It was reported last week that the University of Southampton had performed badly in a sustainability league table by People & Planet University League, which seeks to rank Universities across the UK on the basis of their environmental and ethical performance.
The University has responded to this report of their performance where they are currently ranked 94th out of 154 institutions.
Rachel Mills, who is the Dean of the Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences said:
“For a number of years we have actively questioned the methodology of this league table, which is based purely on publicly available data and only reflects a small amount of the work and effort taking place to improve the sustainability in all areas of the University…The results do, however, highlight a need for better and clearer public-facing communication on the significant investment made by the University into the sustainability of our campuses, and our continued improvements relating to environmental and ethical performance.”
Meanwhile, Adam Tewkesbury, Associate Director Transport & Sustainability said that:
Through our membership of, and leading contributions to, the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC) we have engaged with People & Planet to consider alternative, more accurate metrics, however to date the methodology has not changed. As a result we, along with a significant number of other leading universities, do not consider the ranking in this league table to be an accurate reflection of our current or past environmental and ethical performance.
Ms Mills also stated her intention to hold workshops with the community between September and November this year ‘to open up the discussion around our sustainability plans and ambitions for carbon neutrality.’
This debate surrounding the University’s sustainability policies comes almost a month after a student member of Extinction Rebellion protested on the roof of a building on Highfield campus.
The Environmental Science student condemned the University’s industrial affiliation with companies like Shell and BAE systems, and also called on the University to declare a ‘climate emergency’.