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Green Impact Awards 2017-18

On 21 June at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, the University of Cambridge presented its 2018 Green Impact awards. The ceremony recognised the efforts of staff and students who had worked to improve the environmental performance of their places of work and study throughout the 2017-18 academic year. Vice Chancellor of the University Professor Stephen Toope presented the awards to the winners in each category.

This page details all the successful winners in the awards. Photos of the event can be found on the Environment & Energy Facebook page, and there's also a slide show, presented at the ceremony, which shows all the statistics, league tables and quotes about teams taking part this year.

Green Impact Labs awards

Six labs took part in Green Impact at the University of Cambridge in 2017-18. Scientific research is one of the most energy and resource intensive aspects of the University, so it’s really important for labs and research facilities to be operated in an efficient and sustainable way. This year’s Green Impact labs winners were:

Labs award winners

  • Corpus Christi College - Bronze Labs award
  • Department of Medicine - Gold Labs award
  • IMS-MRL - Gold Labs award
  • Obs & Gynae Green Team - Gold Labs award
  • The Hunter Group in the Department of Chemistry - Gold Labs award
  • Geography Science Laboratories - Platinum Labs award

Bronze Green Impact awards

A Bronze Green Impact award is typically the first step for many participants. With 12 teams taking part in Green Impact for the first time in 2017-18, there were a number of teams taking this first step to embed good environmental practices, and to communicate to colleagues and students on a range of sustainability issues. The winners of a Bronze award were:

  • 17 Mill Lane

    Bronze award winners

  • Department of Zoology
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Fitzwilliam College
  • Isaac Newton Institute
  • Meet Cambridge
  • The Old Schools
  • University Biomedical Services
  • Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Silver Green Impact awards

Green Impact aims to act as a framework for continual improvement. Many of last year’s Bronze winners have built on their efforts last year to step up to a Silver award this year. Silver-winning departments will have a dedicated Environment & Energy Coordinator, while both Colleges and Departments who have won a Silver award will have completed specific actions to address areas such as energy, waste and water use. The winners of a Silver award in 2018 were:

  • Silver award winnersAlison Richard Building
  • Darwin College
  • Department of Earth Sciences
  • Department of Medicine
  • GreenPATH
  • King's College

Gold Green Impact awards

In 2017-18 a large number of teams made it to an impressive Gold award, including a number of Colleges. As the Colleges are independent from the University, their participation in and enthusiasm for the University’s Green Impact awards scheme is great to see. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of staff and students, Gold teams have tackled a range of sustainability-related issues, building on their Bronze and Silver actions in areas such as energy use, recycling and sustainable travel, but also tackling wider environmental issues such as biodiversity, procurement, and sustainable food. The Gold-winning teams this year were:

  • Clare CollegeGold award winners
  • Girton College
  • Homerton College
  • Jesus College
  • Pembroke College
  • Robinson College
  • The Institute of Continuing Education
  • Wolfson College

    Gold award winners

  • Department of Psychiatry
  • Obs & Gynae Green Team
  • Office of Intercollegiate Services
  • Plant Sciences Green Team
  • Department of Psychology

Platinum Green Impact awards

Our highest award level was only introduced last year in response to the incredible distances that some teams were going beyond the Gold award. The Platinum award is for those teams who have completed the Bronze, Silver and Gold criteria, and then gained a further 120 points by carrying out additional Green Impact actions:
  • The Centre for Mathematical SciencesPlatinum award winners
  • Department of Sociology
  • Greenwich House
  • The Institute of Continuing Education
  • Churchill College
  • Corpus Christi College

Excellence Green Impact Awards 

While our Platinum-winning teams have demonstrated huge commitment by going beyond the Gold requirements, some other teams have chosen to take their Green Impact efforts to the next step in a completely different way. The ‘Excellence’ award winning departments have spent this year focusing on one larger sustainability-themed project of their own design, and of specific relevance to their own context. This year’s Excellence winners are:

Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute's project this year focused on finding a solution to the issue of polystyrene waste. As well as looking at raising awareness of, and finding simple solutions for, the problem in their own building, the team have liaised widely across the University to seek a long-term, all-encompassing solution to the question of polystyrene waste.

CRUK Excellence Award


The University Counselling Service carried out a successful Excellence project last year, launching a writing instruments recycling scheme at the University. This year, they have focused on expanding the initiative significantly across the University estate, resulting in new collections appearing across the University, and more proceeds going to charity. 

Counselling Service Excellence winners

The Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience (PDN) focused on a project to decrease the amount of plastics coming into PDN, and increase the amount that is reused or recycled. This is a challenging problem which has received significant attention in the media this year, and PDN have been successful in finding a number of ways to improve their resource efficiency and promote internal reuse. 

PDN Excellence Winners


The University Library undertook their ambitious ‘Project Phoenix’ to deliver a measured reduction in the proportion of waste being put into the General Waste bins. Through a programme of staff education, as well as monitored trials of new infrastructure and signage, the UL have managed to make measured improvements in their recycling rates.

Excellence winners from University library

Special Awards

The Special Awards aimed to highlight projects and individuals which have gone the extra mile as part of, and alongside Green Impact. The projects and initiatives were nominated by Green Impact participants as having made a difference above and beyond the requirements of the Green Impact workbook.Maths Special Award winners

  • The ‘Community Action Award’ recognises working in partnership with community groups, developing new projects and taking Green Impact out into the wider community. This year the award was won by The Centre for Mathematical Sciences, who win this award for their efforts to carry out a range of activities to engage with the local community, liaising with local groups on biodiversity improvements including running a ‘planting day’ to involve local residents.


Special award winners from IMS-MRL

  • The ‘Environmental Improvement Award’ is all about environmental improvement which has brought about a demonstrated and positive change. This year it was won by the Institute of Metabolic Sciences – Medical Research Laboratories. IMS-MRL have taken part in Green Impact for a number of years. In spite of a number of logistical issues and a challenging building, they have demonstrated consistent reductions in electricity consumption over this period, thanks to a combination of behaviour change and equipment improvements.


      As well as recognising great sustainability-related initiatives and events, the special awards recognised two individuals who had gone the extra mile as part of Green

      Mick Young, Environmental hero winner


       Impact. The 'Environmental Hero' award is all about recognising a special person who has been nominated for their ability to take action, as well as enthusiasm to get others involved in sustainability. 

      • The Environmental Hero award was won by Mick Young from the Centre for Mathematical Sciences. Mick’s energy and commitment to Green Impact has led the Centre for Mathematical Sciences to a Silver award in their first year of involvement in Green Impact, followed by their Platinum award this year.
      • Leah, Highly Commended for Environmental Hero AwardThe 'Highly Commended' Environmental Hero award goes to Leah Gibson from Meet Cambridge. Meet Cambridge are a small institution in the University who work closely with many of the Colleges and Departments, so it’s great that Leah’s commitment, motivation and passion through her Green Impact efforts have helped Meet Cambridge reach a Bronze award this year.


      Carbon Challenge Awards

      As well as recognising the Green Impact award, the ceremony also recognised the winner of The Cambridge Carbon Challenge 2018. This competition invited staff and students to submit their innovative ideas for reducing air miles and finding alternatives to flying, in order to decrease carbon emissions across the University. This is one of our fastest growing areas of emissions, so we want to start supporting ways to make it easier for people to find and use alternatives to flying where this makes sense. We therefore opened up this Carbon Challenge to staff and students to suggest their innovative ideas.

      Bryn Pickering's colleague picks up carbon challenge award

      The winner of the award, Bryn Pickering, proposes an idea to gameify virtual conferencing, by building a Massive Multiplayer Online game (MMO). He has visions of quirky conference venues such as a Roman city or a space station, with avatars that have a real likeness to the user, alongside functionality that works better than current options for supporting a conference – relating to browsing posters, watching presentations and networking with other conference-goers. Bryn's award was collected by his colleague Hannah.