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In January 2012 the University of Wales, Newport received ISO 14001 certification from SGS United Kingdom Ltd for the successful implementation of its Environmental Management System (EMS) across all the university sites.

Organisations achieve ISO 14001 for systems that monitor, control and adopt a programme of continual
improvement of environmental performance.

Key university funders like the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) are keen to ensure universities operate efficiently and minimise their environmental impacts. And in 2008-9 the HEFCW sent a circular to all universities in Wales encouraging the take up of an EMS.

“In fact, we already had an Environmental strategy in place in our department,” says Matthew Bellamy, Environmental Officer in the Estates Department at the University of Wales. The Estates Department had been operating a programme of continuous improvement since 2006.

“But we needed to formalise our systems so everyone across the university could understand more about their impact on the environment,”

Given how far advanced the Estates Department already was in its programme of continuous improvement, it made sense to look at ISO 14001 rather than any of the other available standards. As a result, after their Environmental strategy review in 2007 the Estates Department set up a strategy for 2008-2013 and decided to bring it all together in the ISO 14001 process.

The road to certification

In 2009 the Estates department formed an Environmental Steering Group. This group comprises a representative from each university school and department whose role is to assist with the EMS implementation process, undertake audits and raise awareness. 

Work toward ISO 14001 started with monthly meetings to set up the systems.

“We reviewed our environmental impacts and assessed those in more detail through the ISO 14001 EMS process, and we started pulling the systems side of it together,” says Matthew Bellamy. “We already had many measuring processes in place – I’d been monitoring waste, energy bills, recycling levels and power consumption for a number of years.”

Bellamy had experience of SGS through training and auditing work in previous posts. He feels SGS has always offered very good value for money, and was glad to find a local SGS office in Bridgend and locally based auditors. The proximity of the SGS office aligns perfectly with the university’s environmental aims.

“It cut down the impact of travel, and our auditor was very helpful throughout the process. We had a pre-audit, which focussed us on what we needed to do for the final audit. A review of all our documentation followed and we then felt confident about getting everything ready for the final audit.”

Following a successful audit in November 2011, the University achieved ISO 14001 certification.

“Certification will help us to meet the requirements of funding bodies and with funding bids,” adds Bellamy. “Plus it helps with the Green League Table.”

This table, published by People and the Planet in the Higher Education section of The Guardian, rates universities according to their environmental performance. It is available to a global audience and demonstrates commitment to the public and stakeholders.

“Now we’ve got ISO 14001 it shows we’re constantly considering our environmental impacts, and ways to minimise them and keep our costs down at the same time.”

The university has now met the targets it set. “We’ve increased our recycling rates from 9% in 2004 to 43% in 2010-11. This is the proportion of waste that is recycled rather than going to landfill and we’ve reduced our yearly tonnage of waste to landfill too.”

“And compared to 2005-6 we’ve reduced our carbon emissions by 11.5%. We’ve implemented lots of energy saving projects including energy efficient boilers, lagged pipes, refurbished windows, put in insulation, looked at our heating controls and installed a building management system.”

“The students have also taken an active part in the process.  We have recycling bins all over the campus including the halls of residence and have linked up with a local recycling company, Newport Waste Savers who collect and process all our recyclable waste

There are no plans to change in future. “We’ll stay with ISO 14001 and work on maintaining that and carry on the continuous improvements work,” says Matthew Bellamy.

Since the audit in November SGS have come back to complete a 6 monthly surveillance audit to ensure that the standard is maintained. It was another successful audit in May and we continue to retain certification.

Notes for Editors:

The University of Wales, Newport  has a long tradition of providing high quality undergraduate, postgraduate and professional courses to students from all over the world. The University is internationally recognised and renowned for many of its highly advanced facilities, including some of the best-equipped, fully serviced workshops and studios in Europe and has two campuses at Caerleon and in Newport city centre.

The SGS Group is the global leader and innovator in inspection, verification, testing and certification services. Founded in 1878, SGS is recognised as the global benchmark in quality and integrity.  SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognised as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 70'000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1'350 offices and laboratories around the world.


SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 70,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,350 offices and laboratories around the world.