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Celebrating the Green Impact National Awards 2023

March 11, 2024

The Green Impact National Awards 2023 have once again showcased the remarkable efforts and initiatives undertaken by institutions and organisations across the UK to champion sustainability and social responsibility. These awards reflect the breadth of positive action taking place in the UK through Green Impact and highlight some of the efforts that the typical Bronze, Silver, and Gold Green Impact team awards may not fully represent.

There are five categories of award, and we had more than 35 local nominations. This year's winners have demonstrated exemplary commitment and innovation in various categories, ranging from community action, environmental improvement, innovation for engagement, student leadership, and sustainability hero.

Our nominees come from local Green Impact Special Award winners announced at universities, hospitals research institutes and charities throughout 2023, and in early 2024 these local winners were put forward for consideration for the 2023 Green Impact National Awards!

After careful consideration, and tough competition, we are pleased to announce that the national award winners are…

Community Action Award

Winner: School of Law team, University of Sheffield.  

The University of Sheffield, School of Law team has emerged victorious in the Community Action category for their outstanding efforts in supporting charities and local residents. Through a series of events and sustainable initiatives, the team has significantly impacted the local community and environment. From fundraising for the Snowdrop Project, to supporting the S6 Foodbank and engaging in monthly litter picks, their dedication to fostering community relationships and addressing shared challenges is truly commendable.  

Judges were impressed by the team's sustained commitment and high achievements in Green Impact over the years, as well as their multifaceted approach, which not only raised funds for charitable causes but also contributed to reducing landfill waste and enhancing the local environment. Their inclusive and impactful initiatives have undoubtedly made a difference in the lives of community members, earning them well-deserved recognition.

As Runner Up we had English Heritage, Walmer Castle & Gardens where they partnered with Butterfly Conservation to raise awareness of Kent’s Magnificent Moths through community engagement, education, and guided walks. The judges commended Walmer for engaging various sectors of the community and forming partnerships.

Environmental Improvement Award

Winner: Green Impact Swindon Campus, Oxford Brookes University.

Oxford Brookes University's Green Impact Swindon Campus team won for their transformative rewilding project. By rejuvenating a neglected patch of land on campus with native flora and fauna, the team has not only supported biodiversity but also created a welcoming outdoor space for staff and students to enjoy. Through the installation of bird boxes, bug hotels, and hedgehog houses, they have fostered awareness of local wildlife and promoted mental well-being. The judges praised the team for their holistic approach, which not only benefits the environment but also enhances the campus experience for the community. Their efforts serve as a shining example of how small-scale interventions can yield significant positive outcomes for both people and nature.

Six people pose in woodland
The Swindon Campus Green Impact team

As joint Runner Up we had Kingston University, Estates & Sustainability Team. They conducted studies and workshops to identify and mitigate food waste challenges at Kingston University. The judges recognised for impactful reduction of food waste and methane emissions, appreciated the educational approach.

Our second joint Runner Up for this category was Kingsway GP surgery from the Greener Primary Care Wales scheme. As they transitioned to a paperless system, implemented simple steps to improve environmental practices, and prioritised staff well-being. It was an applaudable commitment to sustainability in a healthcare setting and consideration for staff well-being.

5 eople stand posing in an allotment
Runners-up, The Kingsway GP Surgery Green Team

Innovation for Engagement Award

Winner:  Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge.

The University of Cambridge's Lucy Cavendish College stood out in this category for their pioneering use of digital technologies to raise awareness about food-related emissions. Through innovative projects such as metaverse environments and virtual classrooms, the team successfully visualised complex data and inspired action among a wide audience. By leveraging various platforms and mediums, including social media and science communication workshops, they achieved remarkable engagement and outreach.

The judges commended the team for their creative approach and dedication to making environmental concepts accessible and compelling. Their innovative strategies not only educate but also empower individuals to make informed choices and drive positive change.

As Runner Up we had University of Sheffield, SUMS - Sheffield University Management School team. They utilised social media and departmental communication channels in their full capacity to share sustainability advice and encourage engagement.

Student Leadership Award

Winner:  Emily Palmer, Oxford Brookes University.

Emily Palmer was recognised for her exemplary dedication and initiative in advancing sustainability on campus. As a key member of the Green Impact team, Emily has played a pivotal role in driving projects forward and engaging her peers. From securing funding for biodiversity initiatives to volunteering with external organisations, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to environmental stewardship and community engagement.

Judges applauded Emily for her proactive leadership and tireless advocacy, which have made a tangible difference in promoting sustainability both within the university and beyond. Her passion and contributions serve as an inspiration to fellow students and exemplify the power of student-led initiatives.

As joint Runner Up we have University of Cambridge, Deidre Boodoosingh (Wolfson). They led university-wide sustainability initiatives, facilitated collaboration, and organised events to promote sustainability. The judges recognised how they were able to show exemplary leadership and facilitation of sustainability initiatives.

Our second joint Runner Up was University of Salford, Lizzie King (Art Collection Team). She developed a sustainable photographic processes project, organised workshops, and collaborated with experts to promote sustainability. The judges praised her for integrating sustainability into artistic practices and inspiring others in different sectors.

Sustainability Hero Award

Winner:  Lisa Hill, Oxford Brookes University.

Lisa Hill from Oxford Brookes University emerged as the Sustainability Hero for her exceptional dedication and leadership in advancing sustainability efforts across campus. Through her tireless efforts, Lisa has spearheaded numerous initiatives, from revamping outdoor spaces to organising community engagement events. Her passion for environmental conservation and commitment to biodiversity have left a lasting impact on the campus community.

Judges were impressed by Lisa's unwavering dedication and the profound influence she has had on her colleagues and peers. Her collaborative spirit and innovative approach to sustainability make her a true hero and role model for others to follow.

3 pictures of people taking part in litter picks
Some of Lisa's sustainability activities

The joint Runner Up in this category is Jo Durgan from Babraham Institute, representing Babraham Research Campus. Jo spearheaded sustainability initiatives, formed the Green Labs Steering Group, and led efforts to mitigate environmental impacts. The judges admired Jo's dedication, leadership, and the impact she made on both the organisation and the wider community.

Our second joint Runner Up is Flo King from North Cardiff Dental and Implant, Greener Primary Care Wales. Flo advocated for sustainability within the practice, educated staff and patients, and initiated sustainability initiatives. The judges appreciated Flo's dedication to sustainability initiatives and recognised her role as an inspiration to colleagues and patients.

Flo King poses in front of a screen reading A Greener Future For Dentistry
Runner Up Flo King

In conclusion, the winners of the Green Impact National Awards 2023 exemplify the spirit of sustainability and community engagement. Their inspiring initiatives and leadership serve as shining examples of how organisations can drive positive change and foster a more sustainable future for all.

Congratulations to all our award winners, runners-up, and nominees! If you are part of a Green Impact team, don’t forget to nominate yourself, a colleague, or a student for one of the Special Awards in 2024. If you aren’t yet taking part in Green Impact and would like to bring the programme to your organisation, please get in touch with Rachel, senior project manager at SOS-UK, Rachel.Soper@sos-uk.org.