20 September 2001 | David Arminas
A major benchmarking study for waste management in higher education is about to be launched as pressure mounts on university purchasers to consider environmental implications of buying practices.
"There are a lot more environment officers being appointed and they'll soon be knocking on the purchaser's door," Mike Briggs, purchasing and environmental officer at Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU), said. "It's now recognised that purchasing has a key environmental impact, so they should have close links with purchasers."
The study, involving LMU, the University of Bradford, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and the Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education, will examine how higher education can benchmark itself better on waste management such as vehicle-miles driven and carbon emissions.
"The higher education sector's management of environmental impact is very patchy and often behind similar-sized private organisations," said Dr Peter Hopkinson, an environmental professor at the University of Bradford and head of the two-year project.
But one problem facing the higher education sector is that much procurement is devolved, and so accurate information for comparisons is lacking, according to Andy Nolan, environment officer at LMU.