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An innovative scheme developed by the University of Bristol and the National Union of Students Services Limited (NUSSL) to cut back on its environmental impact has been rolled out nationally, with a Bristol hospital trust the latest to get on board.

he University’s sustainability department first introduced the Green Impact Awards four years ago, in partnership with NUSSL and it has since been adopted by almost 50 universities throughout the country.

T Now the University Hospitals Bristol

NHS Foundation Trust has teamed up with the University and NUSSL to pilot ‘Green Impact Hospitals’ – a new accreditation scheme to help departments reduce their negative impact on the environment. The pilot scheme will be rolled out to other hospitals if it proves a success and significantly reduces energy use and improves environmental performance. The principles behind the scheme are simple; departments are challenged to implement a number of easy practical actions that will help the environment, whether it’s improving recycling, using less water, promoting sustainable travel or reducing waste. The scheme promotes sustainability in its widest definition including criteria on community involvement, volunteering, biodiversity, procurement, health and safety and diversity.

Each criterion is scored out of ten relating to its impact and ease of implementation. Actions start simple, such


as collecting stamps for charity, and become increasingly difficult to implement with greater impact like implementing policies on banning domestic air travel. The actions are split into Bronze, Silver and Gold levels, so departments can continually improve. It’s up to departments how quickly they work through the criteria (of which there are about 140). For those really green and keen departments there is a Platinum award for the highest scoring teams. There are also special awards that recognize innovative initiatives, energy saving, getting other departments involved and an award for the Environmental Hero of the year.


Departments of any size can get involved, whether there are 6 or 60 people, all can take part and have an equal chance of achieving a high standard. Departments have 6 months to complete actions, after which they are then audited by staff and student volunteers (to ensure they have done what they note in their workbook). This provides a unique learning opportunity for students to get practical sustainability skills. After the audits there is a ceremony where staff get to celebrate their success and are presented with awards by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor. The ceremony also acts to enthuse and encourage new

The Green Impact Awards

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