The University of Sussex has come joint first - scoring 100% - in the areas of Sustainable Food and Education for Sustainable Development, according to the 2022/23 People & Planet University League.
People & Planet’s University League is annually compiled and ranks 153 UK universities based on their environmental and ethical performance. It is the only comprehensive and independent league table of universities ranked against sustainability and ethics criteria.
The news comes as a boon for the University, which has set a vision to become one of the most sustainable universities in the world, as outlined in the Sussex Sustainability Strategy. It has pledged to positively impact the community through a sustainable supply chain and by embedding sustainability into all aspects of student learning and experience.
The University has also recently announced its intention to launch an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle lease scheme for staff. The Scheme, which is scheduled to launch in Summer 2023, will operate like a cycle to works scheme and will offer an opportunity for staff who qualify for the benefit to lease an electric vehicle while making tax and National Insurance savings from their gross pay.
It is just a further pledge as part of a range of staff opportunities to travel more sustainably as the University works towards its target of being Net Zero by 2035.
In addition, the University has just launched a competitive tender process for new on-campus catering contract providers, and will seek partners whose commitments to equality, diversity, and inclusion, and to environmental sustainability align with its own institutional values.
Professor Sasha Roseneil, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex, said:
"Driving sustainable practices is at the heart of what we do at the University of Sussex and it is fantastic that some of our efforts have been recognised by People & Planet. We recently audited the University’s entire curriculum for sustainability content and we are now working to double down on our current commitment to ensure that sustainability is taught within all degrees. This will include encouraging as many Sussex academics as possible to pledge to further embed sustainability in their teaching this March.
"I am excited that we will soon be able to offer many of our staff the opportunity to join an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle lease scheme, alongside our existing cycle-to-work scheme, ensuring that we back our pledges and rhetoric with action."
Sam Waugh, Sustainability Manager at the University of Sussex says:
"We are very happy to have scored so highly in these areas which are an important focus for us at the University. We are working hard to show global leadership in demonstrating and promoting all forms of environmental, social and economic sustainability."
The Sustainable Food section of the People & Planet League Table looks at whether a University has a policy on sustainable food and a University’s commitment to sustainable catering and what support is provided for community food projects.
The University of Sussex scored full marks across all areas of this category and it was acknowledged that
gained Sustainable Restaurant Association 3-star accreditation for the first time in 2019, based on their three pillars of Sourcing, Society and Environment. The University of Sussex retained 3-star accreditation when documents were resubmitted in January 2022.
The University also scored 100% in the category Education for Sustainable Development. This category looks at the University’s commitment and governance for Education for Sustainable Development, and implementing and tracking progress and supporting academic staff in their training in Education for Sustainable Development.
The category also provides a score based on actions of the University, highlighting that at Sussex, the campus is used as a "living lab" and that much of the academic research has a sustainability focus. Sussex was also acknowledged for providing equal access to higher education, by offering multiple scholarships to asylum seekers, students with refugee status or humanitarian protection, as well as offering financial living cost support for students.