The university is the only institution in Scotland to be rated ‘first class’. It climbed 18 places from last year’s rankings to be placed 23rd out of 154 universities in the UK.
People & Planet is the UK’s largest student campaigning network. Its annual University League is the only league table that ranks UK universities on their environmental and social justice performance.
The rating is based on scores in 13 categories, including carbon reduction, energy resources, waste and recycling, sustainable food, workers’ rights, ethical investment and water reduction.
The criteria is scored using data collected and made public by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and other external agencies, as well as from information available on universities’ websites.
Paulo Cruz, sustainability officer at GCU, said: “As the University for the Common Good, GCU believes in embedding the principles of sustainable development into every aspect of our operations, from learning, teaching and research to associated support services and the way we manage the campus.
“We are delighted that our commitment to creating a more sustainable future for GCU has been recognised by People & Planet. It is testament to the hard work of both staff and students and shows the progress that has been made.”
Recent sustainability highlights include the launch of GCU’s sustainable food policy, which provides strategic direction to everyone involved in catering at the university and applies to all on-campus food outlets.
It aims to minimise the university’s contribution to the many social, economic and environmental challenges associated with modern food supply chains.
GCU is Scotland’s first Cycle Friendly Campus, awarded with distinction for its role in encouraging and supporting the increase of the number of students and staff travelling by bike – currently 10 per cent.
GCU has also invested in state-of-the-art recycling facilities and a combined heat and power system to help reduce the University’s carbon footprint, and it continues to send no waste to landfill.