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Is embedding sustainability in higher education truly sustainable?

Focusing on reducing carbon footprint on your estate and research into future environmental challenges are very much a given now in higher education, argues Professor Jim Longhurst. But pushing the scope of the agenda to account for all students is an entirely different discussion.

For cities, food is one of the largest sources of greenhouse related to consumption

Fourteen mayors sign declaration to promote sustainable food policies in their cities

Fourteen cities announced on Thursday (10 October) that they would pay particular attention to the sustainable and healthy food supply in their cities in the future. This way, they aim to save 60% of the carbon emissions in the food sector.

The energy will be supplied by TEC’s current and future energy partners, namely EDF Energy, Norwegian energy giant Statkraft and renewables supplier Squeaky Clean Energy

UK universities ink £50m renewables deal

A group of 20 UK universities has agreed a £50m deal to purchase renewable energy over a 10-year period through the Energy Consortium (TEC).

Pictured: SAP's installation at the V&A museum 

Sustainable Business Covered podcast: British Airways' future of flying and Plastics Clouds

Episode 72 of the Sustainable Business Covered podcast features an exclusive interview with British Airways' chief executive Alex Cruz on the future of flying, algae plane concepts and how the data-driven Plastics Cloud is combatting ocean plastic pollution.

It is estimated that 2.3 million people are currently enrolled in higher education in the UK

Universities, colleges and students urged accelerate climate action

New guidance aimed at helping universities and colleges mitigate and adapt to climate change has been released, in the same week as the launch of a new educational charity aimed at engaging students with environmental issues.

Since the JUMP scheme was enrolled at NTU, more than 23,000 positive actions, relating to sustainability and wellbeing, have been taken and recorded

Nottingham Trent University extends JUMP behaviour change initiative to 30,000 students

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has expanded the JUMP behaviour scheme initiative for staff to its 30,000 students for the upcoming academic year, after more than 23,000 sustainable actions were recorded by staff during a pilot last year.

This episode features seven interviews, live from the strike

Sustainable Business Covered podcast: LIVE from the Global Climate Strike

Episode 71 of the Sustainable Business Covered podcast is packed with exclusive interviews from students, chief executives and sustainability representatives that attended the Global Day of Climate Strikes on Friday (20 September), outlining the role that business has to play in mitigating climate impacts.

22% of respondents opposed the idea of limiting flights 

Brits support limiting air travel and meat reductions to combat climate change

More than two-thirds of the general public would support measures to limit flights and air travel in order to combat climate change, while more than half believe that reducing meat in diets should also be prioritised.

Around 1.4 million people took part in March's global strike, with calls to action now directed at businesses as well as policymakers. Image: Greenpeace

TUC and Amnesty International come out in support of student climate strikes

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has urged members to support student climate strikers on 20 September as Amnesty International called on head teachers worldwide to back their global protests.

More than 70,000 children and young adults, across 270 towns and cities globally, have been regularly taking part in climate strikes 

Ben & Jerry's, Patagonia, Lush and Seventh Generation to take part in global climate strikes

Major US firms Ben & Jerry's, Patagonia, Lush Cosmetics and personal care firm Seventh Generation have agreed to close stores on 20 September to join the worldwide day of climate strikes.

The commitment was made later last week. Image: University of Liverpool

University of Liverpool to divest entirely from fossil fuels

The University of Liverpool has become the latest higher education facility in the UK to commit to removing fossil fuel investments from its portfolio, following pressure from students and staff.

Pictured: Goldsmiths' new warden Professor Frances Corner (L) speaking to allotment coordinator and senior lecturer for fine arts Dr Ros Gray (R). Image: Goldsmiths, University of London 

Goldsmiths bans beef burgers as it declares 'Climate Emergency'

Goldsmiths, University of London, has become the latest UK university to officially declare a 'Climate Emergency', unveiling a string of new sustainability measures to be taken for the new academic year.

Gloucestershire University (pictured) received the highest overall score, 80.6%, across the league table's 11 criteria 

How ethical and sustainable are UK universities?

Gloucestershire, Manchester Metropolitan and Nottingham Trent are among the highest-scoring universities in a new league table which ranks higher education establishments on their ethical and environmental ambitions and actions.

(L-R): Awards compere Michaela Strachan, the Energy Institute's head of events and training Laura Viscione (presenting) and James Tiernan

Meet edie's Energy Management Leader 2019: James Tiernan, Unite Students

With entries now open for edie's Sustainability Leaders Awards 2020, this new feature series showcases the achievements of the 2019 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: Unite Students' group energy & environment manager James Tiernan, our Energy Management Leader of 2019.

