Category: Sustainability Champions (Page 1 of 8)

Get ready for another year of sustainability action at King’s 

Group picture at the London Student Sustainability Conference with participants holding up SDG signsAre you interested in all things sustainable and making a positive impact whilst at King’s? The Sustainability team have a range of volunteering opportunities, events, and other ways to learn more about climate and sustainability.

Enrol on the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module, volunteer in the Climate Action Network or Sustainability Champions programme, join a committee to make your residence more sustainable, or attend one of the many events throughout the year. Find out more and pick your project below! 

KEATS Sustainability Module, Seminar Series, and Take Action Team
The online module on Sustainability & Climate is an open-access and interdisciplinary module covering the biggest topics in sustainability from climate change and food to sustainable finance and social justice. It has been fully co-created by a Take Action Team which currently includes about 50 students, staff, and alumni members. It has been complemented by a Sustainability Seminar Series and other events to build a sense of community and support participants in developing transferable skills. The module and seminar series are relaunching in October 2022. Register here. 

King’s Climate Action Network
The King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) is an open, interdisciplinary forum bringing together people from the King’s community who are passionate about climate action. It was created in October 2020 to co-create the university’s approach to climate action and now has more than 300 members. It focuses on solutions to reduce our carbon emissions while maximising our positive impact on climate action, through 7 themes: Zero Carbon Estate, Procurement and Waste, Travel, Responsible Investment, Students & Education, Community & Engagement, and Zero Carbon Research. Join the King’s CAN 

One of the current CAN projects is the climate listening campaign in our local communities which aims to hear first-hand about the climate and sustainability challenges they face and to identify how King’s students and staff can work with them. Get involved. 

Sustainability Champions
The university’s Sustainability Champions are staff who work on campus and in our residences to make King’s a more sustainable working environment; reducing the negative and maximising the positive social and environmental impacts. Throughout the year, Sustainability Champions work on implementing projects and actions and working toward gaining a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. Find out more. 

Sustainability Month
King’s Sustainability Month takes place every year in February. This month is a collaboration between King’s and KCLSU that offers all those involved an opportunity to learn more about sustainability topics, collaborate and connect with others from across King’s and #TakeAction on the climate crisis. The month includes exciting events organised by people from across the King’s community focused on one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Check out Sustainability Month 2022 

King’s Community Garden
Did you know King’s has a Community Garden on campus? Email kingscommunitygarden@kcl.ac.uk if you would like to contribute to this garden or get more information. Check out how to find King’s Wolfson Card Courtyard Community Garden here.

Podcast
The King’s Spotlight on Sustainability 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’sand on a local, national and global level. Start listening here. 

Sustainable Residences
Students living in King’s Residences can participate in the Sustainable Living Community buddy scheme and join the Sustainable Living Communities Facebook group. 

 

If you want to set up your own sustainability project with friends, a society, or individually, you can also get in touch with the team for support. Any ideas, feedback, things to promote, are always welcome: sustainability@kcl.ac.uk. 

All of those who make a significant contribution to sustainability at King’s will be recognised through the Sustainability Awards and/or the King’s Experience Champion for Change Awards.

Expand your positive impact to local communities by signing up to volunteer with King’s Volunteering.  

Make a difference during your time at King’s! Group photo of Sustainability Award attendees and Senior Leaders.

Sustainability Awards 2022 

This blog post was written by Lavinia Allen, King’s Sustainability Projects Assistant. You can read the news story on King’s central pages here. 


On Monday 18th July 2022, students and staff came together at the King’s Sustainability Awards to celebrate the efforts and achievements of everyone who has worked tirelessly this year to make King’s a more sustainable place.  

The ceremony took place in the Great Hall on Strand Campus. This was the first in-person awards ceremony since 2019, making it extra special. During the core of the ceremony, we celebrated the hard work of the 500+ staff Sustainability Champions who completed 2,800 actions on sustainability this year. 

Group photo of Sustainability Award attendees and Senior Leaders.

Group photo of Sustainability Award attendees and Senior Leaders.

61 Sustainability Champions teams were awarded: 

  • 1 Working Towards Sustainability Dozen 
  • 13 Sustainability Dozen 
  • 7 Bronze 
  • 1 Working Towards Silver 
  • 5 Silver 
  • 34 Gold 

Office and Residence Teams: 

Sustainability Dozen  Bronze  Silver  Gold 
Clinical Pharmacology  James Black Centre Offices  Arts & Humanities Cluster Offices (Working Towards)  Entrepreneurship Institute 
Deans Office  Research Management and Innovation Directorate  Vascular Biology & Inflammation  Estates and Facilities, Lavington Street 
Denmark Hill Estates and Facilities      Geography 
Global Mobility Office (Working Towards)  Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience 
Guys & Waterloo Chaplaincies  King’s Sport 
International Development  School of Global Affairs 
King’s Online/KPED  Service Centre 
Libraries & Collections, Franklin-Wilkins Library  Social Mobility & Widening Participation 
Libraries & Collections, IoPPN Library  Strand Estates and Facilities 
Libraries & Collections, Maughan Library  The Dickson Poon School of Law 
Libraries & Collections, New Hunts’ House Library  Wolfson House Residence 
Libraries & Collections, St Thomas’ House Library   
Libraries & Collections, Weston Education Centre Library 

 

Lab Teams: 

Bronze  Silver  Gold 
Biological Services  Centre for Developmental Neurobiology  Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences – DNA analysis 
Centre for Inflammation Biology and Cancer Immunology  Engineering  Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences – Drug Control Centre 
Division of Women & Children’s Health (Hodgkin)  Institute of Hepatology  Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences – Genetic and Environmental Toxicology 
Human & Applied Physiological Sciences    Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences – King’s Forensics 
Physics Research Labs (Nanophotonics Suite)  Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences – Lab 4.134 
Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics  Basic and Clinical Neuroscience 
  Cardiovascular Research 
Centre for Gene Therapy & Regenerative Medicine 
Chemistry Research 
Chemistry Teaching 
Diabetes Research Group 
Dissecting Room 
Division of Women & Children’s Health (St Thomas’) 
Geography 
Guy’s Multi Disciplinary Labs 
Innovation Hub, Guy’s Cancer Centre 
James Black Centre: Cardiovascular Sciences 
Nutrition Sciences 
School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences 
SGDP Centre, Molecular Genetics Lab 
Twin Research (The Rayne Institute) 
Vascular Biology & Inflammation 
Wolfson Centre for Age-related Diseases 
Director of Sustainability, Kat Thorne, hosting the awards ceremony.

Director of Sustainability, Kat Thorne, hosting the awards ceremony.

We also had a Special Awards category where we recognised and celebrated the hard work of individuals and groups who took part in sustainability initiatives, projects, and programmes this year. 

Members of staff in this category included: 

  • Dola Akanmu 
  • Glyn Jones 
  • Kautuk Chaddha 
  • IoPPN offices 

Other wider groups: 

  • 84 students who completed the KEATS Sustainability & Climate Module (between March-June) 
  • 6 students who took part in the Sustainable Development Goal Curriculum Mapping project 
  • 6 students and staff from the King’s Climate Action Network  
  • 5 students and alumni who co-hosted and co-produced the Spotlight on Sustainability Podcast 
  • School of Global Affairs communications team 
  • Damely Akizhanova for their work on the Sustainability Residence Committees
  • The King’s Procurement Team  
A variety of celebratory cakes

A variety of celebratory cakes.

THANK YOU! 

A massive thank you to everyone who has contributed to our successes at King’s this year. The combined efforts of everyone involved have a significant impact and aid in achieving our university sustainability goals. 

