tip to Eco-Friendly Car Ownership (Which May Surprise You)
Energy4 weeks ago
Top 5 Changes You can Make in Your Life to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Energy4 weeks ago
4 Energy Efficient Home Upgrades that You Can Install Yourself