Sustainability in the UK

The human population is collectively working towards finding innovative solutions to maintain a sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle. Throughout the UK, many universities have taken it upon themselves to join this collective movement and impact the Earth in beneficial ways. By working with companies that utilize Fairtrade practices, contributing to academia and research by offering a wider range of study programmes, and by unique campus initiatives to get the student body involved, the UK is moving towards the happy Earth we wish to see. Here are some ways that universities in the UK are contributing to a happier and more sustainable lifestyle.

  1. Committing to the use of Fairtrade products.

Many universities have committed to the use of Fairtrade products throughout their campuses. Products are identified by the Fairtrade image on packaging which guarantees that the product meets certain standards. The retail price of all Fairtrade products will cover the cost of production as well as the ability for workers producing the products to receive an appropriate living wage.

2. Sustainable agriculture initiatives

Saving the bees:

Bees have two significant roles in their lives and are an important aspect of the world’s economy. The honey that these creatures make contribute to worldwide trading, while pollination allows for healthy flowers contributing to agriculture. With the estimated net worth of a bee’s contributions to economic and agriculture services being tens of millions of dollars a year, it’s no wonder that many nations across the world have shown such importance to the preservation of the bee!  

One university that is contributing to the global effort to preserve the bees is City University of London. City is contributing to the efforts to save bee populations by having a beehive and team dedicated to take care of the honey and bee populations. This hive is located on the roof of the university!

More information can be found here.

  • Sustainable food initiatives:

Some university campuses have committed to on-campus initiatives for sustainable food. By incorporating items like student run vegetable gardens, universities can grow many types of vegetables that can be used throughout the campus for studies and food. 

  • Contributing to the growing research:

By offering a growing number of programs (both undergraduate and postgraduate) universities continue to grow the research in areas of sustainability and environmental studies as well as food safety and nutrition. These areas are both crucial when contributing to the evolving world and will allow students the ability to combat important issues concerning sustainability and eco-friendly items.

3. Reducing Waste and Single-use plastics:

Much like various big-name coffee shops we’re familiar with in Canada, some universities are offering discounts at their campus coffee shops for bringing and utilizing reusable cups. This cuts down on campus waste and saves students money; it’s a win-win! Programs and stipulations will vary from university to university so it’s best to check with your university to see what sort of programs are available!

Needing to stay hydrated? Instead of selling plastic water bottles, some universities have also started to implement water filling stations to promote waste-reduction. Some universities will also include reusable water bottles as part of their student ‘welcome’ package so it’s easy to contribute to a greener campus.  

These steps are incredibly important in creating a more environmentally friendly future. The University of Leeds for example has taken a pledge to become free of single-use plastics by 2023.

4. Reducing carbon emissions.

Bike Repairs:

No car? No problem! Getting around campus can be quick and environmentally friendly by encouraging students to ride bikes instead of driving to and around campus.

Initiatives that universities have started includes on-campus secure bike storage and repair shops to keep everything safe and in the best condition to get you where you need to go safely (and faster than walking).

  • Education of Staff and Students:

An important aspect of working towards lower carbon emission goals is education and research into other sources of renewable sources. Many UK universities have been working towards furthering the research and development of these ideas and encourage the bright minds of tomorrow to contribute in significant ways. Some universities offer scholarships and grants towards students with ideas that meet their goals.

Universities also strongly encourage student awareness on important environmental matters. For example, students can calculate their personal environmental footprint on the WWF website to give some insight into areas of their personal life that can be altered in order to become a more environmentally conscious individual.

Promoting official/certified websites and offering grants/scholarships to students who have the ideas needed for growing an environmentally conscious campus are great ways to encourage student participation and get students thinking about their own carbon footprint.    

Are you interested in contributing to a more sustainable or eco-friendly world? Contact us and we’ll get you in touch with your own personal student advisor to help!