International Green Gown Awards 2024

Deadline Date: April 29, 2024

Donor Name: Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education (EUAC)

Grant Size: Not Available

Apply for the International Green Gown Awards, in association with Allianz Global Investors, are supported by UN Environment Programme and are open to any university or college across the world.

Recognising exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by the world’s universities and colleges, the International Green Gown Awards set the bar and put every learning institution at the heart of delivering the UN Global Goals. They are delighted to be working in partnership with The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), L’Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), International Association of Universities (IAU) and the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI).


  • 2030 Climate Action
    • Institutions are having to plan how they get to net-zero emissions. This category focuses on the steps that institutions are taking and planning to take to reach their targets. The judges are looking for innovative ideas and approaches that institutions are taking or planning. It is recognised that there will not be the normal evidence or impact available as this category is looking at current plans, with the focus being on intentions.
    • Carbon reduction and adaptation to the effects of climate change are essential for institutional resilience and business continuity – both executive-level issues for the institutions. Universities and colleges are exposed to significant climate risks and responsibilities to meet targets and institutions have to be taking bold steps to meet these targets while ensuring student outcomes and satisfaction are maintained.
  • Benefitting Society
    • As anchor institutions in their communities and cities, universities and colleges benefit society in many ways. This category captures the powerful and innovative ways education institutions are realising their purpose in today’s society to benefit the lives of individuals, communities and wider society. Examples will range from economic, social and environmental impacts with organisations and sectors outside the institution where innovative new approaches to bringing positive benefit can be found.
    • Although all applications will be considered on their merits, the judges will particularly be looking for innovative community engagement type of initiatives which have an element of proactive, new, community and social concern and positive impacts, rather than the very worthy and commendable ‘grass roots’ and ‘business as usual’ activities. Amongst others, examples might include how an institution applies and exchanges its student and academic knowledge with communities or partner organisations, how it uses its finances and investments, how it designs and manages its campus – all to demonstrate its values and the positive value it brings to society. A powerful example of such innovative and proactive engagement is the Living Lab approach: establishing projects that draw on students’ curricular work or academic research to address real sustainability challenges in stakeholder partnerships with community bodies.
    • Activities which have a substantial student element should be submitted to the Student Engagement category.
  • Creating Impact
    • This category recognises institutions that have achieved significant sustainability-related outcomes, on-campus or within their community, using minimal and/or limited resources. Initiatives need to demonstrate the relationship/link between the number of resources used (for example staffing, budget, time) and the level of impact achieved (for example quantifiable changes in behaviours and/or reportable metrics). Institutions that have received substantial external funding for their initiative are not eligible for this category.
    • Initiatives could include those which can demonstrate significant sustainability achievements (such as sustainable products, processes or learnings) in a relatively short period and/or with a restricted budget, and/or with a small staff base e.g. good progress from a low base. Projects that raise the broader profile of sustainability and working in your community will be particularly favoured.
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Sustainability
    • This category recognises the work institutions undertake to integrate equity, social justice and inclusion as part of their broader sustainability work. Disadvantaged groups will be impacted the most by the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and pollution, so equity and equality are core to achieving a sustainable world. Institutions have to take new approaches and different ways to engage broader diverse audiences and champions. The sector needs to look at ways to improve sustainability as a profession and integrate green careers and skills into their work. The sector needs to look at the barriers that exist which exclude particular protected characteristics and celebrate areas where these have been broken down and accelerated to a more inclusive approach to transition to a sustainable future.
    • This category recognises those surprising collaborations and innovate approaches that staff and students take to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in their institutions. Approaches may include how institutions promote sustainability as a career to a broad audience to cultivate diverse and equitable professional opportunities. Judges will be looking for institutions that have ongoing commitments to embed equality and inclusion within sustainability practices or impactful initiatives that push the boundaries and challenge the status quo to improve diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Nature Positive
    • This category is in recognition of the Global Goal for Nature to be net positive by 2030 and the landmark deal on the Global Biodiversity Framework at the UN Biodiversity Summit (COP15). Nature must recover so that thriving ecosystems and nature-based solutions continue to support future generations, the diversity of life and play a critical role in combating climate change.
    • Institutions have a critical power and influence to build more resilient ecosystems and help nature recover, whilst simultaneously addressing societal challenges such as climate change, human health, resource security, and natural disaster risk reduction and adaptation.
    • Applications are encouraged from institutions that can demonstrate how their actions have positive biodiversity impacts on both the community and the environment, including how they are engaging and educating their students and staff on nature positive approach.
  • Next Generation Learning and Skills
    • This category recognises achievement in the development of academic courses, skills and capabilities relevant to sustainability. These can be vocational, undergraduate or postgraduate courses or related to wider purposes such as community involvement, global or environmental awareness or to support lifestyle changes.
    • Examples of possible application topics include:
      • Training for apprenticeships;
      • Continuing professional development (CPD) activities;
      • Skill-focused courses leading to professional or vocational qualifications;
      • Adult and community learning and short courses for practitioners;
      • The development of new courses focused on some or all sustainable development issues;
      • Adaptation of existing courses;
      • Use of practical sustainability-related projects or other practical activities within courses including work-based learning initiatives;
      • Staff development.
    • Applications can be made for activities connected with academic courses if there is a practical focus on the development of specific skills which goes beyond the normal activities of the disciplinary curriculum, e.g. running community-based projects which give students considerable autonomy and develop their communication, management abilities etc.
    • Possible applicants for this category include: Higher Education institutions; Further Education and technical colleges; adult and community and work-based learning providers. Signatories of the SDG Accord are particularly encouraged to apply for this category.
  • Student Engagement
    • This category reflects that students and staff must work together to achieve goals using “top-down” and “bottom-up grass roots” methods to achieve maximum understanding and engagement across an institution. This in turn aids student progress and allows for opportunities to gain transferable employability skills. It looks at both the student input and the staff commitment and the relationship between the two. It must be clear that initiatives include both staff and students (not just one party) working in partnership.
    • Where staff and students are involved, as well as including the actual numbers, include how they are involved and what impact/influence they have had. Applications are equally welcomed from institutions or student bodies.
  • Sustainability Institution of the Year
    • This category recognises sustained, whole-institution commitment and impact to becoming a sustainable organisation.
    • To improve economic and social responsibility and environmental performance through a whole institution approach strategic sustainability activity through four main areas must be achieved:
      • Leadership and Governance
      • Estates and Operations
      • Learning, Teaching and Research
      • Partnership and Engagement
    • Applications are only likely to be successful if they provide considerable quantitative evidence on the nature of the improvements made and also demonstrate a causal relationship between activities undertaken and improvements achieved based on the four areas. Initiatives must have been running for at least five years.

