Category: Climate Change (Page 1 of 4)

The Ethics of Carbon Offsetting: An Interview with Dr Joachim Aufderheide

This guest blog comes from Rebecca Lindsay, BA Philosophy and Spanish student and Sustainability Champion Assistant (SCA), supporting the King’s Energy Team.

Carbon offsetting is the source of much debate in the energy world, being that it’s extremely difficult to ensure you’re offsetting correctly. This week we’ve teamed up with Dr Joachim Aufderheide from the Philosophy department to discuss all things ethics-related when it comes to offsetting our carbon emissions!

First, some background – what is carbon offsetting?

Joachim Aufderheide (JA): Through our carbon emissions, we contribute to global warming, which in turn causes much harm, especially in developing countries. It is morally wrong to harm others and/or destroy their resources. We cannot, however, simply stop emitting greenhouse gases (to which CO2 counts). So, in order to cancel out the harm we do, we can offset our emissions. I cause a certain amount of CO2 to be emitted during a certain period of time. This CO2 will stay in the atmosphere for a very long time. Now, if I cause the same amount of CO2 to be reduced in that timeframe, I have offset my CO2, and thereby have mitigated the harm I do.

How do we do ‘offsetting’ in a meaningful way, with the most impact, while not undermining the emphasis on carbon reduction?

JA: First off, we need to be clear about what ‘reducing’ means. By, for example, planting trees, we create carbon sinks that bind the CO2 we emit. However, this is not a good strategy because when the trees die, the carbon will re-enter the atmosphere. It takes millions of years to move carbon from the atmosphere back into the so-called passive carbon pool, below ground as oil. So, when we offset, we need to support measures to prevent carbon from being taken from the passive carbon pool and transferred into the active one, i.e., the atmosphere. In plain language, we need to support reducing emissions on the one hand and improving renewable energy on the other.

Second, it must be clear that offsetting is a temporary measure: even if we offset our CO2 emissions, emitting at the same rates is not sustainable. The carbon market will become more and more saturated: the easy and cost-effective projects to reduce carbon emissions will have been completed at some point. Then the spotlight shines back on us who have not changed our emissions but chose instead to pay other people to reduce their emissions. So, to avoid the worst harm that we cause through global warming, we should not only offset our emissions but also reduce our emissions.

Third, I think that many of us are committed to reducing our carbon footprint. But many of us don’t know what our footprint is, and what we should do. I wonder whether making the carbon cost clear, for example, by labelling our purchases, would be helpful.

How can we most powerfully make the case for offsetting when it will involve increased spend at a financially difficult time?

JA: It might help to put things into perspective. Compared to previous generations, we are not in financial difficulties. We have become more and more wealthy so that many are sufficiently wealthy now to make ends meet and live reasonably well. While economic development is important, we must not forget the goal: to enable people to live and to live well. If we exploit our planet too much, these goals will become increasingly more difficult to attain.

What kind of monitoring is (or should be) in place to ensure that there are actual carbon reductions in the offsets that we may purchase, and are some areas of offsetting ‘better’ or ‘worse’ for this?

JA: Offsetting presents some problems. First, it is unclear whether we buy genuine offsets. For instance, if a project is funded through offset funds, it would genuinely offset emissions only if it would not have happened otherwise. But this is not always clear. If a country is sufficiently interested in, let’s say, a wind farm to have it built as an offsetting project, then it seems likely that there would have been other ways to realise this project.

Second, and relatedly, some projects are double-counted, both as offsetting emissions and as part of a country’s effort to reduce emissions.

Third, it is not always easy to measure the impact of the project. Buying cleaner and more efficient stoves for communities in the developing world only offset our emissions if they are actually used. But this is not always the case. So, it would be good if projects were not one-off and, at the very least, we should collect data to determine the efficiency of projects. This would allow us to get a more accurate account of how much different projects tend to offset.

Finally, projects that do not require people to change the way they cook or do other daily things might not only be more effective but also less ‘invasive’: if we don’t change our ways, why should they?

