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Sustainability

 

Guide to Green Impact 2021/22

On this page you'll find Frequently Asked Questions about Green Impact at the University of Cambridge. If you have a query about taking part in Green Impact, check this list first. If your question isn't answered here, please email greenimpactteam@admin.cam.ac.uk.

Q. How do I sign up to Green Impact? 

Ready to get started? You can create a new team, or join an existing one, by following our Registering for Green Impact Guide.  

If you’re not sure whether there’s already a Green Impact team in your department or College you can have a look at the options in the drop-down menu when you register and/or contact greenimpactteam@admin.cam.ac.uk. You can also view the 2020/21 winners online. 

Q. How many points do we need to achieve our award level?  

Departmental teams 

If you are a department, institution or building completing the departmental tabs (Bronze, Silver and Gold tabs) the scoring levels are: 

Working Towards Bronze Complete 45 points from the Bronze tab.
Bronze Complete 90 points from the Bronze tab (i.e. all Bronze actions).
Silver Complete 90 points from the Bronze tab AND 95 points from the Silver tab (i.e. all Bronze and Silver actions*).
Gold Complete all Bronze and Silver actions AND achieve 130 points from the Gold tab*.  
Platinum Complete all Bronze and Silver actions AND achieve 250 points from the Gold tab*.  

Remember to carefully read the Working From Home option on this page to find out how you can swap criteria in the above workbooks for Working From Home actions! 

*Your efforts can be split over multiple years. For example, if you obtained Bronze in 2020/21 then you can focus on the Silver workbook for 2021/22 without having to re-do your Bronze actions. Similarly, if you got part way through Gold last year, you can use this year to focus on the Gold actions you didn’t get round to completing. Similarly, for Platinum your previously completed Gold actions can count towards your total. 

College teams 

If you are a College team completing the Colleges tab the scoring levels are: 

Bronze 68 points.
Silver 141 points.
Gold 214 points.
Platinum 380 points.

Remember to read the Working From Home option on this page to find out how you can swap criteria in the College workbook for Working From Home actions! 

Q. Working From Home option   

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a set of Working From Home (WFH) actions has been created to support teams who cannot complete all actions in the standard workbook. WFH actions can be used as substitutes for any Bronze-Gold actions which cannot be completed safely or practically due to COVID-19 restrictions.  

Follow the steps below to use the Working From Home option. 

  1. Identify the action in the standard workbook (i.e. Bronze-Gold) that you cannot complete.  

  1. Mark the action as N/A and use the comment box to explain why you were unable to meet the action e.g. ‘Due to COVID-19 we are working from home and unable to access our buildings. We have completed Working From Home actions instead.’  

  1. Open up the Working From Home tab in the workbook. When choosing which WFH actions to complete as substitutes it’s important to keep in the mind the following: 

  • You must complete an equivalent or greater number of points to the original action. For example, if you cannot complete Bronze action B010 which is worth 5 points, you would need to complete 5 or more points from the WFH tab. This will mean completing more than one action.  

  • You can choose whichever WFH actions you would like. Even if your original action is focused on energy, you can complete a WFH action on procurement, biodiversity, water etc. The topic does not matter, the total number of points, does.  

  1. When meeting a WFH action, evidence should be uploaded to the Working From Home tab as per usual i.e. using the comment box and upload files feature, and marking them as done when finished.   

  1. At the end of the Green Impact year, you will submit both your standard (Bronze-Gold) workbook and your WFH workbook. The auditors will assess both submissions, and providing you have completed the process outlined above, you will still be eligible for your standard Green Impact award e.g. Bronze Colleges, Bronze departmental etc. 

It is likely that this option will be best suited to Bronze or Silver level teams as, when you get to Gold, the points per action increase. This may mean that if you’re substituting a large number of heavily-weighted standard actions, you may find your team having to complete an unmanageable number of WFH actions. In this instance, we would suggest Gold teams consider the Excellence option below. 

Q. Excellence project option

Instead of the standard workbook actions, this is the option of completing a seven-month project focusing on a single topic of the team’s choice. Any departmental or College teams who have achieved Silver for one year or more are eligible to take part in Excellence.

The four project planning/reporting stages outlined in the Excellence tab must be completed by the deadlines set. You must also notify greenimpactteam@admin.cam.ac.uk when you have completed each stage. Please note that these deadlines differ from the usual Green Impact year.

  • This option may be best suited to teams who:

    • are at limited capacity or do not have many staff back in buildings; or

    • have already identified areas for improvement in previous Green Impact years;

    • work well with a single-topic focus;

    • do not have the capacity to take part in in-person or remote audits – unlike the usual Green Impact process, Excellence projects are assessed by an internal judging panel rather than an audit.

Full details of what an Excellence project should cover, including how it will be judged, can be found in our Excellence Team Briefing document. The Sustainability Team are also on hand to help you refine your project ideas.

For ideas on topic and scope, you can read about the 2019/20 and 2020/21 Excellence award-winners online.

The deadlines for Excellence teams are as follows:

Submit project title 14 November 2021
Upload a project plan 12 December 2021
Complete a project update 27 February 2022
Submit a project report 15 May 2022

Q. Key dates and deadlines

Workbook deadlines 

29 April 2022 

Submit completed workbooks 

Early May 2022 (likely the second week) 

Audits 

June 2022 

Award ceremony 

Excellence deadlines 

14 November 2021 

Submit project title 

12 December 2021 

Upload a project plan 

27 February 2022 

Complete a project update 

15 May 2022 

Submit a project report 

Optional support sessions and workshops 

21 October

Drop-in Q&A  

9 November 

Drop-in Q&A 

7 December 2021 

Drop-in Q&A 

3 February 

Keeping up momentum: New Year workshop and Q&A 

10 March

Getting over the finish line: workshop and Q&A 

31 March 

Drop-in Q&A 

All of the above sessions will be hosted using Zoom. Details of how to join our Green Impact events and drop-in sessions will be emailed to all those signed up to the Green Impact workbook.

