The People and Planet University League 2021 was announced on 9 December. It is the only comprehensive and independent league table of UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance, focusing on progress against issues including carbon management, student and staff engagement, ethical investment and sustainable food and many more. The scores are based on information available on our website, combined with performance metrics submitted in the HESA Estates Management Record.

The University of Essex has ranked 62nd out of 154 universities and we have improved our score overall, showing that we are heading in the right direction on sustainability and social responsibility. We’ve got particular strengths in our environmental policy and Sustainability Sub-Strategy, having a dedicated sustainability team, managing carbon, our sustainable food policy, staff and student engagement and education for sustainable development:

  • We’re ranked 10th in the UK for Education for Sustainable Development
  • We’re ranked 20th for Carbon Management
  • We’re ranked 27th for Sustainable Food

We have seen a slight fall since the last ranking in 2019, when we reached 44th place, despite having increased our overall score. This can be seen as a positive, however, as it shows the University sector as a whole has improved. We can be proud of the progress we’re making alongside other universities completing fantastic work towards a range of actions. Our work will continue, driven by a passion to do the right thing, with our new SSS a driving force on the pathway to our commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2035.

Real data on our carbon emissions, waste and recycling data and the amount of water we consume per person all contribute to our performance in the league. We are managing a range of aspects on this through our infrastructure, but you can also be part of the change by taking simple actions that reduce our community’s impacts:

  • recycle as much as you can on campus in the dedicated bins provided. We’re working on increasing the range of materials we collect and making it easier for you to reduce, reuse and recycle. If you’re ever unsure how to recycle something, feel free to ask by getting in touch.
  • reduce the amount of water you use on campus – don’t leave taps running, take shorter showers if you live on campus and report dripping taps to the Estates Helpdesk.
  • lastly help us reduce energy use by turning off electrical equipment and lights when they aren’t in use, use shared spaces efficiently and think about how much equipment you’ve got plugged in.

We are on a journey of continuous improvement and will be reviewing the areas where we can do better. Lots of work is already underway and we are confident that we are on the right track with the actions we need to take.

To see the full breakdown of the University League results, visit the People and Planet website.