What are the risks for developing nations when agreeing to offset UK carbon emissions?

JA: Some offsetting projects mean well, but don’t do good. For instance (monoculture) tree plantations can have bad effects on wildlife, soil and water. Building a dam often comes with complex political questions about access to water further down the river and this can lead to conflicts. Another host of problems surrounds the rights of indigenous people who might live where the projects are to be located.

Where in the world are offsets most valuable and what kinds of activities are most effective?

JA: The utilitarian argument that we can do better for the world by focusing on developing countries is rather strong. It is expensive for us to cut down our carbon emissions. So, instead of that, we should use the money we save to fund projects in developing countries, thereby offsetting more CO2 than if we had merely focused on reducing our emissions. If indeed we invest the money so saved in addressing climate matters, we are not self-indulgent.

How truly ethical are the offsetting schemes with a UN Gold standard?

JA: I am no expert in this, but the Gold Standard takes many factors into consideration that were ignored in the past, and to some extent still are by other offsetting standards. For example, child labour, the indigenous peoples affected, labour rights, the impacts on water. It seeks to benefit the local population as well as cutting down on carbon emissions. However, like all the other standards, the Gold Standard allows the people running the projects to collect their own data. It would be an improvement if there would be independent monitoring.

What valuation should we be using when choosing between offsetting schemes?

JA: As far as I can see, most projects certified by the Gold Standard seem genuinely beneficial.

What pitfalls should we be looking for?

JA: Perhaps the biggest pitfall is complacency. Even if we’re offsetting our emissions, this does not mean we’re home and dry. We must be aware that it is a temporary measure that bridges the way towards a more environmentally conscious use of our resources. We must commit to reducing our carbon emissions, not only the emissions elsewhere in the world.

Should we (King’s) set up our own scheme?

JA: I’m not sure. I’d think we should offset and reduce our emissions. But we as an educational institution should seek to do more about the education that’s necessary to change the behaviour of emitters: individual people, groups, and organisations. It would be amazing if we could set up a scheme with schools on environmental education.

 

Thanks to Dr Aufderheide for answering our questions!

If you would like more information on how we use energy at King’s, or want to get involved, head over to the King’s Sustainability Instagram page or email the energy team at energy@kcl.ac.uk. We’d love to hear from you.

 

Sustainability Month 2021 – Round-Up #3

This blog is the third in a series of four posts on Sustainability Month 2021. 

 

LONDON STUDENT SUSTAINABILITY CONFERENCE 

King’s had the wonderful opportunity to co-host this year’s London Student Sustainability Conference (LSSC) with City University. Over 30 students presented their sustainable research through presentations, posters and performances. 

The diverse range of presentations covered the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and we left the conference feeling inspired by the many students choosing to engage with the complexity of sustainability through their studies.  

Here are some highlights:  

‘Dust Fertilization in Terrestrial Ecosystems: The Sahara to Amazon Basin’ 

Globally, wind-driven dust plays a major role in biogeochemical cycles. Robyn’s presentation discussed the crucial role of Saharan dust in the Amazon Rainforest – it acts as a fertilizer and provides important nutrients that contribute to the ecosystem’s overall productivity. But how will these processes be impacted by changing weather patterns and climate change? (Robyn Lees, BSc Geography).

How to Promote Sustainable and Healthy Food Consumption in University Students? 

Recognizing that our dietary choices sit at the nexus of human, planetary and economic health, this student-led vegetable bag scheme explored how we can promote sustainable and healthy food consumption in university students (Fetch Ur VegLiza Konash, BSc Nutrition and Mia Lewis, BA International Relations).

Climate and Cake: What can you do?  

Climate and Cake is an education program for sustainable living. Its goal is to create a space for and support open discussions on sustainability and offer realistic ways individuals notably, students can act on climate change (Ana Oancea, BA International Development).

If this is something you’d like to get involved in next year, keep an eye out for news on LSSC 2022!  

 

Recordings of the events can now be found on our Kaltura.  

