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Global first as UCC retains Green Flag for environment

The college was the first university in the world to be awarded the international Green Flag for environmental friendliness in 2010.

UCC President Michael Murphy and Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, TD pictured in University College Cork (UCC) at a renewal ceremony marking the world's first Green Flag campus.
UCC President Michael Murphy and Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, TD pictured in University College Cork (UCC) at a renewal ceremony marking the world's first Green Flag campus.
Image: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Updated 11.30am

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK (UCC) has made a global first by retaining its Green Flag for the environment.

The university received the accolade from the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD, who said UCC has shown great leadership in achieving the world’s first Green Flag.

He told UCC, “by increasing environmental awareness among your student population you have the potential to influence society generally, helping to ensure that environmental issues remain to the fore in our priorities”.

UCC was the first university in the world to be awarded the status of a Green Campus by the Foundation of Environmental Education and An Taisce in 2010, and its renewal is a world first for the international Green Flag campus programme.

It followed a rigorous re-evaluation by an expert panel of UCC’s performance in this area, after which An Taisce once again granted the international accreditation.

Initiatives

It was student-led environmental initiatives in 2007 that were the catalyst that led to UCC’s first Green Flag award, in conjunction with an extensive environmental review by the Buildings & Estates Department at UCC and academic staff.

Thanks to the award, recycling rates have increased from 21 per cent in 2007 to 75 per cent in 2012, with a plan in place for this figure to exceed 90 per cent in the coming years.

Total campus energy consumption has been reduced by 9 per cent. while the number of UCC staff members cycling to work has doubled from 6 per cent in 2007 to 12 per cent in 2012.

These measures have resulted in cumulative savings of nearly €1,000,000 over this period, and has helped to save 750,000 cubic metres of water in the process.

Student buy-in from the outset has been pivotal to the success of UCC’s Green Campus programme, with both the Students’ Union (SU) and UCC Environmental Society taking a leading role.

Accepting the award was the president of UCC, Dr Michael Murphy, who said that it remained a “source of immense pride to the University, its staff and its students for UCC to become the first third level institution in the world to reaffirm this important recognition.”

The news comes less than a month after Trinity College Dublin was awarded the prestigious “Green Flag” award as part of An Taisce’s Green-Campus programme.

UCC is now ranked 3rd in the world from a field of 215 competing universities in the Universitas Indonesia Greenmetric World University Ranking system,

Read: Trinity College Dublin awarded environment ‘Green Flag’ >

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Paul Hyland

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