Achievements this year include: 

  • King’s has reduced its carbon emissions by more than half (51%) since 2005/06 baseline 
  • King’s has divested from all fossil fuels – one year ahead of schedule 
  • King’s ranked in top 5 UK universities for environmental & social impact in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, as well as second in the UK in the People & Planet League table this year. 
  • 500+ people taking part in the Sustainability Champions programme and 350+ members of the Climate Action Network (CAN)  
  • Between September 2021 and July 2022, over 1,400 attendees came together across 87 events and training opportunities ran by the King’s Sustainability Team 
  • The development of the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module, which had over 600 students and staff enrol and over 180 complete the full module and receive sustainability awards  
  • Over 1000 modules mapped against the Sustainable Development Goals, carried out with the help of over 60 trained students and staff 
  • All King’s suppliers must now sign up to the Sustainability Supply Chain Code of Conduct. This is a huge step to reducing our carbon emissions, as our supply chain is the biggest source of carbon (scope 3)  
  • King’s Food & Venues choice menus are now 70% vegetation and vegan 
  • King’s has recently been awarded the highest rating of three stars by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) rating, as well as being re-accredited as a Fairtrade university.  

Join us! There are lots of projects and ways to get involved in sustainability at King’s: 

  • If you would like to find out more about becoming a Sustainability Champion, please register via this form and contact the Sustainability Team at sustainability@kcl.ac.uk. 
  • If you would like to join the Climate Action Network, register here.  
  • If you would like to enrol on the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module (to be re-launched in October ‘22), register here. If you would like to join the Take Action team of students and staff developing this module – please email sustainability@kcl.ac.uk 
  • If you are a student living in a hall of residence and would like to get involved in shaping the Sustainability Living Communities programme, get in touch. 
King’s Sustainability Team. From left to right: Rachel Harrington-Abrams, Emily Read, Tasnia Yasmin, Kat Thorne, Alexandra Hepple, Jone De Roode Jauregui, Lavinia Allen, Nicola Hogan.

King’s Sustainability Team. From left to right: Rachel Harrington-Abrams, Emily Read, Tasnia Yasmin, Kat Thorne, Alexandra Hepple, Jone De Roode Jauregui, Lavinia Allen, Nicola Hogan.

Student Auditors for Sustainability Champions

Last week, students from a variety of degree backgrounds volunteered as Student Sustainability Auditors. They received IEMA approved training on sustainability auditing, which they then used to audit teams of Sustainability Champions at King’s across two days. Find out more about the Sustainability Champions programme here.

We asked the students how they found the experience:

May be an image of 7 people, people standing and indoor

 

“Training was very helpful and well presented. Using this method to evaluate organizations in sustainability efforts will be beneficial in future interactions personally and professionally. A very insightful experience.”

“I have enjoyed this opportunity to learn more about what different departments are doing at King’s and how they are able to improve this. It was also good to be able to meet fellow students with a similar interest in the topic.”

“I really enjoyed the training and met interesting people. It was really exciting to look into all the meaningful work the sustainability team and the sustainability champions are doing.”

Community Garden week at King’s

It’s King’s Community Garden week!🌳

King’s Community Garden (Guy’s Campus) was setup by Oli Austen – Sustainability Champion and senior technical officer in the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine.

Oli set up the space as gardening is a great way to connect with nature (especially for city dwellers), and evidence for the positive impact of gardening is always growing. A report by the King’s Fund in 2016 found many health benefits of gardening, including significant reductions in depression and anxiety. The Royal Horticultural Society website also lists advantages such as improving cardiovascular health and promoting a healthy diet🌸

Since its creation the garden has been tended to by undergraduate and postgraduate students, professional services staff, academics, technicians and KCLSU staff🌱

You can get involved with the community garden in the future by emailing kingscommunitygarden@kcl.ac.uk.

Check out how to find King’s Wolfson Card Courtyard Community Garden here.

Why is there a lack of renewable energy use in the UK?

This guest blog comes courtesy of Marco Hacon, the Energy Team’s Sustainability Champion Assistant. 


I recently worked with the team behind King’s sustainability module on the section on energy. 

