Green Gown Award nomination for College Collaboration

West Lothian College has been selected as a finalist at the Green Gown UK and Ireland awards.

This year – in collaboration with the EAUC Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education, Forth Valley and Border Colleges – West Lothian College has been announced as a finalist in the Creating Impact category, at the ceremony to be held in November.

Being among the smallest FE (Further Education) institutions in Scotland and without staff dedicated exclusively to sustainability, the three colleges developed a new approach to secure additional support.

In 2022, the partnership secured a dedicated sustainability resource by hiring a Sustainability Project Manager, whose time and costs are shared by the colleges. By providing additional resource and knowledge, the Sustainability Project Manager has helped guide sustainability practice and policy at the colleges, and to expand this in scope and ambition- this has included securing funding for campus decarbonisation projects through the Scottish Green Public Sector Estate Decarbonisation Scheme and developing updated strategies such as Net Zero Plans, which identify actions to be taken to achieve net zero.

The partnership’s work across multiple institutions has been particularly beneficial, as it has allowed for experience and knowledge to be shared, whilst making use of resources efficiently. Based on its success CSSCP are planning to continue the partnership and EAUC are exploring similar partnerships with other institutions.

Paula White, Head of Estates and Sustainability at West Lothian College, said: “The forming of this unique partnership with EAUC, Forth Valley and Borders College has brought an energy to the sustainability agenda that we just didn’t have before.

“The expertise, knowledge and connections that this new role has given us, has significantly improved information gathering, commitment and drive we as a college have for sustainability.

“While we had a partnership with the other colleges prior to this, we have benefited in developing this shared agenda by supporting and learning from one another, and we would like to see this partnership being replicated across the sector.”

Charlotte Bonner, CEO of EAUC, added: “The Green Gown Awards are one of the most prestigious ways we recognise impactful and innovative sustainability practice across the further and higher education sectors. They’re not our awards – they’re for the sector, delivered collaboratively in partnership in the UK and globally.

“In a space where greenwash and sustainability marketing has become prolific, the sector led, peer-reviewed structure of the Green Gown Awards ensures they’re meaningful, transparent, and authentic. We know that the excitement and pride that comes from being a finalist is a great springboard for institutions to engage more people in their sustainability work.

“But the value of the Green Gown Awards is beyond the individual organisations that are nominated. We look forward to sharing stories about our finalists’ work - providing inspiration, demonstrating impact, and learning from lessons learned along the way.”