Building a responsible future

The University of Bristol and the Bristol Students’ Union were recognised for their groundbreaking work to integrate sustainability into the lives of its staff and students.

Run by the National Union of Students, the Responsible Futures Accreditation scheme recognises the progress of organisations working together to embed sustainability across different aspects of their operations, focusing on both the formal curriculum and extracurricular activities.

Part of the pilot cohort, Bristol has been awarded full Responsible Futures Accreditation, scoring particularly well for leadership, partnership, policy and commitment. The auditors praised Bristol for its strategic approach to embedding educational sustainable development (ESD) across the institution, stating that levels of knowledge and understanding of ESD were 'well developed and robust'.

Hannah Tweddell, Sustainability and Engaged Learning Coordinator, and the driving force behind the huge information collation task required for Bristol's submission to the scheme, said: "It reflects the great steps we've taken to integrate sustainability in all aspects of University life".

The creation of a Green Team and their Get Green initiative was especially commended and has become the focus of student involvement.

"Helping our students to understand their impact and how to live more sustainably is really important. Being the first University in the country to be audited under this new national scheme is incredibly exciting", added Chris Wilmore, Academic Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of the Green Academy.

Students and NUS experts conducted the audit, measuring compliancy against 40 sustainability criteria, conducting interviews with key representatives, and holding student focus groups. The accreditation is valid for three years.

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