Side note: If you haven’t heard of it, where have you been? For those of you that haven’t seen it, it’s a great open-access resource that brings interdisciplinary knowledge from both students and staff. Don’t be put off if you don’t have any understanding of sustainability, the module aims to provide something for everyone. So, even if you have a strong knowledge base, it covers a lot of areas; you’re guaranteed to learn something new. Check it out here.

Anyway, as part of my research for it, I learned that in the UK (as of December 2020), renewable production generated 40.2% of total electricity produced in the UK; around 6% of total UK energy usage. This last number surprised me. The 2020s are supposed to be the decade of green action with the UK having a strategy in place for decarbonising all sectors of the economy to meet a net-zero target by 2050. So it made me wonder: why is there a lack of renewable energy use in the UK? Well, here’s what I found out:

First, the UK has a regressive approach to funding low-carbon transitions. The energy is currently being funded by levies on the energy bills of consumers. As it stands, 27.9% of energy bills go towards the construction and maintenance of energy infrastructure. Consequently, those who spend more on energy bills relative to their income contribute more to the low-carbon transition. Let me be clear, as I’ve expressed in another blog post, this has not caused the current energy price crisis. But, as prices rise with the increased cost of living, if these bills cannot be met, the transition will be held up. There’s nothing just about that. 

As a result, the UK sector doesn’t receive enough support to produce and manage energy. According to data from the Office of National Statistics released on the week of the 14th of February, the UK’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy has failed to grow since 2014. In the same period, employment in areas such as manufacturing low-carbon technology, energy supply and construction has actually dropped by 28,000 and is currently roughly 207,800. Particularly concerning is that areas such as onshore wind and solar energy, which are essential components of a low-carbon energy mix, have been hit the hardest. It would be easy to place blame at the door of Coronavirus, but it looks like businesses in these areas were struggling in 2019. Even in relation to offshore wind, the UK’s flagship renewable source, energy production isn’t as high as might be hoped. Despite historically high energy output from wind farms in Scotland, the UK generates less than its counterparts in Europe.

Another reason that the UK is struggling to increase renewable energy’s contribution is storage. With much renewable energy being reliant on weather conditions, inter-seasonal storage remains a core challenge for the industry (and not just the UK). As such, there needs to be a lot of investment in energy storage. Lithium-ion batteries are expected to dominate the storage boom. On this front, the UK has started to invest. It has been recently announced that one of Europe’s largest battery storage facilities is set to be built in Scotland and is due to be operational in 2024. The Green Battery Complex will comprise two 400 MW facilities, each providing 800 MWhrs of energy storage capacity. However, capacity is measured in hours instead of days or weeks. As a result, looking forward, the UK would be wise to invest in other energy technologies such as green hydrogen, ‘gravity’ storage, and ‘cryogenic’ batteries.

In terms of other things the UK must consider when looking to the future, it must place localism at its heart, promoting community energy developments and supporting households. This is both in terms of reducing energy waste such as insulation as well as initiatives like solar panels that reduce the need for grid-supplied energy. 

Correction from previous blog post.

In a blog post from 2021, titled “King’s Energy: The Noor Ouarzazate Solar Complex”, the author outlined that it would take 116.5 Noor’s to supply the world with renewable energy based on 2019 demand. The actual number is 116.

Thank you to Assoc. Prof. Johan Montelius from Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) for identifying this and bringing it to our attention.


Photo of Marco HaconMarco Hacon is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Environment, Politics and Development here at King’s. Before this, he worked in a few start-ups and scale-up companies with social purposes, where he gained a basic understanding of sustainability. He is a strong believer in a just and equitable clean energy transition. He is excited to write about this as well as more King’s-related energy topics for the team’s blog. He also wants to help develop toolbox talks for King’s staff and teams that centre on how to use energy sustainably.

Should the war in Ukraine mean the end of gas?

This guest blog comes courtesy of Marco Hacon, the Energy Team’s Sustainability Champion Assistant. 


On the 24th of February, Russian troops initiated a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. This attack has led to widespread condemnation of Putin and his crony regime. It has already caused huge amounts of deaths – much of which has been civilian – displacement and destruction of property.