Reward your Sustainability Journey

Applying for an International Green Gown Award will not only motivate your team, management and students but it will inspire others in the sector to do more and opens the doors to new opportunities:

  • Acknowledging your team’s efforts – engage your staff and students
  • Raising your profile and showcase your sustainability excellence via events, case studies and videos
  • Helping to gain recognition from senior management
  • Obtaining regional and international recognition
  • Joining a network of exceptional institutions with year-long promotion for your institution
  • Winning an International Green Gown Award will bring huge awareness and positive press to not only your institution as a whole but also to the profile of sustainability within it.

Conditions of Entry

  • All applications must be received on an official application form in English by the stated deadline. Late applications will not be accepted.
  • Third party organisations may enter on behalf on an institution, but an institution employee must approve the application. Any such listings, including the Award, will use the institution’s name and not to the third party organisation.
  • Applications must be for an individual institution initiative and not for wider sector initiatives. Applications recognising collaboration from multiple institutions are welcomed but must have a leading institution. They recognise that partnerships can have a significant role to solving sustainability issues and these will be recognised – if appropriate – in the form of a group/partnership name.
  • The Awards organisers reserve the right to refuse an entry if the rules have not been met.
  • The Awards organisers reserve the right to audit winning applications to ensure that claims made are fully justified.
  • Applications, by applying, agree to disseminate good practice to the sector and this information will be in the public domain.
  • All Finalists are required to submit a case study or video as part of their commitment for dissemination to the wider sector.
  • All applications received agree to their contact details being passed to any relevant supporters or sponsors of the Awards.
  • The Awards organiser’s decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • The Awards do not provide any funding or financial support.
  • Entries are accepted from any legal entity within the post-16/tertiary education sector. All applications will be governed by the same rules and no preferential treatment will be given. However, if you are eligible to enter a regional Green Gown Award (e.g. UK & Ireland or Australasia) then you are not eligible to apply for the International Green Gown Awards. Institutions from the Pacific region are invited to apply to International Green Gown Awards. As an exception, Pacific institutions that are members of ACTS are eligible to apply to the Green Gown Awards Australasia. However, they cannot enter both schemes in the same award cycle.
  • Such as, if ACTS Pacific members apply to the 2024 International Green Gown Awards, they are automatically eligible to apply to the 2024 Green Gown Awards Australasia. If ACTS Pacific members apply to the 2024 Green Gown Awards Australasia, they are automatically eligible to apply to the 2025 International Green Gown Awards. Applications from institutions within those regions that have international campuses elsewhere are eligible to apply. Applications received that are not eligible to enter will automatically be discounted and will not be judged.

Note: There is no limit on the number of applications or categories each institution can enter. Entry is free of charge but they do ask for a suggested fee of $150 USD if your institution is able to do so. This donation helps them to continue delivering the Awards.

For more information, visit EUAC.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Looking for expert advice on economics?