Image of hands holding up the world

BNU retains gold award for positive CSR impact on environment and communities

Buckinghamshire New University has successfully retained its Gold CSR Accreditation award in a national scheme which recognises sustainable and ethical businesses.

BNU was awarded the highest Gold Accreditation as “visible testimony of its excellence” in corporate social responsibility (CSR), following an independent assessment by an accreditation panel. The University was rated across four areas: environment; philanthropy; community and workplace.

A tree has also been planted once again by the accrediting organisation in the University’s name in recognition of its achievement, as part of the Green Earth Appeal.

Evidence considered by the panel of BNU’s positive impact included:

  • The University’s installation of photovoltaic cells on three buildings at the High Wycombe Campus, which have generated 920,581 KWHs of power and an annual cost saving of £125k, plus a further energy offset saving of £80k.
  • Engaged more than 3,000 school pupils across 61 BNU events during 2020-21, despite the impact of COVID-19. Around half (48%) of the young people it worked with during the year would be first-generation university students.
  • Bucks Students’ Union received a grant of £1.54m from the University in 2020-21, which helped it to run the Big Deal initiative. Its Raise and Give fundraising activities raised £18,677, including £4,723 that was split between The Julius Little Foundation and The Florence Nightingale Hospice. They also logged 7,020 volunteering hours for community organisations including Wycombe Homeless Connection, the British Legion and One Can Trust.
  • The University’s Give to Refresh initiative saw more than 1,000 items donated prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, to help support 890 local families living in poverty.

You can read our CSR report here.

Professor Nick Braisby, Vice-Chancellor at BNU, said: “We are delighted to retain our Gold Accreditation, demonstrating our long-term commitment and focus on being a sustainable institution that helps to tackle society’s biggest challenges. This award is testament to our brilliant staff and students, who are dedicated to improving the world around them. A special mention also goes to the wonderful schools, charities and organisations we support and work together with. CSR is at the heart of BNU’s ethos and we look forward to progressing our activities further in the coming years.”

Richard Collins, Managing Director of CSRA, the accrediting organisation said: “It is very impressive to achieve a Gold CSR Accreditation in the first instant. To maintain and improve the standard and achieve a Gold CSR re-accreditation is exceptional. The first CSR Accreditation started BNU on their CSR journey and since then they have signed up to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Accord and announced their pledge to go carbon net zero by 2030 and so much more.

“This is all about making a measurable impact and leaving a positive legacy for future generations. It has been an absolute inspiration watching Buckinghamshire New University develop on its CSR journey, long may it continue.”

In 2020, BNU signed the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Accord – a public commitment to publicly share its submissions to the UN to provide transparency around progress against the 17 SDGs which span climate change, reducing inequalities, promoting economic growth, providing quality education and tackling poverty.

In the same year, the University also announced pledged to go carbon net zero by 2030 – 20 years ahead of the Government’s target. BNU is moving towards embedding sustainability into its curriculum for all disciplines and course programmes and is now one of 1050 universities and colleges from 68 countries that have signed up to Race to Zero: a global pledge to halve its emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero as soon as possible, impacting over 10 million students worldwide.

As an educational institution that wants to contribute its expertise on a global scale, BNU is involved in various environmental research through European and international projects relating to conservation and sustainability which have been completed or are ongoing, including the socio-economic valuation of climate impact chains and decarbonisation pathways in European islands.