Celebrating World Environment Day at Newcastle Univeristy

This Wednesday was World Environment Day – an initiative run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) since 1973 to recognise the beauty and importance of the natural world and to fight for its preservation and restoration. The programme is important for its ability to raise awareness and bring together solutions for a range of environmental concerns, and each year’s events focus on a particular theme.

Here at the University, in addition to the cutting-edge research of our academic colleagues, a wide variety of work is done year-round to help reduce environmental impacts both in our institution and beyond. All sorts of teams and individuals contribute to these efforts and so, to recognise this work and celebrate World Environment Day, the University hosts an Environment Awards Ceremony each year. This year’s awards have unfortunately had to be postponed (hence a delayed blog!), but we thought it’d be remiss to not highlight at least some of the sustainable action that’s taken place in our University over the last year!

Image: An aerial shot of the campus-adjacent Leazes Park, bathed in the late afternoon sun. Credit: Elemental Photography.

Image: An aerial shot of the campus-adjacent Leazes Park, bathed in the late afternoon sun. Credit: Elemental Photography.


Run by University College London, the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) is a programme designed to help laboratories in a variety of different disciplines to reduce the environmental impacts of their work. We’ve supported LEAF here at the University for several years now and I’m happy to announce that we’ve seen a number of new labs signing up and receiving awards this year!

Since last June, 10 new lab groups (some consisting of multiple different labs) have signed up across the Faculties of Medical Sciences, and Science, Agriculture and Engineering. Additionally, in this same period, we’ve seen a range of labs gain awards at different levels across the University for their sustainable action. Throughout our organisation, we have gained:

  • 5 new Bronze awards,
  • 1 new Silver award, and
  • 4 new Gold awards!

These achievements reflect the hard work done by technicians, researchers, and lab users and they demonstrate:

  • An impressive waste reduction in labs, especially those achieving Gold.
  • A commitment to reuse wherever possible, including working with suppliers to reduce waste.
  • The sharing of equipment and supplies with other labs in the same buildings.
  • The efficient use of equipment, including influencing all lab users to adopt sustainable practices in their work.
  • The non-stop encouragement to those around them to get involved!

Green Impact

This year also saw the launch of our first ever Green Impact programme at the University! Over the last half year, teams from throughout the University have been implementing sustainable changes in their varied workplaces to keep environmental action high on the agenda and make real savings in resource use.

This initial programme has seen involvement from senior leadership and teams as diverse as maintenance colleagues and lab researchers! Thanks to their efforts, we’ve seen some brilliant progress in the new year and I’m happy to announce that teams have achieved multiple bronze, silver, and gold awards across the University!

Continuing climate action

Work is continually progressing to improve the sustainability of our campus and operations. A list of important steps taken in our 17 years of sustainable action so far can be found here and you can also explore information specific to a variety of different environmental themes on our sustainable campus website.

A huge thank you to everyone involved in LEAF, Green Impact, and all the other sustainability projects that have achieved so much this year. If you want to find out more about our work, sign up to the Sustainability Network newsletter by emailing us, have a look at our Play your Part pages, or continue to explore our variety of blog pieces, covering everything from sustainable waste to farming for the future!

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