If you’d like to stay in touch, sign up for our monthly newsletter and follow us on InstagramFacebook or Twitter. 

Sustainability Month 2021 – Round-Up #2

This blog is the second in a series of four posts on Sustainability Month 2021.

#TAKEACTION HACKATHON 

King’s Sustainability hosted our first-ever Sustainability Hackathon! 

Hackathons provide an opportunity for a group to work together to discuss and develop real solutions to a problem.  

We presented 4 sustainability challenges we want to tackle at King’s and attendees contributed thoughtful and insightful ways forward: 

  • How can we further support diversity within the field of sustainability (from the education of school pupils, college and university life and into careers)? 
    • Elevate and highlight sustainability role models from a diverse range of backgrounds. 
    • Recognize and discuss the interconnected roots of the climate crisis and racial and social oppression. 
    • Move beyond the over-individualistic approach to sustainability that is largely inaccessible for many, by meeting people where they are and widening the range of ways people can get involved. 
    • Seek to better understand and remove the barriers facing different people from getting involved in sustainability.  
  • What should an online open-access sustainability-focused Keats module at King’s look like? 
    • Make this module part of King’s Experience Awards or offer credit so that the module adds value to students’ educational experience. 
    • Create an interactive module with optional levels of engagement. 
    • Ensure the module includes relevant topics for students across faculties – why should students be interested? 
  • How can King’s Sustainability improve its communications to engage more students? 
    • Better communicate what King’s is already doing and achieving. 
    • Connect to students by relating sustainability to their area of study and creating easy-to-digest and engaging content. 
    • Invite students and staff to share their sustainability stories. 
    • Run campaigns, competitions and giveaways to incentivize more students to engage with sustainability. 
  • How can King’s encourage students to have more conversations about sustainability?
    • Create an environmental series of Campus Conversations, a podcast or a seminar series, open to all and covering a range of topics within sustainability. 
    • Host community get-togethers for discussion and debate around specific topics – “Sustainability Socials. 
    • Collaborate with societies and other parts of King’s to embed sustainability in campaigns and initiatives. 

Do you have any thoughts, ideas or solutions about how to tackle these challenges? Let us know! 

 

CLIMATE ACTION PANEL 

On the 26th of February, we hosted the King’s Climate Education Panel. Climate Education has been a popular topic at King’s for a while – the KCL Climate Action Society has been running an education campaign, the King’s 100 discussed it last year, and the Climate Action Network has dedicated the Students & Education sub-group to the issue.   

This panel was a chance to hear from the experts. Our panel was made up of Professor Adam Fagan, Professor of European Politics and Vice-Dean (Education) in SSPP, Dr Kate Greer, Research Associate in the School of Education, Communication and Society, Sigrið Leivsdottir, President of KCL Climate Action Society and Taimi Vilkko, Vice-President and Treasurer of the KCL Climate Action Society.   

We covered a range of interesting issues during the session: the need to go beyond teaching just knowledge about climate change and instead also teach how to take action and live with climate change, supporting staff if they are asked to embed climate into their programmes, and that we may not need everyone to be on board just yet as long as we have a group of dedicated leaders and followers. There were also a few ideas on actions King’s can take right now, such as reaffirming our commitments to climate change, and even influencing higher education policy on climate teaching as we move towards hosting COP26 in the UK later this year.   

The Students & Education group of the King’s Climate Action Network is excited to potentially take some of these suggestions forward and propose them for the King’s Climate Action Strategy.

 

Recordings of the events can now be found on our Kaltura.  

If you’d like to stay in touch, sign up for our monthly newsletter and follow us on InstagramFacebook or Twitter. 

Sustainability Month 2021 – Round-Up #1

This blog is the first in a series of four posts on Sustainability Month 2021. 

This year, our annual Sustainability Week became Sustainability Month. This month presented an opportunity to come together as a community, to collaborate and to build a more progressive and positive future at King’s and beyond. 

