University successfully certified to ISO14001:2015 – with no non-conformities!

Following a thorough audit by the external auditor NQA, our London Road and Whiteknights campuses have been certified to the internationally recognised environmental standard ISO14001:2015.
The University has excelled this year in certifying for this revised standard and was awarded no non-conformities for its updated environmental management system (EMS).

The revised standard places an increased emphasis on leadership, commitment, continual improvement of environmental performance and ensuring the University is embedding sustainability into its core business.

The Vice Chancellor was interviewed by the auditors and demonstrated that there is commitment and leadership at the highest level.

The University was able to show that the EMS was effective by;

• Embedding environmental and sustainability into key business processes, e.g. via the Estate Strategy.
• Ensuring that sustainability is considered during the procurement process.
• Making staff aware of their collective and individual environmental impacts.
• Communicating areas of good practice and promoting the positive impacts that the University can and does have.
• Demonstrating continual improvement of environmental performance (35% carbon reduction and diverting 99% of waste away from landfill), as well as forward planning with long term strategic plans that take into account the influence of internal and external issues e.g. legislative changes, student population etc.
• Providing cost savings and a significant return on investment as demonstrated by the Carbon Management Plan.
• Maintaining compliance to legal and mandatory obligations by auditing, reporting and reviewing processes.

The certification offers an independent validation to the University’s operations which legitimises the environmental initiatives. It offers external customers, suppliers and interested parties confidence that environmental risks are being identified and addressed and that compliance is a key consideration.

For more information about the EMS process please contact Anna Glue (Sustainability Officer), or to report sustainability issues or achievements please contact Sustainability Services on ext. 6837 or via

University ‘highly commended’ for its environmental progress

The 11th Green Gown Awards were held on the 26th November and saw over 320 sustainability leaders join together in Bristol in the celebration of sustainability excellence within tertiary education.

The evening was hosted by Dr Andrew Garrad, Chairman of Bristol 2015 European Green Capital. Andrew is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and is an Honorary Fellow of New College, Oxford. “I am delighted that, towards the end of our year as European Green Capital, Bristol hosted the Green Gown Awards. These Awards recognise the important role that academic institutions play in ensuring that young people have a proper understanding of both the challenges and the opportunities presented by sustainability.” Each year the Awards bring together the most inspirational projects from across the sector and this year was no exception.

Award presentation

The University was proud to receive a highly commended award in the Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change category. This recognised the success we have had in reducing our carbon emissions as well as increasing recycling and bus travel.

The judges felt that the University was at the leading edge in terms of estates and operations and commended its ambitions and its substantial financial and carbon savings achievements. They particularly endorsed the application of sustainability into the terms and conditions of all employees.

Since 2008, the University’s holistic approach to environmental management has enabled staff and students to come together and deliver significant and quantifiable environmental improvements. The University has delivered a 26% absolute cut in its carbon emissions, meaning it is on track to meet its 35% carbon reduction target in 2016. The University has increased passenger numbers on buses to and from its main campus by 20% each year since 2011, has reduced waste produced by a third and has almost completely eradicated waste sent to landfill. Together, this work has saved £9.9million and 32,155 tCO2, and in 2014/15, the University achieved certification under both ISO14001 and ISO50001.

The University were also shortlisted in the Facilities and Services category for the innovative soap recycling scheme at Greenlands, and in the Food and Drink Category.

The work doesn’t stop here though, we still have plenty more to do and we hope everyone at the University will play their part…


UoR Awarded 14001 and EcoCampus Platinum!!

An outstanding achievement once again! The University of Reading’s Environmental Management System for Whiteknights and London Rd has achieved the international standard ISO 14001 and the EcoCampus Platinum award for the second time running!

An Environmental Management Systems (EMS) is a structured framework for managing the institute’s significant environmental impacts in order to move towards a more sustainable way of working.

Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell said: “The successful achievement of ISO 14001 is an important milestone in our commitment to minimise our effect on the environment. Staff, students and third party stakeholders can now have a degree of assurance that we are effectively managing our environmental obligations and continue to improve our performance.” 

The University of Reading has made huge advances in reducing waste production, increasing recycling, reducing its carbon footprint and rising awareness of the importance of the taking action to improve the environment around us and being sustainable. A follow up audit will be taking place next year to ensure that we continue to improve.


University wins funding for design of energy efficient RUSU refurbishment

We have successfully been awarded funding by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB)’s Innovative Refurbishment Programme for energy efficiency improvements in the Students’ Union (RUSU). 

Our bid was a joint effort in partnership with Carnego Systems Ltd, LCMB Ltd and Nottingham Trent University, with a focus on energy reductions through intelligent building controls and performance software, combined with engagement of building users.

Initially, we have secured funding for a design and evaluation phase, alongside receiviRUSUng advice from TSB on how to better optimise the existing building controls.  We will be working hard to develop a full design proposal during the coming phase for further approval by TSB, in order to implement some exciting improvements for RUSU’s energy make over.

 The bid has been a combined collaboration between the Estates & Facilities Department and the School of Construction Management and Engineering.  It will provide a great opportunity for the University to showcase its carbon reduction credentials and has been supported by the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE).

