RAU achieves internationally recognised environmental standard
The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) is thrilled to announce it’s been awarded ISO14001 certification for its Environmental Management System (EMS), showing its dedication to sustainability across all operations.
The EMS is a structured framework for managing the University’s environmental initiatives, which is independently audited to ensure its effectiveness. ISO14001 is the highest ranking for an EMS and is recognised throughout the world. It provides organisations with a structured framework for protecting the environment, to ensure what we say is happening is actually being done in practice.
RAU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Chris Gaskell, said: “This is very welcome recognition of the hard work that everyone has, and continues, to put in. It is particularly important for a university that embeds environmental sustainability in all of its teaching, to have its own efforts formally accredited by an outside body. A great achievement and something to build on yet further.”
ISO14001 certification brings with it a multitude of environmental and practical benefits for the RAU:
- A reduction in costs from saving energy and waste reduction is reinvested into more positive projects across the university – new smart meters, extending student recycling, planting more wildflowers on campus to encourage wildlife and biodiversity
- The EMS is a ‘living laboratory’ to teach students about sustainability and environmental management at all levels. Business students use it as a case study, rural land management students learn about it in lectures, and it’s offered to students as a dissertation project
- Extra-curricular opportunities are created for students – Green Impact scheme, the RAU Environmental Society, sustainability events such as the Fairtrade Bake Off and Climate Week Challenge
- Confidence that the University is managing its legal obligations
- Increased competitiveness for tender
The University has also seen significant progress against our environmental action plan; water consumption has been reduced by 25%, new heating and hot water controls have seen a 16% reduction in energy, and 18% of energy used now comes from renewables. The University has also installed solar panels and LED lighting, switched to a renewable electricity contract, and introduced a more efficient halls of residence recycling system.
Pearl Costello, Environmental Officer at the RAU, said: “It’s fantastic to get this accreditation which shows the real improvements the University has made. I’m delighted that the independent auditors noted a positive approach across the whole organisation, and were impressed by the innovative technologies we’ve put in place. It’s great to acknowledgement everyone’s hard work and commitment. We’re looking forward to improving even further over the next few years!”
The University started the process in 2013 using the Acorn phased approach, and put an Environmental Action Plan in place to outline targets and areas from improvement. The RAU will continue to work on its Environmental Action Plan and drive sustainability forwards.
According to HESA statistics, only 37 universities were ISO14001 accredited in 2013/14.