P&P University League

People & Planet’s University League is a comprehensive and independent league table of UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance. It is compiled annually by the UK’s largest student campaigning network, People & Planet.

2023/24 Results

The University of Kent maintained its 2:1 class in the 2023/24 People and Planet University League published in the Guardian (13th December 2023) achieving 32nd  place overall out of 151.

P&P Sections

The University of Kent has a publicly available Sustainability Policy which is signed by the Vice-Chancellor, and the Chair of Council. 

This Policy is reviewed annually as part of the Management Review of our ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System (EMS). Policy review usually takes place in September and the most recent Policy was signed off in December 2022.

Our EMS sets out time-bound targets for our significant environmental aspects. The Sustainability Policy outlines our commitments to the areas specified. Most areas have their own strategy documents that highlight the targets and timescales. The targets are reported and reviewed through the EMS Team, and reported upwards through the Sustainability Steering Group to council. 

As a university, we have an externally verified Environmental Management System (EMS), which covers the whole University estate. We have maintained the ISO14001 standard since 2012 and recently successfully recertified to ISO 14001:2015 in December 2021.  

Sustainability is included within the portfolio of a member of the University's Executive Group; Professor Richard Reece, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Education and Student Experience.

The Sustainability Team, Dr Catherine Morris, Sustainability Manager, and Emily Mason, Sustainability Coordinator are supported by colleagues across the University with specific responsibilities in supporting this work. 

See the Who's Who of Sustainability at Kent

All staff are encouraged to get involved with supporting sustainability. Our staff engagement programme empowers staff to take action and is supported by our network of sustainability champions.

The University includes its Ethical Investment commitments within the Investment Policy. The current Policy was signed and published in May 2023.

We have also published a list of our investment holdings which details how our investments held with Cazenove Capital are in their Responsible Multi-Asset fund, this is a highly ethically sound investment fund designed to also monitor the carbon footprint of investments.

We are committed to not investing either directly, or in pooled investment funds a major part of whose business is pornography, gambling, tobacco, fossil fuels or armaments.

Our aim is to publish information about the University's investment practices and procedures in such a way that facilitates greater transparency and access to information for students, staff and the general public. All of the information above can be found on our Finance webpages  

The University includes sustainability and ethical standards, particularly with regards to high risk sectors such as fossil fuel, arms, mining and tobacco, in its vacancy handling policy which is updated annually.

Information about the careers service structure and staff can be found on the careers and employability webpages 

The University of Kent Careers and Employability Service is not part of any combined Careers Service but uses the resources and support provided by a number of third parties as set out in our Code of Practice

The University is commitment to improving the terms and conditions for its own workers as well as for those involved within the University's supply chains.

We are a member of the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium (SUPC) which is fully affiliated to Electronics Watch on behalf of its members.

The University has also signed up to the Can't Buy My Silence universities pledge

Our Sustainability Engagement and Coms Plan outlines our approach and targets for engaging staff, students and interested parties  

We have measurable targets and baselines to review our progress and have included a detailed communications plan that allows us to communicate in a timely and clear manner.

The Sustainability Communications sub-group made up of colleagues from the sustainability team and central communications allocate time and resource to ensure that the objectives of this strategy are met. 

Students, staff and trade union representatives are represented across the University's strategic decision making process incl:  

We collate all of our strategic objectives along with our other avenues of support (e.g. funding, advice etc) on our engagement webpage.  

We host events published on our events calendar and take part in the annual CCAP Climate Festival and Awards to share ideas and take action on the climate and ecological emergency. 

We use our Instagram to post about our own events, as well as boost events hosted by others.  

Big engagement projects this year included tree planting throughout the year as part of the River of Vegetation project; and our program of events through KentCOG.

Students also lead on large-scale biodiversity mapping of our estate as part of the annual BioBlitz, an engagement event that brings students and community together. Data is collated through our i-naturalist project.

Kent Union are working towards their Environmental Strategy 2020-25.

All students living on campus are given a handbook that helps them settle into University life. This includes information about sustainability, opportunities for sustainable education and volunteering, energy saving and waste and recycling. This is updated every year with current information.

All staff at the University are required to undertake the Sustainability Awareness module

A Sustainable Curriculum and Research Steering Group deliver on our framework for embedding ESD which is reported to the SSG chaired by Richard Reece (Deputy Vice-Chancellor)

We worked with Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS) to map our curriculum against the SDGs during the summer of 2022 and have published the full report.

The Sustainability Team supports ESD through training for academic staff, designing projects for students and facilitating living-lab projects

An ESD online toolkit is now available to all staff to provide more resources and guidance and this has been built into our PGCHE to enable academic teaching staff to understand how the SDGs can be integrated into teaching.

In 2023 we ran a Learning and Teaching Conference entitled 'Embedding Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the Curriculum and Co-Curriculum'

We offer scholarships to enable students to access HE such as the Article 26 Award

We have a publicly available Carbon Management Plan statement which sets out our short, medium and long-term targets to achieve net zero by 2040. This document can be accessed directly below or through our climate action webpages

This document also includes our baseline data and interim targets for Scope 3 emissions in line with our target to achieve net zero scope 3 by 2050.

As well as the data, the published statement sets out the responsibilities, governance and financing of our carbon reduction work.

Our emissions data broken down by area is published annually of the Energy and Carbon Webpages

We have a publicly available Sustainable Food Action Plan which is reviewed annually by the Sustainable Food Steering Group and reported to the SSG.  This sets out our vision for the provision of affordable, health and sustainable food across all of our outlets. 

Key objectives include: 

  • embedding sustainability into he tender process for our suppliers
  • adopting a plant-forward approach
  • reducing food waste.

The Sustainable Food Steering Group includes representatives from Commercial Services, Procurement and Sustainability as well as student and staff representatives.

Details of our sustainable food activity can be found on the Sustainable Food webpage

Staff, students and the local community are provided with the opportunity to be part of the Kent Community Oasis Garden (COG), a sustainability hub centred around growing food. This year, food grown at Kent COG will be purchased by our catering outlets to produce food served on site.

2023/24 Successes

Despite the significant challenges faced over the last few years we perform well in many areas of the league table in comparison to the sector which reflects our institutional commitment to sustainability. 

Areas where we perform especially well are Sustainability Education, Staff & Student Engagement and Environmental Auditing & Management which recognises the university's ongoing demonstration of its commitments through the operation of an externally certified Environmental Management System.

The University placed in the top 10 in the UK for both ethical careers and ethical investment reflecting out progress in screening out the fossil fuel industry from our investment portfolio and employability activities.

Unfortunately, many of the scoring gains described were offset by our operational performance which scored relatively poorly compared to the sector. This was partly due to the nature of our campus. As we are a campus university with a large proportion of students living in our on-campus accommodation our per capita energy and waste is often higher than other campuses. 

Find out more

If you have any questions about our performance in this league then please contact sustainability@kent.ac.uk

You can find the full league table and details of the scoring methodology here

People and Planet University League
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