The Students' Union is committed to being ethically minded and reducing the negative and increasing the positive impact our organisation has on the environment. Through continuous review and monitoring the Union aims to show a continuous improvement in its actions, behaviours and initiatives. The implementation of this policy will help engage and support students, staff, volunteers and officers, driving the Union forward as a best practice organisation with ethical and environmental good practices integrated into the Union's day to day work.
This policy was approved by Union Council in April 2017 and updated by Union Trustees in December 2019. The Students' Union will focus on:
- Encouraging, enabling and increasing the ability of staff, officers, students and volunteers to reduce their negative and increase their positive impact on the environment.
- Supporting and empowering students to change and affect society and the world around them through student-led environmental and ethical campaigns, societies and elected representatives, in line with our policies and values. This will include working within and towards student ethical and environmental campaigning policies as is practicable.
- Monitoring and recording our environmental impact so that the Union can ensure we are following this policy and so that areas of improvement can be identified and acted upon. Reports will be taken to the relevant reporting committee in order for progress to be monitored by the Union as a whole.
- Complying with all current environmental legislation, identifying and minimising impacts from significant environmental aspects and aiming to meet environmental best practice wherever possible.
- Ensuring all staff, officers and volunteers receive training in our Ethical and Environmental Policy and day-to-day working practices as part of their standard induction. A team of environmental champions will act to support this, sharing and encouraging pro-environmental and ethical choices, in line with this policy and the Union's environmental procedures. Ideas, questions, queries and suggestions received by environmental champions will be fed back to the Union's Environmental Assistant.
In line with supporting behaviour change, empowering students, monitoring our environmental impact, relevant training, and reporting to the Green Impact Scheme, we will make it easier for staff, volunteers and students to:
- Transport: Take low or non-carbon and transport to and from the University, for work purposes and student group trips. The Union is part of the cycle to work scheme, provides a business travel mileage rate for cycling and works with the University to ensure a safe environment for pedestrians and cyclists on campus. No staff or officers will fly within Europe on Union business and no volunteers or students will use Union funding for flights within Europe unless there is no viable alternative.
- Carbon: Minimise the amount of carbon we emit through our energy and water consumption .
- Waste: Reduce their waste and use of resources by promoting a zero-waste culture and waste management procedure of reduce, reuse, repair, recycle. Including working with the University to improve facilities which enable and encourage staff and students to compost.
- Ethical & Sustainable Products: Make more sustainable purchase choices by providing a range of products in our outlets. For example, products may be organic, recycled and/or be made from less harmful materials/chemicals. For food and drink, the Union will provide a range of local, vegetarian, vegan, organic and /or Fairtrade products. The Union will act in response to the student voice on whether certain brands should be boycotted in the Union's outlets.
- Procurement: Make sustainable purchase choices across a range of items, including cost-free purchases, by providing and promoting up-to-date information and advice for all. The need for every new purchase should be questioned and assessed following our purchasing specifications, ensuring this becomes part of the Students' Union ethos.
- Biodiversity: Respect and promote biodiversity and ecosystems.
- Rights: Respect and promote human rights, equality and social justice, and respect and promote animal rights.
- Wider Reach & Collaboration: Promote and uphold the Union's environmental values along with other organisations, communities and the University to engage and develop wider understanding and awareness. This can be achieved through activities such as training, lobbying, campaigning, and volunteering.
- Ethical Investment: Make informed and ethical choices where possible about their providers for banking, energy, telecoms, pensions/savings accounts etc.