Green Impact

Green Impact winners 2019

Green Impact is our sustainability engagement programme, run internationally by SOS-UK. It’s a simple, fun and flexible way for departments to improve their environmental performance and promote sustainability at the University, whilst receiving recognition for their efforts and impact.

Taking part benefits the University, as it provides opportunities for students to gain valuable skills by volunteering as Green Impact Auditors.

Find out more below or download our information sheet.

Due to the majority of staff currently working from home, we have worked with SOS-UK to produce a Green Impact Working From Home Action List. These actions are designed to complement the Green Impact actions you would take at the University if you are part of a Green Impact team, but we also encourage those not registered with the programme to use the Action List. Find out more on The Hub

Why get involved?

Sustainability banner and presentation on screen
  • It’s really sociable and a great way to get to know colleagues better, developing teamwork within your area.
  • Opportunity to showcase your department across campus.
  • Professional development for staff Green Impact team leads.
  • Help reduce the negative impacts the University has on the environment, and increase the positives.
  • Opportunity to save carbon, natural resources and money (at work or at home!).
  • Recognition for environmental actions you already completed.
  • It gives you a framework for encouraging your colleagues to think about sustainability.
  • Opportunity to be part of an international UNESCO award winning scheme that strengthens relations between students and staff.
  • Green Impact makes the University more integrated and encourages departments to get out of their silos and share ideas and knowledge.

Green Impact helps to reduce the environmental impacts of offices at the University - find out more in the video below. We also have specialist Green Impact toolkits for those based in labs and catering outlets. 

Photo of staff and students with their Green Impact awards

How it works

Two people stood in front of banner with award

Staff form teams across the University and work through an online toolkit of actions together. A team can be any size and can cover an office, building, department, or even a whole School or Division.

For most teams, the office toolkit will be the most relevant. It contains actions within different sustainability themes:

  • Energy & Water
  • Waste & Recycling
  • Travel
  • Communications
  • Procurement
  • Health & Wellbeing
  • Charity & Volunteering (a new theme for 2020)

Each action is allocated either 5, 10 or 15 points and the team decides which actions to complete; the total number of points a team achieves will determine whether they receive a ‘working towards Bronze’ accreditation, or a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum award.

We also have specialist toolkits for teams who are based in labs or catering outlets. These toolkits provide more appropriate sustainability actions for these departments. If you decide to complete more than one toolkit, you will need to set-up a separate profile for each toolkit; contact Marta for more information on how to manage this. 

We have a ‘Getting Started’ section which contains actions to help improve your Green Impact experience and get started with the programme. If you are new to Green Impact it is a good place to start, but established teams can also complete these actions and will find them just as useful. 

As well as completing actions, teams have the option to implement their own projects; they can receive up to 50 points for each project. To do this, teams will need to read the Briefing Document, submit a Project Plan for approval, undertake their project and complete a Project Case Study.

Once they have submitted their toolkits, teams are audited by trained students to ensure their submissions are accurate and to provide them with extra support. All participating teams will be invited to an awards ceremony, where we will also present the five Special Awards.

Student Green Impact opportunities

Group of students

One of the most important aspects of Green Impact is the audits, which are carried out my trained students in October.

Student auditors will visit the teams that have taken part in Green Impact and audit them, checking that they have completed the actions from the toolkit they have submitted.

This is a great short-term volunteering opportunity, where you can gain the skills and knowledge associated with auditing, gain valuable employability skills and make a positive impact.

Each volunteer auditor will be fully trained on the toolkit and what they need to do in order to audit through a half-day of training. This is an IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment) approved course. Auditors will then complete one or more audit in pairs. An audit should take around an hour to complete depending on the size of the department.

If you are interested in becoming a Green Impact Auditor then email Marta Strzelecka in September and we will send you the application form.

Programme timeline

Group of people stood around an olive tree

Due to the impacts of COVID-19 and staff working from home, we decided to pause our participation in the Green Impact programme. It will resume in October 2021, with a new cycle.

October 2021: Green Impact relaunch.

September 2022: Toolkit submission and training for Student Auditors.

October 2022: Audits.

November/December 2022: Awards ceremony.

Exact dates to be confirmed.

How to get involved

Screenshot of Green Impact toolkit

If you are new to Green Impact then you can join an existing team if there is one in your area, or set up a new team if there is not. If setting up a new team, please contact Marta Strzelecka.

You will need to register by visiting Green Impact. A registration code is now required when registering – contact Marta for this.

Once you have a team set up, we recommend meeting up and making a plan, and initially completing the ‘Getting Started’ actions. Then you can start completing actions in your relevant toolkit, and/or projects if you wish.

You will also need to join the Green Impact Microsoft Teams group.


People sat at tables watching a presentation

The Environmental Sustainability Team will send out Green Impact newsletters, provide you with useful resources and can come and meet with your teams.

There is a video, help page and user guide to assist you with using the toolkit and SOS-UK have an online resource bank. We also have a Microsoft Teams group where participants can ask questions and share resources, ideas and events. 

If you have any questions about Green Impact, please contact Marta.

The toolkit is really flexible so it is up to you how much time you put into it. You could do just a few actions and receive a ‘working towards Bronze’ accreditation, or you might like to concentrate on your own projects and build up points this way. We have made the toolkit really flexible so that all staff at the University can engage with the programme. 

Previous years

Find out about the results of previous Green Impact cycles: