Blog Post

Rising to the top of the green league

The University of Reading has been ranked as the number one University in the 2023/24 People and Planet University League, rising from 4th place last year. This is the first time the University has achieved 1st place and we’re enormously proud to attain this, out of 151 UK Universities which reflects our environmental leadership and institutional commitment to sustainability . We have attained the 1st class universities status consistently since 2019.

Year 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
P&P Score 55% No league published 69.9% 75.8% 81.8%

Our overall score in 2019 was 55%, and in 2023 this has risen to 81.8% which is a reflection of the huge amount of work that has taken place to prioritise environmental stewardship at the University.

Progress highlights

Sustainable Food
From 2019, we have increased our score by 50% to now score the maximum in 2023. This is a reflection of our Hospitality team’s significant work in this area. They have integrated sustainable principles, reduced energy consumption and cut carbon emissions from food operations. We are a proud member of the Menus of Change group which have committed to a 25% reduction in food emissions intensity by 2030.

Ethical Investment and Banking
We scored only 10% in this area in 2019 but the overhaul of the University’s investment strategy has led to an increase in score to 79%. To achieve this, we have: divested from fossil fuels, excluded investments related to arms, excluded corporations in violation of international law and committed to directly invest in community owned renewable energy projects or renewable energy on campus.

Staff and Student Engagement
We have improved our score for Staff and Student Engagement from 30% to 90% since 2019. This is a reflection of having in place a clear communication strategy, regular engagement events about sustainability, and ensuring that all staff and students receive a sustainability input into their inductions.

Education for Sustainable Development
We scored 100% for Education for Sustainable Development this year, which is up from 22% in 2019. This reflects the focus that has been committed to this area of work, as it represents one of the 6 workstreams that our Environmental Sustainability Committee oversees. This workstream has brought together a range of disparate initiatives and has created a strong programme – for example our Climate Ambassador scheme connects schools and colleges around the UK with climate and sustainability experts to access support and guidance.

The Future
We are immensely proud of our achievement this year, but acknowledge that we must keep moving forwards as we look to maintain a top 5 position in the People and Planet League. We are working hard to align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals more closely and expand our climate outreach work as well as further reduce our own environmental impacts.

A full breakdown of scores for University of Reading and every other UK University can be found at: People & Planet University League 2023/24.

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