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Sustainability

 

Guide to Green Impact 2022/23

This page is currently being updated to reflect the 2022/2023 programme.

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 2021/22 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*.  

*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.

Q. What's the '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 2021/2022 Excellence award-winners online:

Girton Sensory Garden

MRC Epidemiology ULT Freezer Centralisation

Jesus College Recycling Centralisation Programme

The deadlines for Excellence teams are as follows:

Submit project title November 2021
Upload a project plan December 2022
Complete a project update February 2023
Submit a project report May 2023

Q. What key dates and deadlines do I need to know about?

Workbook deadlines 

28 April 2023

Submit completed workbooks 

Early May 2022 (likely the second week) 

Audits 

June 2022 

Award ceremony 

Excellence deadlines 

 November 2022 

Submit project title 

December 2022 

Upload a project plan 

February 2023 

Complete a project update 

 May 2023

Submit a project report 

Optional support sessions and workshops 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 existing teams need to refresh actions from past 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 2022/2 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 2021/22 and would like to maintain your Bronze award level, you must complete all the Bronze actions in the Bronze 2022/23 workbook tab.  

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 2021/22 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 2021/22 Gold tab over to your 2023/23 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 2021/22 evidence to the 2022/2023 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 sidegrace.corn@sos-uk.org 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 grace.corn@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. See the 'key dates and deadlines' question above for details on when you need to submit your workbook by.

Q. How will evidence we upload 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. How can I view evidence I uploaded in previous years?

If you took part in Green Impact in a previous year (under the same team), you can view previous evidence using the 'migrate' function. See Section 9 of the workbook guide for details.

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 Grace Corn, Grace.Corn@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. Who should be in our Green Impact team?

There's no set requirement for which staff/students are needed to form a Green Impact team, as we know that institutions of many different sizes may take part in Green Impact, and each has different structures and roles. However Green Impact teams do tend to be more successful when they have a wide variety of individuals and roles represented. When setting up your team, you may wish to open it up to any interested individuals, or you may wish to invite specific people to represent different parts of the organisation - from facilities and building roles, to administrative and support staff roles, to academics and students, everyone can provide different expertise and influence! It can also be helpful to have senior management involved in the team.

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. 

Q. What can staff working in labs do?

Green Impact no longer has a 'labs' tab and doesn't provide support on lab-specific issues. Groups interested in tackling sustainability in their lab spaces can take part in the University's LEAF initiative. You can take part in Green Impact (as a department, building or other institute) as well as taking part in LEAF, however the initiatives run separately from one another.