We're still ranked 2:1 for our performance on environmental sustainability and social responsibility in UK-wide league table.

The People and Planet University League 2023 was announced on 13 December last year, and we are thrilled to have maintained our 2:1 ranking in this comprehensive review.

It is the only 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 annual HESA Estates Management Record.

The University of Essex was ranked 58th out of 151 universities. We perform particularly well for our environmental policy and Sustainability Sub-Strategy, our sustainability team and our staff and student engagement:

  • We're ranked 28th for Ethical Investment
  • We're ranked 25th for Sustainable Food

We have also seen improvements in our scoring for Ethical Investment and Banking, due to the University's commitment as a Living Wage employer; and for the work we are doing to audit our environmental performance across themes including carbon emissions, travel and transport, sustainable procurement and biodiversity.

We have seen a slight fall since the last ranking in 2022, when we reached 31st place. This is is partly due to the increase in our carbon emissions, following a fall during the peak of the covid pandemic in 2020-21 data, as carbon reduction is weighted quite heavily in the league.

Data on our carbon emissions, waste and recycling and the amount of water we consume per person all contribute to our performance in the People and Planet University League. We are managing a range of aspects on this through our campus infrastructure (such as lighting upgrades, localised heating controls and building insulation), but the best part is that you are part of the change: by taking simple actions that reduce our community's impacts we can all do our bit:

  • 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.
  • 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.

We can be proud of the progress we're making alongside other UK universities completing fantastic work towards a range of actions. Our work will continue, driven by a passion to do the right thing, with our Sustainability Sub-Strategy a driving force on the pathway to our commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2035.