What Is Green Impact?

Green Impact is an environmental accreditation and awards scheme run by the National Union of Students, bringing staff and students together with their wider communities to enable and showcase positive changes in environmental practice.

We recognise the potential of staff and students to change the way their institutions behave, from the bottom up. Working across UK students’ unions, universities and colleges and community organisations, Green Impact supports teams and departments to make simple, tangible and powerful changes in behaviour and policy through an online workbook of criteria.

“Green Impact allows us to recognise and reward staff around the university and gives a structured approach to achieve behaviour change.”
University of Greenwich

In 2011-12, staff and students took 25,185 positive as a direct result of Green Impact, and reached over 50,000 members of staff across their organisations

Working within 105 unions, over 50 universities and colleges and now expanding into NHS trusts, local authorities and beyond, each programme is supported by the NUS’s Green Impact team, ensuring its constant development and responsiveness to the needs and capacity of our partner organisations.

From recycling, to investing in more efficient equipment, to encouraging biodiversity, or Fairtrade, the various criteria cover a broad range of issues under the sustainability umbrella, all tailored to an individual institution to cover local policy and processes, including links to online resources, relevant policies, schemes and events.

How Does it Work?

Green Impact follows a simple but effective cycle, focusing on providing simple actions, supporting people to make the changes and rewarding them for their efforts.

Each programme is individually crafted to suit to the organisations with which it engages, whether it be students’ unions, universities and colleges, NHS Trusts, Local Authorities or any of our pilots in new sectors. We have a fantastic online workbook, and you can take a look at this example of a Universities and Colleges workbook (email/username: example@nus.org.uk, password: example). Each bespoke workbook outlines specific and measurable criteria, covering several main aspects of sustainability: Waste, Water, Travel, Energy, Procurement, and Greening Teams and Communications.

Each criterion has a reason why we are asking, and the method of evaluation, so each team can see how to achieve it. We link these to resources and examples of best practice, and support teams through the logging process.

We then audit, either through student auditors or through our GI team, to verify the results and offer an opportunity to improve.

And finally, we reward present each department, team or union with an award, from Working Towards Bronze right the way up to Gold, Platinum and even ‘Excellence’ in some organisations to recognise the impressive variety of green actions taken across the year.