This blog post was written by Rosa Roe Garcia, King’s Sustainability’s Digital Communications Assistant.
We are thrilled to announce that King’s has three finalists for the 2022 Green Gown Awards UK & Ireland. These awards are intended to recognise the outstanding sustainability initiatives at different universities and colleges. We are so proud of these three finalists who have worked so hard to integrate sustainability into King’s.
The King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) has been chosen as a finalist in the 2030 Climate Action Category. This category focuses on the steps that institutions are taking or plan to take in order to meet their sustainability targets. The King’s CAN is an open, interdisciplinary forum for co-creating and implementing the university’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan.
With many sub-groups tackling a wide range of climate issues, this network always puts students and staff at the center of our approach to climate action. More than 350 students and staff have joined the King’s CAN since its beginnings in October 2020. The judges described it as innovative engagement centered on staff and students.
We have two finalists in the category of sustainability champions: a student and a staff member. This category recognises individuals who have worked incredibly hard to implement a sustainability project that has had a positive impact on their colleagues, their institution, or the local community.
Clarisse Mace is a finalist for the student sustainability champion category. She began volunteering with the King’s Sustainability Team to assist in the development of our new course, Sustainability & Climate: Learn, Discover, #TakeAction. She has covered various aspects of the climate crisis and sustainability with a diverse and growing group of students and staff. She has said “I am passionate about this project as I think that learning about climate change is the first step to taking action.”
Fatima Wang is a finalist for the staff sustainability champion. She has established nine green impact initiatives for MSc students studying sustainability in collaboration with Lambeth’s Air Quality Team and Business Improvement Districts. She also launched a new project on low traffic neighbourhoods in Lambeth to motivate residents to adopt greener modes of transport. She said “Through research, education and community engagement, universities have huge potential to have a positive impact on local communities and to forge unique collaborations.”.
Congratulations to the two individual finalists and all the members of the Climate Action Network. We are so happy all your hard work is being recognised and we look forward to the awards ceremony.
Hello everyone! My name is Rosa, and I work as a digital communications assistant for the Sustainability Team. My main focus is on the social media platforms, where I assist with the production of our Podcasts series, TikTok-style videos, and the development of digital educational content. I want to assist and encourage students and staff to engage with sustainability, whether through their degrees, daily lives, or future jobs.
In 2021, I graduated from a Philosophy BA at King’s. Philosophy led me to reconsider and evaluate our relationships with nature, animals, and other people. I was able to see climate change through an ethical lens, and I became aware of many of the challenges that people face when taking climate action.
Joining the Sustainability Team and environmental activist groups made me value community and university climate action. I learned about the importance of people coming together to create positive changes within our society. I am thrilled to be a part of King’s journey towards a more sustainable future.
Good news alert!
The Sustainability Restaurant Association (SRA), through the Food Made Good report, celebrate all the ways that the business is succeeding on the road to sustainability, while helping to lay out a path toward continual improvement. This year, King’s received three stars with an overall score of 80%.
The SRA’s Food Made Good rating sets out a 10 key area framework for continual improvement on sourcing, society and the environment. In 2018, King’s received one star from the SRA, with an overall score of 59%. In 2019, we achieved our second star, with an overall rating of 68%. There was no rating carried out in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the hospitality industry. We are thrilled that King’s increased its score by 12% this year compared to the 2019 report, achieving an overall score of 80% and gaining a third star. This represents a 12% increase since our last report.
As the image below shows, King’s received a 75% score for sourcing, 86% for society, and 81% for environment. Since the last report in 2019, we improved our performance across all 10 key areas, but the largest increase was in feeding people well (33% increase), wasting no food (22% increase), and supporting global farmers (21% increase).
Source: 2022 SRA Report
We would like to congratulate the King’s Food team for this great achievement and are excited to see more developments to come.
This blog post was written by Tasnia Yasmin, King’s Sustainability Projects Assistant.
The King’s Academy Learning & Teaching Festival is an annual event which celebrates education and learning across King’s. I presented the education for sustainable development (ESD) work that the Sustainability team have been working on over this last year. This included our KEATS Sustainability & Climate module as well as our Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Curriculum mapping. These were both 2 workshops which linked to the key themes of the festival which were sustainable education as well as co-creation with students.