Focusing on how to ‘#MakeADifference’ and ‘#TakeAction, a range of events were organised by the King’s Sustainability Team in collaboration with students, societies, charities and staff Sustainability Champions.  

Although the format of the events was a little different due to being hosted online, we had the pleasure of welcoming a total of 898 people – new and returning – to take part in the exciting range of eventsWe hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! 

Here’s a summary of some of the events we had throughout the month, along with ways you can #MakeADifference and #TakeAction 

 

SUSTAINABILITY AT KING’S 101 

How is King’s tackling climate change and embedding sustainability throughout its operations? 

King’s is working on a range of sustainability goals – from enhancing biodiversity and reducing our carbon footprint to supporting sustainable transport and embedding sustainability in teaching and research.  

Key achievements include:  

  • Reduced our scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 54% compared to our 2005/06 baseline, exceeding our previous target to reduce emissions by 43% by 2020.  
  • Improved waste recycling rates to 70%. 
  • 70 Sustainability Champions teams submitted work to make their department more sustainable (from Social Mobility Student Success, Cardiology Labs, Geography, Dickson Poon School of Law, to the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine). 
  • Established the King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) – an open, interdisciplinary forum for students, staff and alumni with 7 sub-groups working towards a strategy to achieve our netzero carbon target by 2025.  
  • King’s was awarded 9th in the world for Social Impact in the THE Rankings.  
  • King’s has now fully divested from fossil fuels ahead of target (target was set at 2022). 
  • All electricity from King’s is renewable (from wind power).

Scope 1 and 2 Carbon Emissions at King’s

Take a look at the 2018-2019 Environmental Sustainability Report to find out more about our achievements and goals. 

There are lots of ways for you to get involved, from joining King’s CAN or your department’s Sustainability Champions team, to writing a piece for our blog or volunteering as a Sustainability Auditor (we’ll share more information about this opportunity in April).  

 

GIKI ZERO: CUT A TONNE IN ‘21 

Have you ever wondered what your impact on the earth is and how you can cut your carbon footprint? 

At this event, we had the pleasure of welcoming Jo Hand, creator of Giki Apps. Giki – which stands for “Get Informed, Know your Impact” – have developed two wonderful tools to help individuals, like you and me, to reduce their carbon footprint.  

Firstly, Giki Zero allows you to calculate your carbon footprint by measuring your everyday actions and consumption. You are then presented with accessible and doable action items – from talking about climate change with your friends and contacting your local MP to buying secondhand clothing and eating seasonal fruit and veggies – so you can cut a tonne in ’21! 

The second tool is an app, Giki, that allows consumers to assess the environmental impact of a product simply by scanning its barcode. Products are assessed against 13 indicators and awarded badges based on how well they perform, helping you to navigate the overwhelming and confusing world of sustainable consumption. 

We invite you to calculate your carbon footprint and commit to 2 or 3 actions over the next month! 

 

Recordings of the events can now be found on our Kaltura.  

If you’d like to stay in touch, sign up for our monthly newsletter and follow us on InstagramFacebook or Twitter. 

Sustainability Month – February 2021

King’s Sustainability Month (February 2021)

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What is energy?

This guest blog comes from Rebecca Lindsay, BA Philosophy and Spanish student and Sustainability Champion Assistants (SCA), supporting the King’s Energy Team.

The world of energy often feels like a world of jargon. Emissions, baselines, decarbonisation – what does it all actually mean?

In the most basic terms, energy is “the ability to do work.” So when we talk about energy, we’re talking about electricity, gas, diesel and other types of power. King’s energy is also responsible for managing King’s water usage.

When reducing your carbon emissions, it’s important to consider energy efficiency. Essentially, the more efficient an appliance is, the less energy it uses to do the same amount of work. Energy = Power x Time. Some quick GCSE physics revision for you there!

But higher energy usage doesn’t always mean less efficient. It’s also important to change where we get our energy from – to decarbonise. Decarbonisation, simply put, aims to reduce our economy’s reliance on carbon and fossil fuels. Solar, wind and hydropower are all examples of renewable alternatives.

