De Montfort University, Leicester (DMU) is in the spotlight after being recognised in two national leagues for its consistent efforts towards championing sustainability across campus and beyond.
Announced this week, the university has received first-class honours for the 11th year in a row in the annual People and Planet University League, and named a ‘Gold Tier University’ in Uswitch's Green University Report 2022.
The People & Planet’s University League is the largest student environmental campaign group in the UK, where universities are judged against 13 different categories covering everything from education and environmental policy to recycling waste and carbon management.
Institutions were then ranked according to their scores in each area and classified using degree-style awards.
Similarly, Uswitch’s annual study is designed to see which universities are leading the way in terms of green initiatives and renewable energy, having scored positively across the outlined criteria, DMU has been commended as a ‘leader’ in sustainability.
Karl Letten, Sustainability Manager at DMU said: “The university has always taken a comprehensive approach to addressing sustainability across its activities and to have that approach acknowledged through the University League and the Uswitch Green University Report is fantastic.
“We know that addressing sustainability and tackling our carbon emissions is important to our students and our staff, and we aim to achieve this through effective management of our campus, engaging with our staff and students on this important topic and making sure that our students have the right skills and knowledge to make sustainable choices throughout their careers.”
These accolades highlight the universities commitment to the United Nations (UN) Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) and sustainability is at the heart of its operations. From managing buildings to embedding sustainability into teaching and learning, to engaging staff and students on global issues, DMU has a long list of measures in place to make the university more sustainable, including:
- giving away more than 21,000 free reusable mugs to staff and students
- using a carbon neutral wood pellet boiler
- fitting the leisure centre with air source heat pumps
- using solar panels on four of DMU’s buildings to generate electricity
- using ground heat pumps in some buildings
- a greener travel policy which sees four times the national average of staff cycling to work
- embedding sustainability into all teaching and learning
- delivering Carbon Literacy training to staff and students
- gaining Carbon Literate Organisation status for the DMU Leicester campus and the DMU Dubai campus
- growing food on campus for use in the DMU catering outlets
- developing a Hedgehog Friendly Campus
- a furniture recycling scheme to reuse and repurpose redundant furniture
- a recycling rate of over 90%
- the only university in the UK to be given global hub status for an SDG (number 16) by the United Nations
- electric vehicle charging points on campus
Ranking in the Top 20 universities in the country in the People and Planet League and a Gold Tier university by Uswitch for sustainability, DMU is one of the only universities in the UK to meet its carbon reduction targets for 2020.
Carbon management work led by DMU’s Sustainability Manager, Karl Letten, the energy team and the Estates and Facilities Directorate, so far has resulted in DMU reducing energy related carbon emissions by 49 per cent between 2005 and 2019.
The university has now moved on to a project to tackle scope 1 emissions, carbon emissions created directly by DMU, such as emissions from heating its buildings and emissions from its own vehicles – and scope 2 emissions, carbon created indirectly by the purchase of electricity supplies.
This work will focus on decarbonising the energy used on campus by looking at alternative ways of generating heat and electricity.
Karl and his team are also looking to reduce scope 3 emissions – those indirectly caused by the university, such as waste management and disposal, commuting by students and staff, procurement and investments – to net zero by 2045.
Posted on Thursday 8th December 2022