Read more about green initiatives at the University –

The University wins Gold for Going Greener

The University’s commitment to improving its green credentials has been recognised by recently gaining the Gold EcoCampus award.

EcoCampus is a scheme designed to help higher education institutions improve their environmental performance.

Reading’s commitment to reducing its carbon emissions by 35% by 2015/16 via a new carbon management plan was instrumental in the University attaining the award.

Other key factors in the University’s recent ‘green’ success include its behavioural change policy for staff and students and commitment to making our campuses as eco-friendly as possible. Many members of staff were involved in the recent Green Impact Awards, which encourages teams of people in a Faculty or building to take small steps towards reducing their individual environmental impact.

Denise Shearman, Head of Campus Services, said: “We are delighted that our efforts have been recognised by EcoCampus. The University reduced its carbon emissions by 10% in 2010/11, equivalent to almost 4000 tonnes of CO2, and over 65% of our staff and students now walk to the University or come by bicycle or public transport.”

Other impressive eco-friendly statistics include:

  • The University has installed over 200 solar panels on building roofs which will cut our annual carbon footprint by 22,000 kilograms of CO2 per year
  • In our most recent halls of residence development project, we recycled 98% of the masonry from the original 1960s halls in the foundations of the new (Mackinder and Stenton) Halls
  • We have achieved a Green Flag award for one of the best open spaces in the country

“Behavioural change is a large part of our ethos to continue to become more eco-friendly,” continued Denise. “Initiatives such as our annual Green Week which aims to make staff and students even more environmentally friendly, regular campus litter-picks and active involvement in schemes such as Earth Hour, are instrumental in the University becoming ever greener. We now have over 250 ‘Environmental Champions’ helping to change our working environment for the better.”

EcoCampus is the leading national Environmental Management System (EMS) and award scheme for the higher and further education sectors. The scheme enables universities to identify, evaluate, manage and improve their environmental performance and practices. The scheme was launched by HEFCE in 2005 and has since attracted approximately 30% of the sector.

The Catering team have also been winning awards this month, with a number of the University’s catering outlets receiving bronze and silver accreditations in Wokingham Borough Council’s “Eat Out Eat well” scheme.

The aim of the scheme is to reward caterers throughout West Berkshire and Wokingham Councils who make it easier for their customers to make healthy choices when eating out.

Darren Edwards, Chef Manager from the Central Kitchen, has undertaken Nutrition Training organised by West Berkshire Council, and the team have been introducing more healthy alternatives and options in the Eat cafés and outlets.

Green League Table Result Confirms Environmental Progress

The University has been awarded an Upper Second Class Award and ranked 59 out of 145 in the People & Planet Green League 2012, an improvement of 24 places from last year and 3 points short of achieving a ‘First’.

Sir David Bell told staff: “In the past 12 months, we have cut our carbon usage by 10% in absolute terms¹ as we pursue the challenging objectives from our Carbon Management Plan of reducing our carbon footprint by 35% by 2015/16.

“As an institution with a global reputation for sustainability and climate change research, we need to ensure good environmental practices permeate all that we do. This includes everything from building new facilities through recycling our waste to the everyday behaviour of staff and students.

“Our standing in the Green League Table is a good indication that we are doing a lot of things right. We have inspections in the next few weeks for the re-assessment of our Green Flag award and to upgrade our EcoCampus Award to a ‘Gold’, we hope. We have successfully bid for over £750,000 of funding to help run projects that are reducing our carbon footprint and will bring financial returns, from insulation projects to more sensitive building management systems. However, ultimately, it is people that make the difference.

“My thanks go to our 250 environmental champions who help drive improved performance at a local level across the University. But all of us have a part to play to ensure we achieve the 35% saving, an achievement that would save the University the equivalent of nearly £20 million.”

An updated version of our Carbon Management Plan will be published in the next month or so, which will help us set the agenda for the next few years.

Green facts and figures on the University of Reading

  • Reduced carbon emissions by 10% in 2010/11 compared to our 2008/09 baseline
  • Awarded the Carbon Trust Standard for reducing CO2year on year
  • Voted fourth best green space in the UK in the Green Flag Awards
  • Achieved a Silver EcoCampus award for work towards environmental sustainability
  • Decreased the total amount of waste by 7%, recycling 42% of all waste
  • Increased by 27% the total amount of glass recycled on campus
  • Introduced improvements to the bus service linking the University with Reading town centre, in conjunction with Reading Buses.
  • Carried out a full travel audit of staff and student travel patterns to support a new Travel Plan.
  • Installed over 200 Photo Voltaic cells on the Whiteknights Campus to reduce carbon footprint by 21,900 kilograms of COper year.
  • Energy consumption reduced by 16%
  • Introduced environmental procurement practises to ensure our suppliers work with us to reduce the carbon footprint related o the goods and services they supply to the University.
  • Reduced electricity consumption among staff and students by 8.4% through the Switch Off campaign
  • Achieved our first two B rated Display Energy Certificaties for energy efficient buildings – Henley Business School and Carrington Building

More information about the University’s environmental performance and initiatives at

People and Planet Green League Table-