There are lots of benefits to switching to renewable energy sources – not just for your bank account! Here are just a few:

  • It creates more jobs.
  • It diversifies energy sources, meaning less importing and a stronger economy.
  • It’s cheaper! Carbon is a finite resource and increasingly expensive, whereas renewable energy is more widely available.
  • Most importantly, it reduces our impact on the planet and helps slow global warming.

Long story short: save money, save the planet.

How to we use energy at King’s?

As a research-heavy university, we use a lot of energy. So it’s up to us to be responsible with where we get it from.

Our shift to renewables is well under way. Since October 2017, all electricity directly purchased by King’s has come from 100% UK wind energy.

Both Great Dover Street Apartments and Champion Hill, two of King’s residences, have solar panels. Not only saving money, but also reducing our impact on the planet.

In Autumn 2019, King’s was one of 20 universities to sign a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with onshore wind farms in Scotland and Wales, the first deal of its kind in the country!

Universities also make lots of investments, often in fossil fuels. King’s, however, has committed to divest from all fossil fuels by the end of 2022, and to invest 40% of its funds in investments with socially responsible benefits by 2025.

We’re also developing a Climate Action Strategy alongside the King’s Climate Action Network to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2025.

As you can see, there’s lots to be done. With target deadlines fast approaching, the emphasis on clean energy has never been greater. It’s a great time to get involved! For information on how to support us, email us over at energy@kcl.ac.uk.

Energy at King’s

This guest blog comes from Mason Cole, MA Politics and Contemporary History student and Rebecca Lindsay, BA Philosophy and Spanish student, who are both volunteering as Sustainability Champion Assistants (SCA’s), supporting the King’s Energy Team.

Introduction to King’s Energy

Welcome to King’s Energy Department! We’re excited to be working alongside the Sustainability Team to make King’s a more environmentally-friendly place. We have so many projects in the works – and much more to come – so keep your eyes peeled for updates.

Who are we?

Julie Allen is King’s Energy Manager. She manages the utilities budgets and contracts, and leads on delivering, updating and monitoring the University’s Carbon Management Plan. Julie’s been here since 2019, and previously worked as the energy manager at Nando’s. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a Nando’s Black Card (yet).

Angeliki Karydi is the Energy Management Coordinator at King’s. She joined in December 2019 after completing her MA in Corporate Sustainability in Radboud University. She supports Julie as part of the energy team and is responsible for energy data analysis and reporting.

My name is Mason and I’m an MA Politics and Contemporary History student at King’s. I want my time here to be progressive and that’s why I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to be a Sustainability Champion Assistant (SCA) and help King’s to achieve its energy goals.

I am Rebecca, I’m a 2nd year student here at King’s and I study BA Philosophy and Spanish. I’m very passionate about combating the climate crisis, so I’m very excited to join the energy team as an SCA this semester.

What do we do?

It’s really important to us that King’s students are aware of the steps we’re taking to reach our carbon goals, as well as how they can make changes in their own lives to reduce their carbon footprint.

Rest assured we’re leading by example. Here are some of our recent achievements:

  • 100% of directly purchased electricity at King’s comes from renewable sources.
  • King’s surpassed the Higher Education Funding Council target of reducing emissions by 43% by 2020, instead reaching a 49% reduction.
  • We’ve been awarded £1.8 million by The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to further fund efficient energy.
  • In 2019, the King’s Energy Cooperative won the KCLSU Environmental Impact Award for engaging students with sustainability and energy.
  • King’s aims to be net-zero carbon by 2025.

And much, much more. Over the coming weeks we’ll be posting lots of information on our various projects, and ways in which you can positively impact the planet.

How can I get involved?

We’d love to hear from you! Please email us at energy@kcl.ac.uk with suggestions or inquiries. Otherwise, be sure to subscribe to the King’s sustainability newsletter and follow them on Instagram – that’s where we’ll be!

