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University "Highly Commended" in International Green Gown Awards

The University of Edinburgh has received a "Highly Commended" recognition in the "Sustainability Institution of the Year" category at the International Green Gown Awards.

Highly Commended banner

The International Green Gown Awards celebrate the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the world and are endorsed by United Nations Environment and are supported by The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)L’Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and International Association of Universities (IAU).  

The winners of the 2019 International Green Gown Awards were announced on 10th July 2019 at the Institute of International Education (IIE) in New York as part of the United Nations High Level Political Forum. 

Sustainability Institution of the Year - Highly Commended

The University of Edinburgh received "Highly Commended" recognition in the "Sustainability Institution of the Year" for its commitment and demonstratable actions in delivering a positive impact for society.

Delivering Positive Impact for Society

The launch of the University of Edinburgh’s Strategic Plan in 2016, signalled its intention to increase its positive impact on society through its learning and teaching, research, operations, investments and outreach. Along with the establishment of the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability in 2014, the University has made significant progress in adopting a whole institution approach to becoming a more socially responsible and sustainable university.

Recent achievements include: Commitment to become a net zero carbon university by 2040; Commitment to complete its transition out of fossil fuel investments by 2021; 1st University to adopt a formal Conflict Minerals Policy; Launched ‘Edinburgh Local’ community engagement strategy; Moved £60 million of its endowment funds to support the transition to a low carbon economy; £1.5 million investment in Big Issue Invest, the largest financial investment in social enterprise ever made by a UK university; Communicated with 15,000 staff and students in 2017/18 through online or face-to-face engagement.

The Judge's comments praised the University's efforts to mobilise its student and staff community.  

The University of Edinburgh has shown how it is possible to turn around the mindset of an institution through dedication, senior support and creativity, seeking novel means and policies to successfully support and deliver for sustainability.

International Green Gown Awards judges

The accolade recognises the Univeristy's whole-institution approach to sustainability, involving staff and students, and research, teaching, operations and investments.

The efforts of our staff, students and partnership working are essential to deliver the programmes that will ensure we achieve our vision of being a socially responsible and sustainable university. Public recognition provides us with an opportunity to celebrate their enthusiasm and hard work.

Professor Lesley McAraAssistant Principal Community Relations, Univeristy of Edinburgh

The category was won by McGill University - Canada, with ISA Lille - France and RMIT University - Australia also receiving highly commended recognition.

Find out more

International Green Gown Awards - winners 2019

Winner's Brochure (p23 / 12 for the University of Edinburgh)