Trinity College awarded Green Flag for environmental management and enhancement
Posted on: 28 June 2019
Trinity College Dublin has successfully renewed the internationally recognised and prestigious ‘Green Flag’ by An Taisce’s Green-Campus programme for the second time.
The award followed a rigorous re-evaluation by an expert panel of the college’s performance in the areas of environmental management and enhancement, after which An Taisce once again granted the international accreditation.
Green-Campus is similar to the highly successful Green Schools programme and is operated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce on behalf of the internationally based Foundation for Environmental Education. The programme identifies the campus as a community and places significant importance on the inclusion of all sectors of the campus community in its environmental management and enhancement.
Recent key achievements in the areas or sustainability, environmental management and enhancement at Trinity include:
- The launch of the first coffee cup deposit-return scheme in Ireland, in April this year (2019).
- Awareness campaigns in 2018 – 2019 which reached all staff and students, inviting them to participate in decision making for a range of issues including: where to locate additional water fountains; which sustainable products to stock in the Students’ Union shop; which disposable plastic to be eliminated first on campus.
- A 26% improvement in energy efficiency since 2006, and a 45% reduction in water consumption since 2009, despite the number of students and the volume of building space increasing during that time.
- Establishment of a Sustainable Procurement Working Group in 2018, which is working on creating a Sustainability Policy and sustainable procurement guidelines for the campus, which will drive environmentally preferable purchasing behaviours.
- The student group, TCD Plastic Solutions (formed in 2017) gathered a petition of 3,800 signatures in person and online which resulted in the university creating a plan in 2018 to get rid of disposable plastics on campus by 2020.
- Publication of a Pollinator Plan for Trinity in 2017, which commits to reducing pesticide use on campus as well as providing habitat and food for pollinators on Trinity properties.
- Divestment of Trinity funds from fossil fuel investments in 2016, so that Trinity no longer financially supports the fossil fuel industry.
Trinity joins a number of other pioneering Irish third level institutions who have also been awarded Green Flags including; University College Cork, Dublin City University, University of Limerick, Maynooth University and St. Patrick’s College Maynooth and National University of Ireland Galway.
The Provost of Trinity College, Dr Patrick Prendergast said: ‘It pleases me greatly that Trinity has received the Green Flag from An Taisce for another three years, which serves as recognition for the work put in by the many students and members of staff on the Green Campus Committee and beyond. Since 2013, Trinity has instigated a variety of environmental initiatives, which serve to reduce our environmental footprint and contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Our aim to reduce our impact on the environment is ongoing. As Trinity alumnus Jonathon Swift so succinctly put it: “There is no absolute success in the world, only constant progress.” We continue to expand and drive our environmental programmes, so that we can contribute to a more verdant and equitable world.
Director of An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit, Michael John O’Mahony commented: ‘We are delighted that Trinity College have renewed their Green-Flag and have continued to implement the Green-Campus Programme over the last three years. It is evident that the Green-Campus programme is supported from the top down and across all sectors of the college. Now the challenge is to maintain and build on the progress. We are more than confident that Trinity College will be able to meet this challenge, continue to gain from it, and inspire others.’
Green-Campus is an international environmental education programme, environmental management system and award scheme that promotes long term, whole college action for the environment. It is broadly similar to the Green-Schools programme and is for all third level institutions (colleges, universities etc.). Both programmes are initiatives of FEE (The Foundation for Environmental Education) and in both cases successful applicants receive the Green-Flag award. Green-Campus has been developed by An Taisce in Ireland for the FEE international network. As the Irish member of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), An Taisce co-ordinates the Green-Schools programme as well as well as other environmental education programmes such as Blue Flag, Green Homes, Green-Campus, Green Communities and National Spring Clean in Ireland. See www.antaisce.org for further information. The Green-Campus programme is funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.