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Green Impact Awards 2018-19

On Friday 21 June 2019 the University came together to celebrate the achievements of the departmental and College teams that participated in Green Impact in 2018-19. The seventh Green Impact award ceremony at the University of Cambridge proved to be the largest yet, with 50 awards presented, and the David Attenborough Building was a particularly suitable venue. As home to the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, the building hosts a number of organisations and researchers working towards sustainability, so it was fitting that the efforts of staff and students to make the University more sustainable be marked in such a venue. The awards were presented by the Registrary, Emma Rampton. You can view pictures from the event on the Environment & Energy Facebook page, and there is a set of slides presented at the awards providing the highlights of what Green Impact teams achieved and examples of initiatives they carried out to earn their awards.

Green Impact Labs awards

Eight labs took part in Green Impact this year. Scientific research is one of the most energy and resource intensive aspects of the University, so it’s vital that labs and research facilities are operated in an efficient and sustainable way. The labs winners were:

  • Corpus Christi College - Bronze LabsLabs award winners
  • Department of Zoology - Silver Labs
  • Department of Surgery - Gold Labs
  • Institute of Metabolic Science - Metabolic Research Laboratories - Gold Labs
  • Obs & Gynae Green Team - Gold Labs
  • Plant Sciences Green Team - Gold Labs
  • The Hunter Group in the Department of Chemistry - Gold Labs
  • Geography Science Laboratories - Platinum Labs

Bronze Green Impact awards

A Bronze Green Impact award is typically the first step for many participants. With 8 teams taking part in Green Impact for the first time in 2018-19, 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:

  • Bronze award winnersCambridge University Botanic Garden
  • Cambridge Archaeological Unit
  • Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Fauna & Flora International
  • Institute for Manufacturing
  • Meet Cambridge
  • Bronze Colleges award - Fitzwilliam College
  • Working Towards Bronze’ award - Cambridge Assessment ​

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 2019 were:

  • Silver award winnersAlison Richard Building
  • Department of Land Economy
  • Department of Surgery
  • Department of Zoology
  • Isaac Newton Institute
  • Department of Paediatrics
  • School of Clinical Medicine
  • University Biomedical Services
  • Hughes Hall (Silver Colleges)

Gold Green Impact awards

In 2019 a large number of teams made it to the impressive Gold award standard, this number included a number of Colleges. Given the Colleges independence, 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:

  • Gold award winnersClare Hall
  • Darwin College
  • Girton College
  • Lucy Cavendish College
  • Magdalene College
  • Murray Edwards College
  • Trinity College
  • Obs & Gynae Green Team

    Gold award winners

  • Faculty of Philosophy
  • Department of Psychology
  • University Information Services
  • Department of Psychiatry
  • Institute of Metabolic Science - Metabolic Research Laboratories

Platinum Green Impact awards

Our highest award level was introduced 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:

Platinum award winners

    • Office of Intercollegiate Services
    • The Institute of Continuing Education
    • Churchill College 
    • Clare College 
    • Corpus Christi College 
    • Robinson 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:

    The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership undertook a project to engage staff in understanding more about the waste they are producing, how to avoid producing non-recyclable and non-compostable waste, and how to reduce and reuse before recycling. Among other results they reduced the amount of waste put into the wrong bins by staff to just 2%!

    CRUK Excellence Award


    The University Counselling Service now have a well-established recycling scheme for pen and writing instruments, and this year worked to expand and embed  the programme across the University and into the wider city. Impressively, as part of their efforts the team recently sent off a recycling shipment of 67 kilos of pens! 

    Counselling Service Excellence winners

    The Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience carried out a project to assess the impact of work-related air travel undertaken by members of the department, and sought to reduce its associated carbon footprint. The project has given the wider University useful insights into the challenges and opportunities afforded by tackling this significant environmental issue.

    PDN Excellence Winners


    The Green Libraries Group carried out a project to establish libraries as spaces to engage in ‘EcoLiteracy’, with librarians acting as facilitators to engage and educate students and the wider academic community in conversations about climate change and global warming. The project has gained significant attention, with the team recently having a peer-reviewed paper on their work accepted for publication. 

    Excellence winners from University library

    The Department of Sociology initiated a project to convene an environmentally-themed seminar series to showcase relevant research in the social sciences and humanities, and engage staff, students and the public in environmental issues. The successful and interesting series culminated in a talk by Dr Rowan Williams.

    PDN Excellence Winners

    Office of Intercollegiate Services undertook a project to shift to electronic communications and digital business processes for the office’s activities, with the aim of reducing paper use for committee meetings and office activities. The project has resulted in the development of a series of case studies and best practice examples that others in the University will be able to learn from. 

    PDN Excellence Winners

    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.

    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 Murray Edwards Gardens team. The team are actively engaged with the student population at the College and in the local community, encouraging foraging in the orchards, and the sharing of vegetables and herbs grown in the gardens, they take part in open days and offer garden tours, but have also integrated a theme of sustainability in all that they do, including through rewilding of areas, use of ethical pest control reuse and upcycling materials. 

    Maths Special Award winners

    The ‘Innovation for Engagement Award’ is awarded for engaging more people in sustainability activities using innovative techniques and ideas which get people excited to take part. Girton College Gardens team were the winners in this category. Another gardens team, Girton have excelled in involving the College community in the garden areas, through initiatives such as a volunteer gardening program offering allotments to students, frequent garden walks open to all, fruit picking, woodland walks, facilitating moth surveys, and working with chefs to cultivate and grow herbs to be used in the College food. Getting people out and about enjoying nature and biodiversity is a great way to get people involved and enthused and Girton have done a great job of this.

    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 Robinson College for their Water Source Heat Pump project. An alumnus of Robinson College has worked with the college to develop a unique way of harnessing water from a brook running through the College gardens to heat the whole College. The 300 Kilowatt system extracts heat from a tributary of the River Cam to support the College’s main boiler system. The complex project involved the installation of a small weir including an eel bridge, but will payback in six years, as well as ensuring heat comes from a low carbon source.  Mick Young, Environmental hero winner

    ​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 Impact.

    The 'Sustainability 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. There were two winners this year:

    Chris Rolfe from Geography Science Labs. Chris's energy and commitment to Green Impact has led the Geography Science Laboratories to achieve the Platinum Green Impact Labs award for three years running, with good 'green' practices embedded within and beyond the lab, most recently demonstrated through the incorporation of beach cleans into coastal field trips.

    Emma Cantu from POLIS in the Alison Richard Building. Emma has kick started a number of initiatives within the ARB and is heavily involved with sustainability within the building, not just in raising awareness through a green newsletter but also in setting up new recycling schemes, Repair Cafes and Clothes Swaps, through to nature walks and setting up owl boxes on and around the site. 

    Leah, Highly Commended for Environmental Hero Award

    The 'Student Leadership Award' recognises exceptional students who have been leading change within and beyond their Green Impact team The two joint winners were:

    Gráinne Hutton from Murray Edwards College. Grainne has been hugely dedicated to the cause at Murray Edwards College, setting up a Green Formal Hall, with relevant speakers and sustainable food and drink, setting up 'Nu Wardrobe' which facilitates reuse or donation to charity of unwanted clothing, while also raising awareness of environmental issues through communications and events. 

    Izzy Rudd from Clare College. Izzy has been heavily involved with Clare College’s Green Impact team, setting up many initiatives including food waste composting which required the buy in of both staff and students, clothes swaps, and being involved in Clare College’s new Sustainable Investment Society.

    Bryn Pickering's colleague picks up carbon challenge award

    Well done to all of the winners in 2018/19!