University and EUSA win NUS sustainability and social responsibility awards

The University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh University Students’ Association have been awarded the NUS Responsible Futures accreditation and also NUS Green Impact awards at a national ceremony in Manchester.

The awards reflect the commitment of both the University and its students’ association to embed sustainability and social responsibility across the formal and informal curriculum as well as in the University’s campuses and communities.

It’s incredible to see so many people making a positive impact on their workplace through Green Impact and The Sustainability Awards at The University of Edinburgh.

Piers TelemacqueNUS Vice President (Society and Citizenship)

NUS Responsible Futures accreditation

13 institutions across the UK took part in the Responsible Futures 2015 pilot, all demonstrating their commitment to creating an environment in education for sustainable development to thrive. Key to this is giving students more opportunities to leave their institutions with the knowledge, skills and attributes required to critically challenge the world around them, and a desire and willingness to tackle social, economic and environmental issues and inequalities.


NUS Vice President (Society and Citizenship) Piers Telemacque commented:

“60 per cent of students want to learn more about sustainability, and Responsible Futures is making that happen.”


“We need our graduates to meet the challenges of the century ahead of us, not to repeat the mistakes of the decades behind us. That’s why I’m so thrilled that the University of Edinburgh and EUSA have been accredited with the Responsible Futures mark.


Whether they’re studying business, hair and beauty, English, geography, bricklaying, or whatever, our education system has to help students leave their institutions as part of the solution to our sustainability problems. Reforming the curriculum is a huge part of this. Shaping education is the first step to shaping the whole of society, and I can’t wait to see Edinburgh build on their Responsible Futures accreditation in the years to come”


Responsible Futures offers a framework and certification of a whole institution’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, and having an enabling environment for it to thrive, rather than an endpoint.

NUS Green Impact Awards

University staff and students were also celebrated during the ceremony after having been nominated for Green Impact awards.

Net Impact Edinburgh won the NUS Innovation for Engagement Award for running the Edinburgh Sustainability Jam.  The Jam was an innovative 48 hour hackathon event which took place in November 2014 at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) and was supported by the Department for Social Responsibility and another awards team. All but one of the organisers were student volunteers. The Jam brought together 35 students from different disciplines to solve sustainable development problems with the help of around 20 professionals specialising in sustainability and was a huge success.


The judges felt this team of students deserved to win this award to gain national recognition for showing how innovative solutions to everyday problems can be fostered through collaboration and giving support and guidance to those with ideas but not necessarily the tools through which to take action.


David Somervell of the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability won the NUS Lifetime Achievement Award for service to sustainability and student engagement in the higher education sector. 

Read an interview with David


Tim Calder of the School of Chemistry was highly commended in the CIBSE Environmental Improvement Award for helping the school become the first user of Terracycle’s Nitrile/Latex glove recycling scheme, saving 1,115kg of gloves from going into landfill between October 2014 and April 2015.


Hassan Waheed, an undergraduate in Sustainable Development, was highly commended in the IEMA Student Leadership award for being involved in a range of sustainability initiatives at the University, with IEMA stating that he “has demonstrated a real passion and drive and is achieving monumental things whilst at university”.


Piers Telemacque commented :“It’s incredible to see so many people making a positive impact on their workplace through Green Impact and The Sustainability Awards at The University of Edinburgh. We know that they can build on this over the years ahead as part of our national movement of staff and students dedicated to taking sustainability across campuses, curriculums and communities”.


The department would like to congratulate everyone involved in both the NUS Green Impact awards and Responsible Futures accreditation for their continued commitment and hard work.