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Aston University boosts its green credentials with Responsible Futures reaccreditation

  • Aston University has been reaccredited with the Responsible Futures mark
  • Given to universities which embed sustainability within the curriculum
  • The accreditors impressed Aston University had embedded sustainability into its 2030 strategy.

Aston University’s green credentials have been boosted following reaccreditation with the Responsible Futures mark.

The title is given by the Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK) to universities which are working to embed sustainability and social responsibility within the curriculum.

Aston University first joined the initiative in 2020 and was one of just 15 institutions to be awarded Responsible Futures by 2021.

However, to retain the accreditation for another two years, the University had to undergo a student-led audit.

Twelve Aston University students and members of the Students’ Union were trained by the SOS-UK to act as auditors and were responsible for recording if the University had advanced its sustainability awareness.

The accreditors were impressed with the progress made from 2021 to 2023 and the University scored 60 points higher than in 2021.

They found that the University uses coursework and dissertations to explore sustainability across a range of disciplines from biomedical science to engineering and had embedded it in the University’s overall 2030 strategy

Larissa Kennedy, SOS-UK trustee and 2020-2022 NUS national president, said:

“Aston University has shown its commitment to empowering students to access the skills and knowledge they need to forge a more sustainable education system and more sustainable and just world.”

Dr Goudarz Poursharif, associate pro vice-chancellor for education and deputy dean for education within the University’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. led the project for the University. He said “I am very proud of our achievement.

“It has been a true team effort. The re-accreditation preparation and process was driven forward by a cross University working group with members from academic and professional services colleagues as well as student union representatives

“The accreditors noted that we have two key groups working towards sustainability: the University Sustainability Strategy Group and the Sustainable Development in Teaching working group.

“They also noted our outstanding achievement in successfully obtaining the Athena Swan Gold for our College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, and that we are aiming to achieve this level for the whole institution.”

Responsible Futures is accepted by the People and Planet University League as a recognised framework for Education for Sustainable Development. Demonstrating active participation in the accreditation programme and change framework provides 25% of the scoring for the University League’s 9.2a, Education for Sustainable Development. 

Additionally, the Responsible Futures is signposted as a step to climate action in the HE Climate Action Toolkit by the Climate Commission for UK Further and Higher education and the HEA QAA ESD Guidance.

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