Staff and students at Cambridge University have long been lobbying for its management to divest from companies in the fossil fuel industry

Cambridge University agrees to explore fossil fuel divestment plan

The former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has welcomed an "urgent change" by Cambridge University, after it agreed to provide fully costed plans setting out how it could divest multibillion-pound endowments from fossil fuel corporations.

How have key MPs responded to Greta Thunberg and the climate protests?

Following young climate activist Greta Thunberg's rousing speech to UK MPs calling for an overhaul to "very creative, carbon accounting," edie rounds up how key political figures have responded to her comments and the ongoing Extinction Rebellion protests.

Around 1.4 million people took part in last month's global strike, with calls to action now directed at businesses as well as policymakers. Image: Greenpeace

Calls for sustainable business action mount amid school climate strikes

The global business sector is facing a new wave of calls to bolster its low-carbon and resource efficiency agendas, with the school strike climate movement now uniting staff, students, consumers and policymakers alike in climate activism.

The Centre will formally start on 1st May 2019

Cardiff University chosen for £5m climate change research centre

Cardiff University will act as the location for a new £5m research centre that will connect industries, governments and charities to tackle climate change.

School-age strikers are out in force again today (15 March), campaigning for policy action on climate change

WATCH: Michael Gove, Claire Perry and Paul Polman support school climate strikes

Conservative MPs, Government Ministers and green business leaders have today (15 March) come out in support of students that are missing school and going on strike for a second time in the fight against climate change.

The University and Union have already swapped disposable coffee cups for compostable alternatives, and launched a campaign incentivising the use of reusable coffee cups

University of Leeds unveils plan to become 'plastic-free' by 2023

The University of Leeds and Leeds University Union have pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic items, including coffee cups, disposable cutlery and straws, from their operations by 2023.

The commitment was made late last week by Newcastle University (pictured), Northumbria University, the University of Reading, the University of Winchester and the University of Nottingham

Universities pledge to slash emissions in bid to lead UK's low-carbon transition

The Vice Chancellors of five UK universities have signed the Government's Emissions Reduction Pledge in a bid to help accelerate the nation's transition towards a net-zero carbon economy.

The winning team ‘Pankhurst’ claimed victory following its winning presentation on gender inequality and gender stereotypes, titled ‘Equality for All’

Canon educates youth on the importance of SDGs

Global imaging manufacturer Canon has this week worked with the University of the Arts London to help students harness the power of visual storytelling to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Why is single use plastic a problem and what can be done about it?

The UK Government is now trying to catch up with what businesses have been doing for years to tackle single use items. It seems that every day we hear something new about what we can do to tackle the never-ending problem of single use plastics.

There is more that we can do as a nation to win the war on food waste

Food waste is a growing problem with one third of food produced in the world going to waste. The UK is a culprit with households wasting, on average, £700 per year on food which is shocking when you consider that approximately 10 million people struggle to afford a meal in the UK.

Eddington has turned to onsite renewables, large-scale rainwater harvesting and innovative bin systems to embed sustainability into everyday living

Cambridge's 'unprecented' new district promotes best practice for sustainable development

The University of Cambridge's desire to retain staff has led to the creation of a £1bn sustainable community equipped with some of the UK's largest and most innovative sustainability features. edie speaks to project manager Heather Topel to find out if sustainability is a new selling point for residents.

More than 60 UK universities have now divested from fossil fuels, but Edinburgh’s £1bn fund is the largest to completely remove ties to fossil fuel holdings

Edinburgh and SOAS fulfil university divestment pledges

SOAS University of London has fulfilled a pledge to divest from fossil fuels within three years, in the same week that the University of Edinburgh became the largest university endowment fund to completely to divest away from coal, oil and gas.

How gaming can not only teach but inspire to action in sustainability

Imagine someone stuck with her head in her mobile phone, playing a game. Totally absorbed, the world around her barely exists. Not very hard, is it? We see these people all the time; on the bus, the train and even walking on the street.

How to embed the SDGs in your sustainability strategy

Apart from the slightly strange feeling of talking into complete silence, and not seeing any response from your audience, I thoroughly enjoyed talking at the edie Masterclass on How to embed the SDGs in your sustainability strategy, sharing my knowledge and expertise on the topic. Here I offer you a short reflection on the webinar and respond to the questions that I didn't have time to answer during the event.

Unite Students is currently working with the Science-Based Targets Initiative to finalise its carbon reduction goals

In practice: Unite Students' 'Gateway' to an energy-efficiency retrofit

By joining the RBS Innovation Gateway, Unite Students gained access to a wider scope of innovative energy-efficiency solutions - some of which have been retrofitted at the Sidney Webb House in London.