COVID & the environment

This blog comes from Nicola Hogan, Sustainability Manager at King’s.

In all likelihood, the majority of people across the globehappily waved goodbye to 2020.  

It was the start of a new decade that filled us with excitement and anticipation as we, yet again, committed to a series of new year’s resolutions that would result in better versions of ourselves. 

We could never have anticipated that within 3 months we’d have succumbed to a global pandemic. Akin to a sci-fi storylinethe Covid-19 pandemic ended up being responsible for the deaths of over 2 million people worldwide. The spread of the virus was reported hourly across various news channels with updates from world leaders on their decisions as to how best to mitigate its spread. Face masks were mandatory inside of public spaces and people were asked to stay at home, only travelling if absolutely necessary. Social distancing became the norm.  

When it was reported that the source of this pandemic likely originated from the wet markets of China, exposing the capture and export of exotic animals for human consumption, we were horrified. Seeing animals that have no place in western society, let alone as a food source, being taken from their habitats, our commitment to stop the trafficking of exotic animals and the destruction of their ecosystems seemed to galvanise. Images of caged pangolins and bats made us more aware of the urgency of protecting exotic wildlife and of their natural habitats. 

But was this enough to make us boycott these industries? Did the cause of the pandemic make us think about what and how we are consuming

Not being able to shop on the high street simply made us switch to shopping online. Amazon and eBay  reported an increase of sales by an average of 33 % since March 2020 – as everything from face masks to hand sanitiser was sold by the billions. But it wasn’t just COVID related products that were being bought online. Wcompensated and comforted ourselves during these strange times by purchasing non-essential everyday items too. 

Bath salts and board games topped the list as did puzzles and Nintendo switches as we entertain ourselves while also indulging in much needed self-care – but are we conveniently forgetting to care for the planet at the same time? 

year later there is light at the end of the tunnel. A vaccine has been found and its rollout across the world has started 

So what will life, post pandemic, look like? Are we likely to revert to our prelockdown consumer habits as the message from mother nature is forgotten? Or will we, after having been forced into new ways of livingno longer take for granted our basic freedoms? 

Zoom meetings have replaced travelling for work but experts in the travel and hospitality industry have predicted that more personal trips will be taken in 2021/22 to make up for the cancelled holidays of 2020. 

It is at this pointthe first month of a new year that we should ask ourselves the following questions. 

(iHow did we get to this point in the first place and (ii) how do we make sure never return to it? 

(iii) What promises to live more sustainably did we make at the start of the lockdown and did we      
       keep them?   

(iv) Are our 2021 resolutions pandemic inspired or will it all depend on what the year brings? 

It is reported that the yearlong lockdown made us more reflective of our lives and what is important to us. For most people that came back to spending quality time with loved ones and asking ourselves what do we really want from our life’? For me, a fairer and more ethical world should be part of that ‘want’ – a planet whose climate isn’t changing because its being choked by CO2or who can no longer support its sea-life because it’s filled with pollutants. 

2020 will hopefully serve as a reminder for generations to come of what can happen when excessive pilfering of the natural environment is allowed to continue unchecked. Sustainability is a daily commitment to ourselves firstly and then to the planet. It’s a resolution worth keeping and a mindset worth nurturing.

References:

https://amp-theguardian-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/25/coronavirus-nature-is-sending-us-a-message-says-un-environment-chief 

https://www.earthday.org/6-lessons-coronavirus-can-teach-us-about-climate-change/ 

https://www.edie.net/news/7/In-charts–How-coronvirus-has-impacted-sustainability-professionals/ 

https://time.com/5808809/coronavirus-climate-action/ 

Apply to become a Sustainability Champion Assistant!

Want to gain skills to help you start a career in sustainability? This is your chance to help make a difference here at King’s.

Join staff and students in the Sustainability Champion scheme aimed at celebrating and recognising environmental achievements whilst also providing a framework to improve the environmental performance of King’s College London. The scheme is part of Green Impact, an environmental awards programme run by the National Union of Students. Last year King’s College London had 70 teams participate and this year would like the programme to be bigger than ever!

