Education organisations unite to launch pioneering centralised knowledge bank and community on sustainability.
Leading organisations from across the further and higher education sector, including USHA, have joined forces to create the ‘Sustainability Exchange’. Combining resources and experience from 23 of the country’s top sustainable development and education bodies, the Sustainability Exchange will pioneer the UK’s first centralised information portal and online community for the sector, sharing a wealth of information that is available to everyone.
Today, universities, colleges and schools face enormous pressure from stakeholders and students alike to be as sustainably-minded as possible. This pressure, along with the need to comply with ever-changing legislation, means the demand for knowledge, discussion and debate on sustainable development is greater than ever.
The Sustainability Exchange has been created with the support of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) via its Leadership, Governance and Management (LGM) Fund. The EAUC and Staffordshire University have led a partnership of 20 other organisations in planning, managing and implementing the project, which promises to deliver greater efficiencies through the collaboration of educational institutions.
It will provide a place for colleagues in different institutions to interact and share their sustainability experiences via community forums, news feeds, an events diary, best practice guides, toolkits, reports, research, webinars and videos.
“The dynamic sustainability sector, with constant updates to compliancy and new legislation means that the Sustainability Exchange adds value from day one,” explains Iain Patton, Chief Executive of the EAUC. “Accessible via a website portal, the Sustainability Exchange will provide colleges, universities and other education providers with information and resources that were previously unavailable to many and, most importantly, all in one place.”
Iain Patton adds: “Many of the further and higher education institutions across the country have formed their own sustainability programmes, but weren’t actively sharing the information they had built up over time or didn’t know where to go to obtain certain information. We saw an excellent opportunity to bring together the extensive knowledge and vast number of resources into one place, to save time and unite professionals and organisations on the critical management of sustainability.
“By bringing together best practice and the latest management information, the Sustainability Exchange can help organisations develop and enhance their own sustainability programmes. Sustainability is no longer an optional management consideration; today it’s absolutely business critical. We’re therefore delighted with the support and response we’ve received from all our partners on this project.”
The Sustainability Exchange would not have been possible without its founding partners, whose passion, knowledge and experience in sustainability have helped drive the project forward.
“As a founding partner of the project, USHA is delighted to support its members and the other users of the Sustainability Exchange. Through the sharing of collective knowledge and resources, the Sustainability Exchange supports sustainable practices within higher education health and safety,” says Nigel Price, representative for the Universities Safety and Health Association.
Steve Egan, HEFCE’s Deputy Chief Executive, who leads on Sustainable Development in the Council, comments: “Higher education has a unique role to play in sustainable development, making a vital contribution to society's efforts to achieve sustainability. It’s essential that the sector's collective expertise should be readily available and therefore we are delighted to have supported this innovative project.”
Adam Van Winsum, Environmental Manager at Staffordshire University adds: "Sustainability is a key driver in decision making at Staffordshire University, so we are delighted to have led the development of the Sustainability Exchange. It is such a fantastic resource, which will really benefit every department - estates, finance and academia alike. This is essential as we've seen the sustainability agenda widening out from what used to be typically managed by estates/facilities. I also believe that a wide range of sector colleagues will find it a very useful tool in helping drive the sustainable agenda."
The full list of partner organisations behind the Sustainability Exchange:
- Association of Heads of University Administration (AHUA)
- Association of University Engineers (AUE)
- Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE)
- British Institute of Facility Management (BIFM)
- BRE Global (BREEAM)
- British Universities Finance Directors Group (BUFDG)
- The Carbon Trust
- Change Agents UK
- The Energy Consortium
- Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC)
- Guild HE
- Higher Education Academy (HEA)
- The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)
- Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
- National Union of Student Service Ltd (NUSSL)
- Salix Finance
- Staffordshire University
- Sustainable Procurement Centre of Excellence (SPCE)
- University and College Union (UCU)
- Universities UK
- University Safety and Health Association (USHA)
For more information on the Sustainability Exchange partner organisations and to view their resources, please visit www.sustainabilityexchange.ac.uk.
The Sustainability Exchange is for everyone in tertiary education and will grow to support and share knowledge across further education, higher education and adult learning sector throughout the UK and to our overseas colleagues, building a strong resource for all to benefit from.
Search the Sustainability Exchange and join the community by registering now at www.sustainabilityexchange.ac.uk.