Both workshops were taken very well. Many were impressed with our student co-creation model for the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module and how well we have done since its inception earlier this year (122 completed the module!). From the seminars organised alongside the module to the quizzes and interactive elements of the module; it showed everyone how broad and intersectional sustainability truly is.
Staff feedback from the SDG Mapping session also showed that ESD is something that they are wanting to actively incorporate into teaching and learning within modules and the faculty. As a team we are actively looking for opportunities to help staff and students embed sustainability into their module; it’s not something that sits separately but needs to be weaved into everything. Everything can be tied to sustainability whether it is social justice, the climate crisis or looking at circular economies.
This was followed by an in-person day with poster presentations and further workshops. I presented the key findings of the SDG Mapping which included how colleagues could look at working in ESD to their own teaching as well as wider commitments from the college. It was great seeing everyone and being able to network with colleagues who wanted to work together to further sustainability and inclusivity.
All this work furthers on from a previous ESD report that we did in 2014 and we have seen and made progress since then. Many students themselves have led societies with specific sustainable education areas and colleagues have been including sustainability within their curricula from English to Dentistry. We are hoping we can connect and work with more students and staff to help them embed and develop sustainability within learning.
This guest blog comes courtesy of Martin Farley, King’s Sustainable Research Manager.
Ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers are an essential resource in medical science, as they allow biological samples and vaccines to be preserved safely at very low temperatures. Many lifesaving vaccines, including the Pfizer (COVID-19) vaccine, require ULT freezers for storage and they are vital to research laboratories, including ours here at King’s, where we have over 550!
Like any cooling, freezers are extremely energy intensive, particularly ULT freezers. Depending on their age and model, these freezers can use the same amount of energy as the average UK home and require further energy to cool the spaces they occupy. Beyond the impact of energy consumption, cold storage devices utilise refrigerant gases, which are HFCs. While these gases are far less harmful on the environment than their predecessors (CFCs), they can still wreak havoc if released into the environment. In the UK, there are regulations in place to avoid their release, but old equipment can still lead to leakages.
So, what can we do to manage our ULT freezers sustainably?
- Procure energy efficient freezers – To start, we can aim to purchase more efficient units. At King’s, we promote sustainable procurement both through our tender process and sustainable lab programme (LEAF).
- Manage samples efficiently – Storing our samples efficiently means we can maximise our freezer space. King’s Department of Women & Children’s Health have recently transformed their sample management system by adopting microtubes that take up less than half the space of previously used containers. This has had the dual effect of increasing the internal capacity of each freezer and reducing the volume of plastic required. Shared around the college, this practice is now being adopted by others, including groups within the School of Basic & Biomedical Sciences.
- Store only what we need – By removing samples that are no longer needed we can consolidate our holdings. To support this, King’s Freezer Replacement Scheme offers to pay for new, ultra-efficient, fully-racked ULT freezer if researchers can consolidate the contents of freezers in their area, so that two older freezers can be taken away in exchange for one new energy efficient one. This scheme aims to reduce carbon emissions and encourage the adoption of efficient management systems.
- Good housekeeping – Smart freezer management goes a long way! Our Good Practice Guide provides some great tips and tricks on maintenance such as defrosting and clearing filters.
- Reduce the temperature – Check what temperature the freezers are set at. While many operate at -80°C, historically they all were set to -70° That 10°C difference leads to an impressive 25-30% in energy saving, and has been implemented in some of King’s sites like the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases.
As our research and laboratory practices grow, we must ensure that consideration is given to the impacts on the environment and integrating sustainable practices such as those listed above is crucial to delivering impactful research, while minimising our environmental impact. Whether you are directly involved in freezer management, or have a supporting role, we can all play a part in sharing this knowledge and raising awareness amongst our peers, which in turn can go a long way in creating a wider mindfulness about their environmental impact and how we can support a more sustainable infrastructure at King’s.
This blog post was written by Maria Rabanser, King’s Sustainability Officer.
