The EAUC has delivered a groundbreaking new free tool for their Members giving UK tertiary education institutions the freedom to shape what sustainability means for them and help to improve performance.
Learning in Future Environments (LiFE) is a strategic planning and self-assessment tool for universities and colleges to improve social responsibility and environmental performance through a whole institution approach. LiFE systematically guides you through the design, planning and delivery of your strategic sustainability activities.
“LiFE has been an important aspect of work at Plymouth to embed sustainability throughout the University’s operations, where its status as a national initiative has lent credence and additional mandate to this work. It has several advantages:
“Firstly, the quadrant framework sets out clearly how sustainability applies within and across key parts of the University’s work, and this is very helpful in communicating the wider implications of the sustainability agenda to colleagues, not least to senior management.
“Secondly, LiFE provides an integrative model which both helps legitimate existing work but also helps identify where further work is needed. The process of gathering evidence for LiFE was helpful in bringing a cross-section of stakeholders across the University into the process, and encouraged ownership.’ Professor Stephen Sterling, Head of Sustainability Education, Plymouth University.
Go beyond environmental responsibility…
By self-assessing your sustainability programme through a whole institution approach (four priority areas and 14 underlying frameworks), LiFE presents you with a dashboard allowing you to ascertain key strengths and weaknesses in your strategic sustainability planning and underlying operational activities.
Giving you access to current performance at this level means you can plan ahead, set targets allowing you to mitigate potential risk and strengthen competitive advantage. With a key focus on social responsibility, it can assess the potential for catalysing local partnerships and create real growth. Looking internally, you can truly capture the hearts and minds of staff and students once you have prioritised their fundamental role in sustainability.
It is not a quantitative or statistical benchmarking tool, but it will help establish the policies and systems you need to deliver improved sustainability performance. This means there is no duplication from existing initiatives such as environmental management systems or league tables as LiFE can be used to pull all of this together as one central strategic view.
Take the journey
It’s flexible so you can decide to do all of LiFE or just one of the priority areas or frameworks but, we hope that Members opt to take a whole institution approach. In time, the LiFE journey could include going for accreditation which offers independent assessment and verification of your performance compared to your own self-assessment. This will be available in mid-2015 and will carry a fee.
If you’re an EAUC Member, simply login at www.eauc.org.uk/life and download the tool. If you’re not yet a Member and you’re interested in LiFE and EAUC Membership please contact email@example.com or visit www.eauc.org.uk/join.