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University awarded United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) accreditation

05 Feb 2024

We are only one of five universities in the UK and 20 worldwide to be accredited by the leading global authority on the environment

University of Manchester

Our University has been awarded accreditation status by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the leading global authority on the environment – one of only twenty universities world-wide to have been given this standing.

UNEP stated: “UNEP’s mission is to inspire, inform, and enable nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. For over 50 years, UNEP has worked with governments, civil society, the private sector and UN entities to address humanity’s most pressing environmental challenges - from restoring the ozone layer to protecting the world's seas and promoting a green, inclusive economy.”

This UNEP accreditation follows a long line of awards and acknowledgments in recent years for the University’s commitment to sustainability. The University of Manchester is the only university in the world to rank in the top ten for social and environmental impact in every year of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings - the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In 2023, we ranked first in Europe and second in the world against 1,705 universities from 115 countries that submitted data about how they are addressing the most pressing challenges facing our planet.

Professor Michael Shaver, Director of Sustainable Futures, Director of the Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub, Royal Academy of Engineering Chair and Professor of Polymer Science at The University of Manchester, led on the accreditation bid. Professor Shaver highlighted the University’s long-standing commitment and reputation for environmental sustainability, such as our placing as first in the UK and Europe, and third in the world, in the QS World University Sustainability Rankings 2024, for our commitment to social and environmental responsibility.

Professor Shaver said: “Accreditation provides us with an important vehicle to share our diverse expertise in environmental sustainability, translating our local, national and international efforts into impacting the global environmental agenda on climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution and waste.”

UNEP accreditation grants our University the privilege to submit written contributions, participate in the work of UNEP’s Governing Bodies, such as the United Nations Environment Assembly of UNEP and the Committee of Permanent Representatives, and be granted observer status to the Assembly and its subsidiary bodies.

The University is delighted to have been awarded such status and looks forward to using its outstanding research contributions in environmental sustainability to influence and drive further change through such a prestigious organisation as UNEP.