King’s College London and KCLSU have been re-certified as a Fairtrade University by the Fairtrade Foundation and Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK), achieving two stars in our recent student-led audit.
The Fairtrade University scheme promotes fair and ethical consumption in universities. Universities taking part have to meet a set of mandatory criteria, such as offering Fairtrade coffee and tea as standard, and holding events for Fairtrade Fortnight. In addition, there are criteria on leadership and strategy, campaigning and influencing, procurement, retail and catering, and research and curriculum.
Since earning our first star in 2020, we have worked on our 2020-2022 Fairtrade Action Plan with the aim of achieving two stars in our 2022 audit. For example, King’s Food continuously look for new Fairtrade products and ingredients to add to their menus and outlets. Rather than only offering Fairtrade for branded products such as chocolate bars, King’s Food source Fairtrade cocoa and sugar for use in their kitchens, meaning many of the in-house baked goods on sale from outlets include Fairtrade ingredients. During International Coffee Week in 2021, King’s Food invited their coffee supplier Bewley’s to speak to students and staff about the sourcing of their coffee, and during Fairtrade Fortnight 2022 they offered Fairtrade pancakes on Pancake Day. The King’s Sustainability team offers support and data for students who would like to research ethical supply chains or consumption as part of their dissertations, collaborates with other Fairtrade universities on ideas and events, and ensures fair and ethical trade are considered in university-wide initiatives such as the King’s Climate Action Network.
If you would like to get involved in our Fairtrade work, there are many opportunities to do so. Our Fairtrade and Sustainable Food Steering Group is open to all at King’s, and meets four times per year to discuss food sustainability and Fairtrade at King’s and KCLSU. We are also encouraging students or student societies who would like to collaborate on events on ethical consumption, trade justice or Fairtrade to get in touch with us. If you would like to learn more, or have ideas for how we can further promote Fairtrade at King’s, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My long-awaited blog and introduction to the team is finally here (despite me working for 10 months…). My name is Tasnia and I work as a Sustainability Project Assistant in the Sustainability team here at King’s. I mainly focus on sustainable education and looking at how we can improve access to sustainable education across the curriculum at King’s (formally and informally). I work closely with students and staff to achieve this because student co-creation is at the heart of most of our projects – we want to give opportunities to students to both get involved in making a difference at King’s, develop skills and facilitate peer-to-peer learning.
The main project which I worked on was the Sustainable Development Goal Curriculum Mapping which mapped how education for sustainable development and SDGs sat across the curriculum at King’s. This involved over 60 students mapping ~1000 modules! This helped us develop a baseline of what and where sustainable education currently sits at King’s and how we can embed it more. I’m also working on our KEATS Climate & Sustainability module which is another opportunity for students to learn about sustainability outside of their own courses.
I’m also an alumnus (BSc Geography, 2020) as well as a previous KCLSU Student Officer (Welfare & Community, 2020/2021). I’ve always been super keen on learning about climate, the environment and sustainability and loved my undergraduate. I was even lucky enough to do a 10 day fieldwork trip around Morocco (10 cities in 10 days!). My time as officer was also a very interesting experience – seeing how decisions get made and knowing that I am the student representative in a lot of these conversations was very empowering.
I’ve been a student, sabbatical officer and now a staff member at King’s – I feel like I’ve seen the college from every angle you can see it from!
The full second series of the King’s Spotlight on Sustainability podcast is now live! This podcast aims to draw attention to sustainability at King’s and beyond. The goal is to get you thinking about some of the issues and challenges we face regarding climate change and the natural world by highlighting some of the excellent work surrounding sustainability happening at King’s and on a local, national and global level.
Series 2 focuses on building sustainable communities, with the following episodes:
- Episode 1: How can universities be more inclusive to migrants? With Ria Patel
- Episode 2: Why does Equality, Diversity and Inclusion matter? With Sarah Guerra
- Episode 3: What is the Climate Action Network? With Maria Rabanser
- Episode 4. What is decolonisation and why is it important? With Dr Ricardo Twumasi
- Episode 5. How can you take action to build and empower sustainable communities? With Abigail Oyedele