Don’t waste this Halloween

London Metropolitan University's Sustainability Manager, Rachel Ward, speaks to us about the hidden wastage behind Halloween costumes and pumpkins.

Students need the 'sustain' ability

Iain Patton, CEO at the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), talks to representatives from the education, business and sustainability sectors about megatrends in education.

Marie-Claire Daveu discussed how partnering with colleges had opened new avenues to explore innovation Image: Christopher Sturman

Kering championing 'disruptive' innovations to push towards science-based targets

Luxury fashion group Kering is partnering with "disruptive" new minds to uncover innovations that will help reach ambitious science-based targets, and the firm's chief sustainability officer Marie-Claire Daveu wants to pass these learnings to the sector through an open-sourced approach.

Helping young people get to grips with the UN’s Global Goals

The scale and ambition of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can sometimes seem daunting, even for us sustainability professionals who know them well.

What does London Met’s Sustainability Team get up to over the summer?

Typically, you'd think universities don't get up to much when students go home. Not for London Met. Rachel Ward and her team have been up to all sorts to improve London Met's sustainability. Here's Rachel to tell us more.

Only 52 of the 127 institutions analysed look set to meet or exceed their 2020 carbon targets

Best performance to date unlikely to help English universities hit carbon goals

English universities have achieved their best year-on-year reduction in carbon emissions to date, although an annual 7% reduction is unlikely to put the sector on track to meet a 2020 carbon reduction target.

Back to school: Capturing sustainability work opportunities

In light of the Back to School period, London Metropolitan University's Sustainability Manager, Rachel Ward, describes how she managed to get her foot in the door and how today's students can do the same.

The Waterside campus will have 100% of its heating and hot water needs served by the new energy centre by using woodchip biomass and gas

In practice: University of Northampton's onsite biomass energy centre

A state-of-the-art new campus at the University of Northampton has embraced a renewable energy solution through a £6.5m energy centre which incorporates woodchip biomass boilers and a combined heat and power (CHP) system.

The SDG Accord has already been endorsed by 30 supporting organisations from abroad prior to its launch

UK higher education facilities move to champion Sustainable Development Goals

UK and Irish higher education facilities have issued a collective response to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with select colleges and universities vowing to embed a new accord to champion the aims of the goals.

Illegal wildlife trade: if we don’t act today, endangered animals won’t be here tomorrow

Poaching and the illegal trade of animals are devastating some of the most iconic species in the world. With 30,000 elephants disappearing around the globe every single year, this isn't an issue we can wait to act on. If things don't change, some populations of elephants could be extinct from the wild by 2025.

Living Labs to the rescue

Sustainability in all sectors can sometimes end up sitting in a silo. The language used to communicate what is actually a very simple and sensible premise is typically the biggest barrier. People hear the words 'environment', 'green' and 'sustainability' and turn off. It is dismissed as a nice idea but not something they have the time or resources to commit to addressing.

Is your supply chain keeping you up at night?

Why your supply chain should be a priority for your organisation.

Why food and packaging waste is often a hidden behavioural problem

The cost of coffee cup disposal is considerable and at the University there is confusion over whether cups can be placed in recyclable or non-recyclable bins - which leads to contamination of waste streams.

Secrets to success: How London Met smashed its carbon reduction targets

After helping the University win 13 sustainability awards over the last two years and smashing our 2020 carbon target four years early the question I'm asked most is "How did you do it?".

UK businesses will be called upon throughout the new Courtauld 2025 scheme to investigate innovate methods of encouraging consumer waste reduction

Innovation must be at heart of food waste fight, industry experts agree

EXCLUSIVE: Open-source innovation will be a central tool to help businesses meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3 objective of halving global food waste by 2030, a group of industry experts including the heads of Tesco and WRAP have told edie.

Rachel Ward (centre) picked up her Energy Manager of the Year accolade at the Sustainability Leaders Awards 2017

Meet the Energy Manager of the Year - London Metropolitan University's Rachel Ward

Ahead of her appearance at edie Live, London Metropolitan University's sustainability manager Rachel Ward discusses how she has been able to catalyse an on-campus transformation in energy efficiency performance.

The University took to twitter to announce the achievement of a 40% reduction in carbon emissions across its estate since 2010

#UoLCarbonCut: University of London delivers world's first tweet-based sustainability report

The University of London has taken digital sustainability reporting to a new level by broadcasting its achievements through a series of tweets and an online presentation instead of compiling a dedicated CSR report.


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