Planet Mark-certified Warwickshire College Group (WCG) sets up ‘green team’ as major education provider reports further cut in annual carbon footprint.
WCG, one of the largest further and higher education providers in the Midlands, has been awarded The Planet Mark™ in recognition of its commitment to continuous improvement in sustainability. The college group reported a 3.7% cut in its total carbon footprint in the year ending July 2016. The certification marks the third consecutive year WCG has retained The Planet Mark™; over that period the college group has managed to slash its carbon footprint by 25%.
The Planet Mark™ Certificate was awarded to WCG for showing good practice in sustainability, including:
- measuring its carbon footprint including natural gas, onsite building fuel, electricity, water and waste
- reducing its carbon footprint by 3.7% in tonnes of CO2e (tCO2e) to 4,800.4 tCO2e
- reducing its carbon footprint per staff and pupil by 11.3%
- investing in the Eden Project to support education on climate change
- storing 260 tCO2e by protecting one acre of endangered rainforest through the charity Cool Earth
- committing to engage employees and suppliers to drive improvements.
Following an official presentation of The Planet Mark™ Certificate, Angela Joyce, Group Principal and CEO at WCG, said: “Achieving and maintaining The Planet Mark™ demonstrates our commitment to reducing our carbon emissions and improving our environmental, social and related economic performance. Our staff and students are a major part of this activity, helping to make the changes happen, and this is something we will continue to support and encourage.”
One of the first actions following The Planet Mark™ certification award has been the creation of a ‘green team’ at WCG to influence behaviour change and to action further sustainability measures across the college group.
“We’re delighted to achieve The Planet Mark™ again but we aren’t resting on our laurels. This year we will also be fitting new gas boilers and possibly PV solar panels at Moreton Morrell College and our new ‘green team’ will be a vital part of our sustainability agenda going forward,” said John Vickery, Director of Estates.
Steve Malkin, founder of The Planet Mark™, added: “People make the difference in sustainability and it’s great to see the students and staff at WCG working together to ensure further emissions reductions in WCG’s next reporting year. We hope this certificate of achievement will help spur them on and we congratulate them on what they’ve achieved so far.”
In the 2015-16 reporting period, WCG measured emissions across six college campuses – Royal Leamington Spa, Rugby Moreton Morrell, Trident Warwick, Pershore and Henley-in-Arden.
A total of 15,415 staff and students were working across the six campuses during the 2015-16 academic year, an increase of more than 1200 on the previous year. This means that the carbon footprint per student and staff actually reduced by more than 11% to 0.31 tCO2e.
The decrease in total carbon footprint can be attributed to a decrease in emissions from electricity (down 12%), woodchip (down 11%), and landfill waste (down 3%). However, it should be noted that these reductions were mostly attributed to updated 2016 Defra emission conversion factors that reflect the greening of the UK National grid for electricity and new data and methodology improvements for the landfill emissions. Actual electricity consumption decreased by 1.2% from the previous year, helped by the installation of LED fittings to both Warwick Trident and Royal Leamington Spa Colleges. Meanwhile, actual landfill waste produced increased slightly by 5% on the previous year.