Colchester Institute wins Essex Business Award for investing in a green future

Colchester Institute has been awarded the prestigious Environmental Awareness Award at the 2023 Essex Business Awards. This accolade recognises the institution’s tireless commitment to driving environmental awareness and sustainability within the College community over the past three years.

Essex Business Awards 2023 Countrywide winner banner

The College’s impactful campaign to promote energy-saving initiatives has not only set them apart as leaders in education but also as beacons of environmental stewardship. The award celebrates the College’s dedication to preparing students with the ‘green skills’ relevant to their fields and their proactive stance in addressing the climate crisis by declaring a climate emergency and developing a Further Education Climate Action Roadmap.

Deputy Chief Executive, Gary Horne says “We are absolutely thrilled to receive this award. Staff and Governors are passionate about the environment and have demonstrated their commitment to raising awareness amongst our college community over the years.”

“We take our educational responsibilities extremely seriously and we will do all we can to continue this work, which is firmly embedded within our strategic plans.”

Sustainability Achievements

Over the past three years, the College has transformed their sustainability practices through:

  • Empowering Students: Embedding carbon literacy content into vocational courses, viewing every job as a ‘green job’ and ensuring the next generation has the green skills to combat climate change
  • Leading by Example: By declaring a climate emergency in 2019, they set carbon reduction goals aligned with global initiatives, and adopted the FE Climate Action Roadmap, initially targeting a 50% emissions reduction by 2030
  • Decarbonising Operations: A £6 million Decarbonisation Scheme replaced inefficient building elements and gas boilers with Air Source Heat Pumps, reducing emissions by 290 tonnes annually
  • Harvesting Solar Energy: Installed over 1,000 solar panels across campuses harnessing renewable solar energy to power their facilities sustainably
  • Transitioning Transportation: Installed an EV Charging Station onsite and purchased electric vehicles to reduce our carbon footprint from transportation
  • Boosting Efficiency: Delivering on a ’50-point Energy Reduction plan’ to reduce carbon emissions by 27% within two years
  • Training for Green Jobs: A Net Zero Training Centre in planning for 2024 to equip students with low-carbon skills training in response to the Essex Green Skills Infrastructure Review
  • Green Campuses: Committed to plant over 100 new trees annually on campuses to expand green spaces and increase natural carbon

This Environmental Awareness Award signifies not just a recognition but a call to action, inspiring other businesses to lead the way for a cleaner and more sustainable tomorrow.