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This year is the seventh year of the Green Impact scheme in the University, and on Friday 21 June the University came together to celebrate the achievements of the 50 department and College teams that participated this year. Hosted in the wonderful surroundings of the David Attenborough Building, home to the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, it seemed fitting that the efforts of these staff and students to make the University more sustainable be marked in a venue where the resident staff are dedicated to tackling the world’s biggest environmental issues.

Green Impact teams present were commended for the actions they had taken throughout the academic year. These actions often focussed on simple behaviour changes and awareness-raising as well as progressing through to tangible improvements in areas such as energy use of equipment, recycling infrastructure, sustainable procurement and travel. The impact of these teams cannot be underestimated, Green Impact teams help their colleagues and classmates to consider the environmental impact of day-to-day operations, and they often bring about big changes in how departments and Colleges go about their daily business.

There are 5 levels of team awards in the scheme that received recognition; Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Excellence. Lab teams have their own set of actions that they work through. There was also an opportunity for individuals to nominate their colleagues for their contribution to sustainability in the Special Awards section. The awards were presented by the Registrary, Emma Rampton. You can view all the pictures from the event on the Environment & Energy Facebook page, or highlights on the CambridgeSust Twitter account.


Teams who received a bronze award have taken great initial steps to embed good environmental practices, and to communicate to colleagues and students on a range of sustainability issues. The winners in this category were:

Cambridge 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


Teams who achieve this level will have a dedicated Environment & Energy Coordinator, while both Colleges and Departments who have won a Silver award have completed specific actions in areas such as energy, waste and water use. The winners in this category were:

Alison 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)



Teams who received a gold award have built on their Bronze and Silver actions in areas such as energy use, recycling and sustainable travel. And, will have gone further to tackle wider environmental issues such as biodiversity, procurement, and sustainable food, all tailored to their own contexts. The winners in this category were:

Clare Hall

Darwin College

Girton College

Lucy Cavendish College

Magdalene College

Murray Edwards College

Trinity College

Department of Psychiatry

Institute of Metabolic Science - Metabolic Research Laboratories

Obs & Gynae Green Team

Faculty of Philosophy

Department of Psychology

University Information Services



Platinum, the highest team level, recognises the achievements of departments who have completed the Bronze, Silver and Gold Green Impact criteria, and then gained a further 120 points by carrying out additional actions. The winners in this category were:

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



Excellence award winning teams have spent this year focusing on one large sustainability-themed project of their own design, which is of relevance to their own context.

  • The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership undertook a project to engage staff in understanding more about the waste they produce, how to avoid producing non-recyclable and non-compostable waste, and how to reduce and reuse before recycling. One of their achievements was reducing contamination of waste bins to 2%!
  • The University Counselling Service now have a well-established recycling scheme for pen and writing instruments, and this year expanded and embedded the programme across the University and the wider city. Impressively, as part of their efforts the team recently sent off 67 kilos of pens to be recycled.
  • 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 to engage staff, students and the public in environmental issues. The successful and interesting series culminated in a talk by Dr Rowan Williams.
  • 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.
  • The Green Libraries Group carried out a project to establish libraries as spaces to engage in ‘EcoLiteracy’, with librarians acting as facilitators to engage 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.
  • Office of Intercollegiate Services undertook a project to move 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.

Green Impact Labs

Scientific research is one of the most energy and resource intensive aspects of the University. It is vital that labs and research facilities operate in an efficient and sustainable way. Green Lab teams work through a series of actions to reduce energy, waste and to procure in a sustainable way.

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

Special awards

A number of 'Special' award were also presented to recognise individuals and projects worthy of special mention.You can read more about these here

Could your department, College or lab be a winner in 2020?

If you would like to participate in Green Impact next year, please do get in touch. The Green Impact year starts in October and we would love to break this year’s participation record. Together we can improve the environmental performance of the University!

Read more about Green Impact, and other ways you can get involved, by exploring the links in the menu above.