NUS-UK’s Green Impact programme awarded UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development

Green Impact, the National Union of Students pioneering sustainability and behavioural change project has been selected as one of the three winners of the international UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) 2016.

UNESCO’s ESD Prize rewards outstanding efforts to demonstrate leadership in ESD. The prize, which is funded by the Government of Japan, consists of three annual awards of USD 50,000 for each winning project.

Robbie Young, NUS’ Vice President Society and Citizenship said:

“Green Impact has been hugely influential in the last ten years and is a proven way of creating positive sustainability changes whilst giving students excellent opportunities. We dedicate this award to everyone who’s been in the programme and look forward to the next ten years. The prize will help us provide support to Green Impact teams to implement further changes, engage different audiences in the programme, and help us collaborate with partners abroad.” 

Gary Brace, the UKNC’s Non Executive Director for Education said:

“We’re delighted to learn that NUS-UK’s well tested and successful Green Impact scheme has been recognised by UNESCO for furthering the principles of Education for Sustainable Development. Green Impact develops environmental knowledge and sustainability skills transforming education institutions and empowering and mobilising youth as auditors and mentors.  It is innovative in the way it is designed to keep to the principle of participatory action learning.”

The independent UNESCO International Jury for the Prize said of NUS-UK’s Green Impact project:

“This student-led project provides a model of scalability and applicability beyond the UK, and already has evidence of impact beyond Higher Education into the workplace, and evidence of outreach and emulation internationally. There is commendable demonstration of impact and wide uptake, and the project is an exemplar of youth leadership in educational change. Further, the initiative is sustainable in terms of generating funding and facilitating widespread engagement.”

NUS-UK’s Green Impact programme is a behaviour change initiative that aims to empower students and staff at universities and other organisations across the UK to make meaningful changes on sustainability in their communities. The NUS project team deliver bespoke workshops and training designed to equip and inspire students, students’ union officers, staff, academics and volunteers to make their workplace ‘greener’ while generating economic savings and social benefits. NUS’s Green Impact framework ranges from simple actions such as advice on double-sided printing to establishing an ethical credit union. Through peer-to-peer engagement, the programme creates collaboration across participating departments, organisations and communities, across the UK.

NUS applied for the prize in order to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the programme. What started as an environmental management programme for students’ unions has grown to be a student and staff engagement programme that’s reached over 117,000 people across the tertiary education sector and beyond – local authorities, hospitals, businesses and GP surgeries now use the model. NUS wanted to recognise and thank the incredible enthusiasm, commitment and innovation of the students and staff involved over the last decade.

The Japan-based Okayama ESD Promotion Commission is also a recipient of the prize in recognition of its own ESD Project. Born out of the UN’s Decade for Education for Sustainable Development, the Okayama ESD Project builds diverse, collaborative networks with NGOs, companies and educational institutions across Japan to co-launch projects that contribute towards a more sustainable society. CCREAD-Cameroon was also selected as one of the three prize winners, for the ESD schemes that it leads in schools and communities in Cameroon which provide training and develop action plans for students, teachers and community groups on sustainable development themes such as sexuality and family planning, leadership and entrepreneurship, accountability and transparency and environmental protection.

The three winners were selected by an international jury from a total of 120 nominations, submitted by 64 UNESCO Member States and 10 NGOs in official partnership with UNESCO.

UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova will award the prize to the three laureates in a ceremony to be held at UNESCO-Headquarters in Paris on 11 October 2016, during the 200th session of the UNESCO Executive Board. Follow the award ceremony and the information leading up to it on social media at #esdprize.

Read more about NUS’s Green Impact programme, and get involved by visiting: