human activity and the destruction of the planet

UK Universities Sustainability League

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People & planet University League logo with image of earth

People & Planet is the UK’s largest student network and it compiles an annual league table of all UK universities in terms of their environmental and ethical performance. The data they collect is from university websites and other published sources.  From this they compile a league table divided into: First Class; 2:1 class; 2.1 class; third class and failed.  Their methodology is described on their own website:

Universities can challenge their listing and the data initially published on the above site is therefore subject to change, if the challenge is successful.  In the top five are:

Manchester Metropolitan University; University of Gloucestershire; Nottingham Trent University; University of Worcester and Aston University.

There are 26 universities which failed in the scoring system and this list includes some well-known names, such as the Open University, Durham University, Heriot-Watt University, Wolverhampton University and the Royal Academy of Music.

Chris Foote of STV has also covered the topic in terms of the 15 Scottish universities and ranks Edinburgh Napier University at the top. On their site they also congratulate Glasgow Caledonian University for becoming the 5th Scottish university to disinvest from fossil fuels.  The full text can be found at:

Friends of the Earth Scotland put out the following Press Release today (15th Nov 17)




Student network People & Planet (1) have revealed that Glasgow Caledonian University has divested from fossil fuels and commited to have no further investments in the industry. The information was revealed as part of the publication of the People & Planet University League which rates university environmental performance.

GCU is now the 10th organisation in Scotland to begin divestment from fossil fuels, following in the footsteps of their city counterparts at The University of Glasgow who were the first organisation in Europe to divest. This reflects growing support for tough action on fossil fuels, the industry most responsible for climate change. (2)

Dr. Keith Baker, Researcher in Sustainable Urban Environments at Glasgow Caledonian University (3) said,

“As an energy policy researcher at GCU I’m delighted to see recognition for the University’s policy of divesting from the fossil fuel industry.

“This is an industry that must now undergo a managed decline towards 2025-2030 if we are to meet our emissions reduction targets, so as well as demonstrating GCU’s commitment to its motto of The Common Good, it also makes sense financially. With students becoming increasingly aware of the links between universities and the fossil fuel industry, it is an important differentiator between those who have responded to the need to practice what we preach, and those who might promote renewable energy but still maintain investments in fossil fuels.”

In 2012, GCU were the only Scottish university to sign the Green Education Declaration, a commitment to reduce carbon emissions and integrate sustainability into teaching and learning across all subjects. (4)

This year’s league table also ranked Scottish universities for their overall environmental performance scoring Edinburgh Napier University top, followed by University of Edinburgh. (5)

Hannah Smith, Co-Director for Research and Campaigns at People & Planet, said,

“Since the People & Planet University league began the number of universities employing environment staff has doubled and now all universities have a set policy on their environmental impacts. The league table has consistently and unashamedly held universities to account over the last decade and today we’re excited to celebrate yet another Scottish university taking the decision to break ties with the fossil fuel industry”.

Ric Lander, Friends of the Earth Scotland Divestment Campaigner said,

“Congratulations to Glasgow Caledonian University: by divesting they are showing that we can make a world without fossil fuels, and that starts now.

“This year the world has seen devastating floods, violent hurricanes, and communities lost to rising seas. This climate crisis is being driven by fossil fuel use and GCU’s decision to end their relationship with the companies responsible is a really significant step.

“People power in Scotland has so far seen ten organisations begin divesting from fossil fuels. This sends a clear message to our Governments that fighting the climate crisis is urgent.”

Elsewhere in Glasgow the council-run Strathclyde Pension Fund is under pressure to divest following a recent report, showing the fund had £802 million invested in fossil fuels. (6)


For interviews, data, further analysis on the People & Planet University League please contact Hannah Smith:

0186 540 322 ”



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