Objectives of a Sustainability Champion Assistant:

Support and motivate a staff Sustainability Champion team by helping to implement and improve sustainability initiatives in their department or faculty. Staff teams seeking student support this year include: King’s Food, Energy, Procurement, International Development, Dickson Poon School of Law.

Key skills gained for students:

  • Experience of working on a national project in a professional environment
  • Knowledge of environmental management techniques of offices and academic institutions
  • Insight into effective behaviour change methods
  • Experience of communicating using a variety of different means
  • Ability to support and encourage others to perform
  • Events management skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Time management
  • Project management

Apply

Please find the full role description on the KCLSU here.  

Please fill out the application form. You are also welcome to send your CV to alexandra.m.hepple@kcl.ac.uk.

The deadline for applications is midnight on the 4 December 2020.

Environmental Management Systems (EMS) at King’s

King’s Environmental Management System (EMS): ISO14001.

In April 2020, King’s was successfully re-accredited with the Environmental Management System (EMS) ISO14001. If you’re wondering what that is exactly, it’s an internationally recognised accreditation scheme that acknowledges how efficiently and sustainably an organisation is managed.

The organisation in this instance is King’s College London and the efficient and sustainable management is managed by the Sustainability Team with actions carried out by the wider Estates and Facilities team.

The EMS works on the principal of ‘taking concerted action for continual improvement’ – so similar to making improvements with anything in life – King’s will gather baseline data of its operations, identify where improvements can be made and then take action to continually improve those operations.

Evidence of good environmental performance is documented for both hard services (maintenance of electrics, plumbing, HVAC, etc) and soft services (cleaning, catering, security etc). The EMS also looks at existing operational procedures, ensuring actions are carried out safely and efficiently, thereby avoiding any negative environmental impacts. Examples include the correct procedure for composting of cut grass and tree trimmings from the sports fields, a procedure for storing fuels (oils, diesel and petrol) and for monitoring their use and the storage and use of chemicals etc.

An EMS also looks at how we communicate with stakeholders, examines our plans and policies for leadership, planning, staff training and ensures King’s are at all times legally compliant with environmental legislation.

If you’re wondering how you can support King’s ongoing ISO14001 accreditation, becoming a Sustainability Champion is a great start! Being an active Sustainability Champion who contributes to existing sustainability projects will ensure the College is continually improving. The engagement hours of staff and student activities are reported in a bi-annual EMS review meeting, and quiet often, Sustainability Champion projects overlap with operational activities for clean air, carbon and energy reduction and community engagement. This is an ideal opportunity for student sustainability champions to get some ‘real world experience’ which of course can be added to their C.V.

Outside of being a Sustainability Champion, the most effective way of supporting King’s EMS is simply for individuals to live more sustainably. Every individual act of sustainability on campus has a direct impact on operations – particularly those associated with energy and waste. As energy consumption and waste remain the College’s top environmental negative aspects, all efforts made to reduce both will help King’s reach our target of being Net Zero Carbon by 2025.

Below are tips on how to live more sustainably.

  1. Become a Sustainability Champion.
  2. Reduce your intake of meat consumption – consider having it only once a week. Even better consider going vegan.
  3. Walk, Cycle safety where possible and of course, weather permitting.
  4. Dress for the weather; wear warmer layers during winter and cooler clothing during the summer.
  5. Switch off electrical devices when not in use and plug out chargers when not charging a device.
  6. Dispose of waste in the correct bin – either the food bin, recycling bin or general waste.
  7. Use reusable coffee cups when ordering coffee to go – it’s cheaper too and perfectly safe!
  8. Grow a plant(s) in your room /office/home.
  9. Join any of the various King’s sustainable societies – plenty of sustainability actions can be done online and outdoors obeying the ‘space and face rules’
  10. Shop sustainably – either from a charity shop or from an accredited ethical and sustainable company. Preferably a local one too.

 

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