Sustainability awards

UWE Bristol and The Students' Union at UWE have gained external recognition for their efforts to improve their sustainability performance across the board – for their teaching and research, professional services, campus developments and for the commitment and creativity of students and staff.

Recent awards

  • June 2024: Times Higher Education impact ratings evidencing progress in relation to the 18 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ranked UWE Bristol in the top 200 universities globally and in the top 50 for five SDGs. 
  • December 2023: the university was ranked as a 'first-class' university and 11th of all UK universities for its environmental and ethical performance according to the 2023/24 People & Planet University League – further details below.
  • November 2023: the university won the prestigious ‘Institution of the year’ Green Gown award.
  • November 2023: for the 8th year in a row our Hospitality team received a silver Food for Life award for food at four sites on campus.
  • May 2023: our partnership with The Students' Union at UWE was accredited to Responsible Futures (an ESD initiative of SOS-UK) for the fourth time since 2016. In 2022-23 we were one of two national Responsible Futures Host Partnerships.
  • July 2022: the University in partnership with The Students’ Union at UWE was accredited as a Fairtrade University by SOS UK, having held this award since 2006.
  • 2022: UWE Bristol won the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award at the Green UK and Ireland Gown Awards for its Green Skills for Jobs and Entrepreneurship.
  • 2022: The Students’ Union at UWE received an ‘Excellent’ Award at the NUS Green Impact Awards and were the highest scoring for the sixth year in a row.
  • 2022: the University was awarded a Gold level Hedgehog Friendly Campus accreditation, upgraded from the Silver award in 2021.
  • Green Gown Winner 2023 logo
  • People and Planet University League logo.
  • The impact rankings 2023 logo.
  • Logo with white background and red text saying 'Food for life silver served here'
  • Be Bold Awards 2023 winner text in black and pink on logo with a bee illustration.
  • Logo in dark blue with white text 'Fairtrade University and College award'
  • NUS green impact 2021 award logo
  • NUS Responsible Futures accreditation logo
  • Gold hedgehog award logo

Previous years

For details of past awards that UWE Bristol has received for our contribution to sustainability, please email the Sustainability Team at

First class award from People & Planet

People & Planet are the UK's largest student campaigning network and every year they assess the progress of all 151 UK universities' ethical and environmental performance.

In 2023/24 UWE Bristol proudly received a first class award and came 11th in the league table. This guide gives you an insight into how UWE Bristol are progressing to meet these sustainability themes.

UWE Bristol's People & Planet University League table results

Environmental Policy and Strategy

The University has an environmental policy which is regularly reviewed and updated by the Sustainability Executive Committee.

View our environmental policy and other documents

Targets and strategy

To keep us on track, the University has SMART targets (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) in Emissions and Discharges, Biodiversity, Waste Management, Travel and Transport and Water.

View our relevant action plans

Staff and HR

Leadership for sustainability is guided from the top by the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chair of the Sustainability Executive Committee Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of College (CATE), Professor Elena Marco. UWE Bristol has 14 dedicated staff working in sustainability roles along with others in key areas.

To engage and support all staff in our sustainability work, the University runs compulsory and optional training events and activities and provides sustainability networks for academic and service staff.

Sustainability strategy, leadership and plans

How students and staff can get involved

Environmental auditing and management systems

To check we are on the right course, the University's sustainability performance is scrutinised annually by external auditors using the international standard BS:EN ISO14001:2015 standard. This certification covers the whole institution, our Estates, Services and Educational provision. 

Ethical investment and banking

To ensure transparency for any financial investments, we publish an Ethical Investment policy reviewed annually by the Sustainability Executive Committee. This policy excludes holdings in fossil fuel companies, arms companies and companies in violation of human rights.

Ethical careers and recruitment

The University wants to empower our students and graduates to make informed careers choices that meet with their values and contribute to a sustainable future. Our Ethical Careers Policy core principles are inclusivity, diversity, sustainability and social responsibility.

Managing carbon

To greatly reduce our impact on the planet, the University is committed to becoming net zero carbon by 2030 including all emissions caused on and off campus. We have a detailed Carbon and Energy Management Plan for 2030 and put significant funds into one off capital and ongoing projects on a yearly basis. We also have a detailed Travel Action Plan route to 2030.

View our relevant action plans

Carbon, energy and water management

Workers Rights

We are a Living Wage Employer and committed to improving workers' rights both within the University and across the globe. To support of farmers and producers in the developing world, we are a Fairtrade University and in terms of our supply chain we are a member of the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium which is affiliated to the Electronics Watch on behalf of it's members.

Sustainable purchasing and procurement

To ensure transparency, we have signed a Can't Buy My Silence pledge to stop using Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) for complaints about sexual harassment, bullying and other forms of misconduct.

Sustainable food

The University has a sustainable food plan which commits us to measures which reduce the impact of food consumption on campus, such as an increase in plant based food, accreditation to the Soil Association sustainable food framework, support for growing projects on campus and sustainability requirements in our tender specification for outside contractors.

View our policy and strategy documents

Student and staff engagement

Our Sustainability Engagement Strategy shows how we raise awareness and involve students and staff: from sustainability inductions, our annual Green Fortnight, to project funding, consultation with students and Trade Unions in our Carbon Management plan and student led auditing of our Fairtrade and Responsible Futures accreditations.

Get involved 

Education for Sustainable Development

Education for sustainable development (ESD) sits at the heart of UWE Bristol’s teaching and learning and we are proud to be one of only three UK universities to have Professor in Education for Sustainable Development. To embed ESD in all courses we have mapped each one in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals. To ensure that we are on track and to provide scrutiny we apply for and have received SOS-UK’s Responsible Futures accreditation. To support asylum seekers and refugees we offer two Sanctuary scholarships.

Energy sources, waste, recycling, carbon and water reduction

Information on our energy sources, waste and recycling, carbon and water reduction on campus are reported to the Higher Education Statistic Agency (HESA) which is publicly available along with waste, recycling, carbon and water reduction on the HESA website under Estates Management Records


You may also be interested in