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Green Gown Awards winners

At a virtual Awards Ceremony on 18 November, the University of Cambridge had a double success in the Green Gown Awards UK & Ireland! As well as being Highly Commended in the '2030 Climate Action' category, the University came away as Winner of the 'Reporting With Influence' category. Read on for details of the award wins.

Tough competition from across the sector

The Green Gown awards, established in 2004, are administered by the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges and saw tough competition for the University of Cambridge from 90 other finalists across the higher and further education sectors.

The virtual award ceremony was hosted by Serena Bashal of the UK Youth Climate Coalition and Xan Northcott of the Institute for Global Change. It saw Finalists representing over 862,000 students and 156,000 staff tuning in to hear about many exceptional sustainability initiatives as the education sector leads a path to efficiency, employability and a better quality of life.

Winner - Reporting With Influence

This Award category aimed to assess how sustainability is reported, and how reports are used to impact and influence within the institution. According to the judges, the University of Cambridge's annual report, which can be found on the Sustainability Team webpages, was "an engaging read, with honesty about performance and balance in the reporting". They were "impressed by the activity and the involvement, particularly of students and staff beyond the core sustainability team, in driving initiatives". They concluded that it "deserved to win, with great evidence of commitment, ambition, and engagement across the university and its key stakeholders".

On the success in the Reporting With Influence category, Professor Stephen Toope, Vice Chancellor of the University said:

“Winning this Award is not only an achievement for the University, but also for those who rightly expect institutions with influence to accurately and openly communicate their sustainability journey. We have worked hard to improve our sustainability reporting and communications, and are absolutely delighted to receive this Award.”

More details on the University's reporting with influence entry can be found on the EAUC's Sustainability Exchange.

Highly Commended - 2030 Climate Action

Institutions are having to plan how they get to net-zero emissions, and this category focused on the steps that are being taken and planned to reach their targets. The judges of Cambridge's entry were "impressed by the science-based target approach across this very large and multi-college university. There is clearly rigour in application, and carbon savings being made. At the same time there is action around scope 3 and evident external engagement and sharing of learning."

On being Highly Commended in the 2030 Climate Action category, the Vice-Chancellor said:

"This celebrates our collective progress and bold strategic direction, while also looking to a net-zero future for the University that puts resilience, innovation and partnership at its heart.”

More details on the University's 2030 climate action entry can be found on the EAUC's Sustainability Exchange, while a full brochure of all shortlisted and winning entries is also available to download

Written by Peter Lumb, Environmental Coordinator