In response, increasing numbers of sanctions have rightly been placed on Russia to try to undermine its war efforts. These have included excluding some banks from the SWIFT payment system and the seizing of oligarchs’ assets, such as massive yachts. One surprise reaction to Russia’s declaration of war was the decision by the new German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, to halt the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. For those of you that want to impress your friends with knowledge about Nord Stream 2, it is an $11billion undersea pipeline that would allow for the direct transportation of Natural Gas from Russia to Northern Germany. While the pipeline itself had been completed, it was not active. 

It was a surprising move as Scholz had avoided saying that this was likely until the decision was announced. Yet, while it is commendable and welcome, it isn’t an end to Russian gas imports. Indeed, the activation of the pipeline has not been ruled out, it is just suspended for now. In the meantime, the EU and the UK continue to send millions of pounds a day for natural gas, which is being used to fund the invasion of Ukraine.

The war has exposed the unfortunate position that Europe finds itself in; it is dependent on Russia for the natural resources, oil and gas, that keep the lights and heating on. Now the price of these natural resources is not just the environmental damage they cause and the increased cost of living they are fuelling (as if these weren’t bad enough); they are also funding a literal war in Europe.  

There have been calls that the right response is to resume fracking with “vigour”. What a benefit of Brexit that would be; increased risk of earthquakes and flammable water! Instead, now, more than ever feels like the right time to urgently move away from these sources of energy. What’s the alternative? Well, renewable energy. Of course! It’s encouraging to see that Germany has already started down this path. Shortly after announcing the halt to Nord Stream 2, Germany outlined that it is bringing its target of 100% energy from renewable sources forward by 15 years (from 2050 to 2035). This is possibly a challenging commitment considering that it is already set to exit nuclear power in 2022 and coal-fired power by 2030. But, it is also essential for the environment, Germany’s economy and national security.

Other countries would be wise to follow suit. Here in Britain, we are set to import more than £2bn worth of Russian liquified natural gas imports this year, despite the best efforts of dockers from Kent. The recent order to ban ‘all ships with any Russian connection whatsoever’ doesn’t cover the origin of the cargo, including fossil fuels that may have been sourced from Russia. This approach must change. In dropping Russian oil and gas, the UK government must look at renewable energy sources to replace them. It can follow the example set by the Netherlands which was able to cut gas demand by 22% in two years with renewables. At the same time, the UK must roll out measures to insulate homes, install heat pumps and reduce the cost of renewable energy.


Photo of Marco HaconMarco Hacon is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Environment, Politics and Development here at King’s. Before this, he worked in a few start-ups and scale-up companies with social purposes, where he gained a basic understanding of sustainability. He is a strong believer in a just and equitable clean energy transition. He is excited to write about this as well as more King’s-related energy topics for the team’s blog. He also wants to help develop toolbox talks for King’s staff and teams that centre on how to use energy sustainably.

A welcome from Lavinia Allen, King’s Sustainability Project Assistant

Hello everyone!

I have recently joined the Sustainability Team as a Sustainability Projects Assistant. In this role, I work closely with the Sustainability Officer as well as students and staff from across King’s to deliver the university’s sustainability objectives. I am responsible for raising awareness and understanding of sustainability throughout the university through staff and student engagement. I mainly do this through supporting the Sustainability Champions network, which is designed to highlight that staff can contribute to sustainability, regardless of their background. This network now has over 500 members!

My journey at King’s began in 2017 when I joined to study BSc Geography. This three-year course covered a range of topics from Biogeography and Ecology to Natural Hazards and Climatic Variability. During this time, I was lucky enough to undergo fieldwork in Spain during my first year, and Morocco during my second year.

