Goldsmiths named a top university for protecting wildlife

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Goldsmiths, University of London has been recognised as one of the best in the UK for looking after wildlife, both on campus and in the wider community.

Stuart Hall Building covered by trees

Goldsmiths is one of the UK’s leading universities for protecting wildlife, according to a new study, which found that the college met 100 per cent of the ranking factors. 

The research looked at which universities are the most wildlife-friendly, based on a range of metrics. Goldsmiths was ranked in the ‘platinum tier’, with wildlife protection policies, partnerships or funding for local wildlife causes, biodiversity or wildlife activities and regular wildlife surveys.

The study, conducted by Ark Wildlife, surveyed over 120 UK universities on their wildlife initiatives and support and ranked Goldsmiths in the top tier for its active green measures.

The survey found that Goldsmiths is committed to promoting biodiversity on its grounds, implementing pro-wildlife policies for campus maintenance including reduced lawnmowing and ending the use of pesticides and herbicides. The College also scored highly due to its partnerships, including working with Street Trees and offering areas for new tree installations with zero funding required.

It also acknowledged Goldsmiths' contribution to local wildlife in opportunities for the College community to take part in wildlife activities and events. This has included local primary schools conducting insect habitat identification on Goldsmiths' grounds. 

Mark Hughes, Director of Estates & Facilities said: "Goldsmiths is fortunate to have such a green campus in central London and since the launch of the Goldsmiths Green New Deal, our commitment to work towards being carbon neutral, the Grounds team, our staff and students have all worked together to enhance biodiversity on campus. The recognition from Ark Wildlife within the ‘Platinum Tier’ is warmly welcomed, we remain committed to making further improvements in the next period as we strive to reach our carbon targets."

Sean McMenemy, director at Ark Wildlife, said: “It’s clear that some universities are taking wildlife conservation extremely seriously, and it’s great to see. They’re really in tune with the local environment, providing invaluable habitats to animals in the area.”

The Goldsmiths Green New Deal was launched in 2019 as a pledge to act on the climate emergency and become a carbon-neutral organisation by 2025. Early measures included a complete divestment from fossil fuel companies, the removal of beef products sold on campus, a levy on bottled water and a move away from single-use plastics.

Goldsmiths has worked with ecologists since 2019 to improve campus biodiversity. This has included conducting biodiversity surveys to monitor different species as well as building habitat enhancements – such as bat and bird boxes. 

The study, titled ‘Which University Campuses are the most Wildlife Friendly?’ was conducted in January 2023 and based on responses from 122 universities.