City life | By Luke Lambert

How City built the greenest university in London

With 2020 winter temperatures rising over 20 degrees Celsius for the first time, none of us can afford to watch time slip away when we have the power to make a difference. That includes institutions, who have taken numerous steps to ensure they are meeting the green agenda, with City front and centre.


City is the highest ranked ‘green’ university according to the capital in the People & Planet University League 2019, and fifth in the country. Since 2005/06, City has reduced its carbon emissions by 53 per cent, using more renewable energy sources and providing energy saving resources such as solar panels in new and refurbished buildings.


As the founder of the London Student Sustainability Conference, City showcases the best new student research and academic projects in the field of sustainable development. There are also multiple volunteering opportunities geared towards sustainability for students and staff to get involved with including the jointly hosted City and City Students’ Union annual Global Goals Week, a series of events, activities and lectures exploring sustainability that have run for more than 10 years. In addition, City is active in promoting biodiversity, with a vegetable garden for students and staff to enjoy, relaxing green spaces and gardens on campus, and a beehive on the roof of the library.


In January 2021, City published a first-of-a-kind report which affirmed its commitment to the United Nation’s (UN) Global Goals. The City – UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development Report 2020, outlined how the City community was working to meet each of the 17 UN Global Goals through schemes such as supporting energy cutting initiatives with the Islington Sustainable Energy Partnership.


“Students have a huge role to play in calling on global leaders to address the climate emergency and the ecological crises,” says Meg Barker, Senior Project Manager at Students Organising for Sustainability, at the event which marked the report’s launch. “Therefore, universities must provide students with a space that allows them to be the change makers within their civic societies and global communities.”


Additionally, the Times Higher Education’s Impact Rankings, which measures universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, ranked City highly in categories including ‘good health and wellbeing’ and ‘responsible consumption and production’ this year.


City is doing its bit for the planet. Having committed to achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2040, there is no time to waste, and there is a role for everyone.