Studying Geography confirmed my love for learning about and tackling environmental issues, more specifically climate change. As such, I then went on to study MSc Climate Change: Environment, Science and Policy at King’s for one year. Although this course was fully online due to Covid, I thoroughly enjoyed the year. In my favourite module, the Fundamentals of Climate Change, I learnt about the negative emission technologies required for us to reach our carbon targets. During my master’s degree, I also undertook an internship with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL London Zoo), where I researched the impacts of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and the most suitable ways to sustainably manage the ecosystem.

The past four years of studying added to my passion for tackling environmental issues. To that end, I am excited to continue my journey with King’s as a member of the Sustainability Team!

Why should you become a Sustainability Champion Assistant?

This guest blog comes from Mason Cole, MA Politics and Contemporary History student and Sustainability Champion Assistant, supporting the King’s Energy Team.

With a new academic year approaching, you may be thinking about how you can get involved in sustainability at King’s. While many students come to university eagerly anticipating joining societies, less think about volunteering. I’ll be honest, I was one of them. When I became a Sustainability Champion Assistant (SCA), I had little idea of what it would entail. But here I am to explain why you should become an SCA for King’s Energy.

Clock volunteering hours

Did you know that at KCL you can log your volunteering hours on an online portal for an award? You could receive a bronze, silver or gold award for your efforts which is not only a personal pat on the back but would also be viewed favourably when included on your CV. It should be noted that you can mix-and-match volunteering experiences so you won’t only be reliant on King’s Energy, but over an academic year, you can easily attain a Gold award just through being a Sustainability Champion.

Learn new things

I’ll be honest, when I was allocated to King’s Energy, I whipped out the old CGP GCSE Physics revision guide to refresh my knowledge. However, prepare to be surprised. You will work with experts in the field who have extensive experience working in their field. I’ve been working with the Energy Team for 6 months, and I feel like a bonafide expert already, so you’ll be surprised how quickly and easily you will pick up information. Another thing that may surprise you is just how versatile the topic of energy is and how it links with so many different things around us.

Gain experience doing something you love

No, I don’t mean energy. We don’t expect you to love energy (although you may just fall in love with it along the way), but you likely have a skill that we are looking for. For me, that skill is writing. I love writing but it is so difficult to gain experience in a low-pressure environment. Enter King’s Energy. Whether your skill is writing, social media marketing or team management, there is a role for you here.

Make a positive impact

How could I ignore this one? As I mentioned, energy is all-encompassing, and it’s becoming an increasingly important issue in the modern world. Not only will being an SCA enable you to learn more about this crucial matter, but you will also be raising awareness and spreading that knowledge in an impartial, non-political way. In other words, you will play a vital role in the education of climate issues and, in doing so, help protect the future of our planet.

There you have it – my top four reasons to become an SCA!

The Sustainability Champions Assistant programme is an opportunity open to all King’s students to help the King’s Sustainability Team deliver the Staff Sustainability Champions programme. Find out more here

Mason’s experience working with King’s Energy

This guest blog comes from Mason Cole, MA Politics and Contemporary History student and Sustainability Champion Assistant (SCA), supporting the King’s Energy Team.

Those of you who are regular readers of our weekly blog posts may notice the same name every week next to the title – that’s me. You may be questioning what I actually do, why I volunteer for King’s Energy and how I keep churning out these posts – or not. But I will tell you anyway.

To be completely honest, I didn’t sign up to volunteer as a sustainability champion because I was particularly passionate about being an ecowarrior. In fact, I didn’t even sign up at all. My girlfriend signed me up because she felt some volunteering experience would look good on my CV. I must confess, I wasn’t pleased. I interpreted that I would be collecting rubbish in my already limited spare time. When I was assigned to King’s Energy, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. To give you some background info, I studied History as my BA and Politics and Contemporary History as my MA – nothing “sciency” and very little to do with energy.

But I attended the first meeting with the team, consisting of two permanent members plus whichever sustainability champions have been coerced into joining. When I started, there were two of us. Neither of us knew a thing about energy. You would think it is quite over-awing being dropped in a call with two people who work and have extensive experience in the field, but they’re completely normal people who are relaxed and accommodating, creating a laid-back, low-pressure environment. Additionally, they had no initial expectations of us. Instead, they allowed us to establish what roles we wanted to take on – enabling us to play to our strengths. Finally, the role did not involve hours of scouring the beach for litter. Instead, I spent an hour a week partaking in our virtual team meetings and around the same time researching and writing blog posts.

