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How Manchester Met became the UK’s greenest university

Manchester Metropolitan University has been named the UK’s top university for environmental and ethical performance, making it the fifth consecutive year it has been in the top three.

Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) has been named the UK’s top university for environmental and ethical performance, making it the fifth consecutive year it has been in the top three. 

The recognition comes from the annually-compiled People and Planet University League, which assesses management practices, policies, carbon reduction, energy sources, waste and recycling, and water reduction.

MMU, which was ranked 91st ten years ago, was particularly praised for its environmental policy, auditing and environmental management systems, sustainability staff and education for sustainable development.

How they did it

The university is integrating sustainable development education into all of its courses, which is supported by students - 82 per cent rate sustainability as important.

Students are offered Carbon Literacy training and can then undergo more training to deliver it to other students as a paid activity, thanks to a unique environmental education fund that compensates carbon emissions from international student travel.

The university has also upgraded its staff car share scheme with electric vehicles and was one of the first organisations to sign up to the government-backed Go Ultra Low Companies initiative.

MMU is also one of a growing number of universities that has committed to divesting from fossil fuels.

Key areas

Professor Malcolm Press, vice-chancellor of MMU, said: “I am incredibly proud that our work on environmental sustainability has resulted in us being ranked ahead of every other university in the country.

“We remain committed to work to address key issues including: reducing our carbon footprint through appropriate management of our estate; developing Carbon Literacy learning for our students; and supporting innovative solutions through the production of green energy, as evidenced by our new Hydrogen Fuel Cell Innovation Centre.”

Local competition

The only other North West university in the top 30 of the People and Planet league table was the University of Chester, which came 21st. 

However, a separate 2017 league table focusing solely on cutting emissions ranks the University of Cumbria and the University of Salford in the top ten, while the University of Lancashire tops the table for renewable energy.