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CSR for higher education

19 November 2008

Universities that Count is a new programme designed to benchmark UK universities on their environmental and corporate responsibility performance has been launched by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC).

Universities that Count (UTC) is the first independent, quality assured Corporate Responsibility benchmarking initiative, designed specifically for Higher Education Institutions. In its first year 64 Higher Education Institutions from throughout the UK will participate in the scheme, following a successful pilot project in 2007 with 25 unversities.

The Universities that Count programme is based on the Business in the Community’s authoritative Corporate Responsibility (CR) Index. There are two aspects to the scheme, the Corporate Responsibility Index and the Environmental Index. By completing the CR Index, participating organisations will receive two sets of feedback, one on their environmental and another on their corporate responsibility performance. The results of the scheme will be published in July 2009.

The UTC Corporate Responsibility Index will measure: -
 Responsible business/organisational strategy
 The integration of this strategy into the organisation as a whole
 The management of corporate responsibility within the organisation
 Performance in a range of social and environmental impact areas

Through the programme institutions will be able to measure, manage and report on their positive contribution to sustainable development, to gauge performance improvement and share information. Iain Patton, Executive Director for the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) says, “"The EAUC welcomes the sea-change in the sectors willingness to report publicly on its environmental and social performance. The high media profile which is part of Universities that Count will bring recognition for some excellent pioneering work done by EAUC members while bluntly reminding any that need it that this agenda is here to stay."

Professor Patricia Broadfoot, Chairperson of the UTC Advisory Board comments, “The UTC project represents an important new opportunity for universities to publicise the extensive efforts they are making to become more sustainable. The higher education sector is committed to doing everything it can to provide expertise and leadership in this respect. I am therefore delighted to be chairing the advisory group for the project.”

Jonathon Porritt, Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission & Founder Director, Forum for the Future concludes, "42% of the university applicants in our Future Leaders Survey said they would like to know more about the environmental performance and social values of the university they choose - so we enthusiastically welcome Universities that Count, which offers the only authoritative, independently assessed benchmarking system to show how universities are performing in these areas."

Universities that Count is a partnership between the UK HE Funding Councils, the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), Business in the Community and CSR Consultancy.

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