When it comes to this part of the role, you agree as a team what the post will be about, but the content and how you write it is entirely up to you. There is also the opportunity to create graphics for social media, but if you were to see some of my attempts, you would understand why I stuck to writing. In terms of researching and writing posts, as I mentioned, it is not terribly time-consuming, and it is actually interesting. Energy is not just about telling people to turn the lights off; it covers how it is generated, the impacts of this and educates you on how energy affects your life. It is a topic of huge importance, and quite simply, there is no better place to educate yourself on this than working with King’s Energy.

Six months on from being forcibly signed up, I am here advocating the role. As my girlfriend initially suggested, it will take pride of place on my CV, but it has been so much more than that. I have gained valuable writing experience and been exposed to a potential future career.

The Sustainability Champions Assistant programme is an opportunity open to all King’s students to help the King’s Sustainability Team deliver the Staff Sustainability Champions programme. Find out more here

King’s Energy: A guide to eco-friendly energy suppliers in the UK

This guest blog comes from Mason Cole, MA Politics and Contemporary History student and Sustainability Champion Assistant (SCA), supporting the King’s Energy Team.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can both switch to cheaper, fairer and more environmentally-friendly energy and support your community in doing so, check out the Citizens UK Fair Energy Campaign, as well as how student group King’s 4 Change is supporting the campaign at King’s

If you’ve kept up with our blog you will know we have devoted a lot of time to making switching energy providers as easy as possible for you. Of course, we would also prefer energy efficiency to be at the forefront of your mind when switching. As such, we’ve selected a few companies to review so you don’t have to!

How do I know if a company is eco-friendly?

Unfortunately, greenwashing is rife, so it can be difficult to make sure you’re not just falling for a marketing ploy when you think you’ve found the perfect company. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Carbon Offsetting – Many companies which call themselves “green” simply offset the carbon they produce, for example by planting trees. We have criticised this in the past but if done alongside other measures it can also be a positive.
  • Energy Source – Companies are obliged to tell you where their energy comes from. As much as possible, look for tariffs that offer renewable energy.
  • Tariff – As mentioned, the energy source often depends on the tariffs offered. Make sure to check these to see which best fit your needs in terms of usage, cost and of course, efficiency.
Octopus Energy

Octopus has a wide range of tariffs which can be confusing for those who haven’t read our blog! However, if you choose the “Super-Green” tariff then they will provide you with 100% renewable energy in addition to carbon offsetting. To help with costs they will also reward you and a friend with £50 when you switch.

Green Energy UK

Green Energy UK are the only UK energy company to offer 100% “Green” gas as well as 100% renewable energy so in that sense they are the best pick. However, they are on average 38% more expensive than other suppliers so get a quote before you make the decision to switch.

Outfox the Market

Outfox the Market is the cheapest supplier of renewable energy. They offer 100% renewable energy, from wind power, but because they are less established than their competitors they are also lower-rated by customers. Make sure to read reviews online before deciding in this case.

Bulb

One of the more-established eco-friendly energy companies in the UK, Bulb offer 100% renewable energy, from hydro, solar and wind power, as well as 100%  carbon neutral gas. They are also, on average, 17% cheaper than the “Big Six.”

Ecotricity

Ecotricity is the UK’s vegan energy supplier, offering 100% renewable energy. They are approved by the Vegan Society and support anti-fracking campaigns as well as Extinction Rebellion, so if you are passionate about helping environmental causes then they could be the right provider for you. However, they are relatively expensive so again make sure to get a quote before deciding.

So there you have it, these are the 5 we selected to look at this week. If you know of another environmentally-friendly supplier, let us know in the comments below!

As always, if you have any further questions or want to get involved with King’s Energy, get in touch!

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