Event: Green Gown Awards – Recognising sustainbility initiatives in further education

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E Co. Senior consultant Imelda Phadtare attended the Green Gowns panel and judging sessions on Wednesday, 27th January. Established in 2004, the Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges.


About the Awards

With sustainability moving up the agenda, the Awards have become established as the most prestigious recognition of best practice within tertiary education.

The Green Gown Awards are administered by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) and are governed by a cross agency steering group. The judging panel are representatives of sector organisations. – [Green Gown Awards]


As a judge on the category of Research and Impact, E Co. Senior consultant, Mel, answered these questions posed to the panel:

  1. How can the Awards better help the sector to not only recover but build it back better?

  2. What do you see as the biggest opportunity for 2021 for the education sector to make an impact on climate action?

“The education sector awards must continue to celebrate excellence, amplify results, create community and facilitate the quantification of research impacts. This last part is critical because best practice tells us that we can’t manage what we can’t scientifically measure. We also have a responsibility in education to inspire so that we can solve climate change problems. Or in the case of our “new normal”, build resilience alongside them.” – Imelda Phadtare

Entrants to the Awards focused their research on a variety of topics and sectors, including:

  • The apparel industry
  • Clean energy
  • Circular economy
  • Soil erosion
  • Plant based CCS
  • Food production in humanitarian settings

All entrants worked with international partners, with research focusing on the UK and internationally. You can watch videos of the finalists here.

The role of research institutes in shaping climate policy

COP 26 will provide an important platform for engagement in policy and collaboration. The UK’s education and research institutes are vital for incubating and deploying climate change solutions both here and around the world. Our campuses are driving towards net zero emissions in line with UK ambitions, however adaptation ambitions for universities on the whole, remain less clear. The OECD reported that in 2018, 79% of climate funding was allocated towards mitigation measures, while 21% was allocated to adaptation and cross cutting issues. Research institutes have an opportunity to lead by example on addressing adaptation by future proofing campus assets and infrastructure, in anticipation of shocks. 

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