Q. Do we need to refresh actions from previous years? 

Teams are no longer required to refresh actions from previous award levels. For example, if you achieved Bronze last year, you do not need to revisit any of the Bronze criteria, instead you can focus entirely on the Silver 2021/22 workbook.  

The exception to the above is if you are looking to achieve the same award level as you did last year. For instance, if you achieved Bronze 2020/21 and would like to maintain your Bronze award level, you must complete all the Bronze actions in the Bronze 2021/22 workbook tab.  

Remember, you can swap actions for Working From Home options as necessary.  

Q. Do we need to ‘migrate’ evidence into the current year’s workbook for awards we have already achieved? 

The workbook includes a function to ‘migrate’ evidence from previous years into this year’s workbook. See the workbook user guide for information on how to do this. Not all teams will need to use the function however: 

  • Teams going for a Departmental Silver or Gold award: No. E.g. if you achieved Bronze last year you do not need to migrate the evidence from the Bronze 2020/21 workbook unless it is of use to you. At the end of the year, your auditors will be briefed on the award level you have already achieved. If you completed part of an award (for instance you won a Bronze award and started, but didn’t complete, Silver, you may wish to consider migrating evidence from completed Silver actions last year). 
  • Teams going for a Departmental Platinum award: Yes. Please migrate your evidence from your 2020/21 Gold tab over to your 2021/22 Gold tab. You do not need to migrate Bronze or Silver evidence over unless it is of use to you. Please see the workbook user guide for information on how to transfer evidence from previous years’ workbooks.  
  • College teams: yes. As your Green Impact award is calculated on total points in your tab of the workbook, we need you to migrate evidence over to this year’s workbook so we can check your totals. For instance, if you achieved Gold last year and are aiming for Platinum this year, you will need to migrate over your 2020/21 evidence to the 2021/22 workbook so we can clearly view all the actions that you have completed and their corresponding points. We will then be able to see your total progress towards Green Impact. Please see the workbook user guide for information on how to transfer evidence from previous years’ workbooks. 

Q. How do I change my password?

To change your password or any contact details, click on the profile tab which can be found on the right hand side of the intro page once you have logged in. You will see that can enter a new password. 

Q. How do I add or remove team members?

To add new members to your team, send them the workbook link and ask them to register. They will be able to join the team you belong to, using the drop-down list on the registration form (make sure they know your team’s name!). They will need to use a registration code: 71. 

To remove members from your team, send their name and your team name to zoe.arnold@sos-uk.org.

Q. Can I download or print the workbook?

Remember that there is a printer symbol in the top right-hand corner on each of the criteria pages. This lists the criteria in a print-friendly format, although of course we recommend you only print if absolutely necessary! There’s also an option to download an excel copy of the workbook. 

Q. What is the Special Tab? 

We recognise that many departments have significant impacts outside of the criteria which they are addressing. We have designed a number of special awards to celebrate those individuals and departments who are driving change – you can view a list of last year’s special award winners here. Use this category to write about all the special achievements your department has been part of. The winners of these categories at Cambridge will be entered into the international Green Impact Special Awards which are announced each summer. 

Q. What are the questions for at the bottom of criteria boxes?

At the bottom of some criteria you will find an extra footer, asking you to input some specific data. For example, 'How many staff use reusable cups?' There will be a small box next to the question where we would like you to input the answer. For many of these boxes the figure will need to be an estimate, however that's OK - give your best guess based on the information you have available! All questions require a numerical answer. The boxes are optional, however where possible please answer these questions as this will help the University and Green Impact nationally to monitor and evaluate the positive impact that you are having, and communicate this back to you and others. 

Q. What is the comments box for? 

The comments box is there to support your use of the toolkit as well as aiding the audit process. The auditors will wish to see evidence for actions you've completed. The comments box can be used to record information that will make the audit easier by recording where a document is saved for example. This can also support the team in keeping track of what has happened within the team as each comment is threaded showing who left the comment and when. 

Q. How do we submit our workbooks? 

Make sure all the actions that you’ve completed are marked as ‘done’ and then click the red ‘Submit’ tab on the homepage.

Q. How will our evidence be used? 

To help increase the number of people making a positive environmental difference across the University, we may use evidence you upload in Green Impact communications. Anything with personal data on will not be used and we discourage this from being uploaded, along with photos which you do not want shared. 

Q. I’m having difficulties with the toolkit 

There is a user guide which explains how to manage your personal and team account, access the glossary, make and review comments and evidence, export or print the toolkit. If you still have questions please get in touch with Zoe Arnold from SOS-UK on zoe.arnold@sos-uk.org.

Q. What should teams aim to cover in their first meeting?

Have a look at our First Meeting Template Agenda for some ideas of what to cover in your first Green Impact meeting of the year. It's an editable template and is designed to help ensure your team are on the same page, and that any problem areas or goals are identified early on.

Q. I'm not receiving update emails from the Green Impact team

Green Impact emails are only sent to those signed up to the Green Impact workbook so it is important that your whole team are registered and that their contact details are kept up to date. For details on how to sign up please see our Registration Guide

Q. How old should evidence be?

Evidence uploaded to the Green Impact workbook should be from within the last 12 months unless specified otherwise in the action itself.