2013 Green Gown Awards

Over 325 sustainability leaders were on the edge of their seats at the world's oldest surviving railway turning shed last night as the BBC’s Professor Iain Stewart announced the winners of this year’s Green Gown Awards. It was an inspirational night with 81 Finalist institutions, 14 winners, 21 Highly Commended and 3 International winners!

The action packed evening was hosted by geology’s “rock star” Professor Iain Stewart MBE - Iain is best known as the presenter of a number of BBC programmes including the BAFTA nominated Earth: The Power of the Planet. Iain is also a Fellow of the Geological Society of London and President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, Professor of Geoscience Communication at Plymouth University and a member of the Scientific Board of UNESCO’s International Geoscience Programme.

This was a true celebration of sustainability best practice within the tertiary education sector. The Green Gown Awards Ceremony was a resounding success and a fitting tribute to the pioneering environmental and sustainability initiatives that have been championed in the tertiary education sector this year.

In summarising the significance of the Awards, Professor Iain Stewart states “Sustainability is one of those ideas that means something different to everyone. And yet we all have a clear notion of what is “unsustainable”. The Green Gown Awards are about celebrating a shift in thinking within the university and college sector to embrace and support those that are really pushing ahead with meaningful ways of making a future that works for all.”

Guests included university and college representatives from across the UK, joined by leading figures from institutions such as the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE), Association of Colleges (AoC), Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE) and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) to commend visionary projects which are pushing the sustainable good practice boundaries.

Organised by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), Chief Executive Iain Patton describes the importance of the Green Gown Awards, “With tumultuous change in colleges and universities right now, anxious Principals and Vice Chancellors would do well to look again at sustainability with its synergies with other strategic drivers such as student recruitment, high quality student experiences, increasing access and enhanced value for money. With a 25% increase in applications this year, the value of sustainability is finally registering for many sector leaders”.

Leanne Denby, President of Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) and delivery partner for the Australasian Green Gown Awards and with the EAUC in delivering the International Green Gown Awards says “The success of the first international Awards last year was overwhelming, and sets up the excitement and expectation of this year’s Awards exceptionally well. As a sector, further and higher education is making fantastic moves towards sustainability, and recognising the efforts and initiatives of both the UK and Australasian sectors together provides opportunity to share learning and experience to ensure that as a sector we continue to improve, progress and recognise the great work being done. Tertiary education plays a critical role in delivering sustainability, and the Awards allow us to show the world we are on board and accepting the responsibility we have to educate current and future staff and students in sustainable practice.”

The Green Gown Awards are an inspiration, not only to the education sector, but to all organisations, showing documented evidence that by working together, a huge impact can be achieved!