Category: Sustainability Week

Sustainability Week 2020

Each year, we hold Sustainability Week to raise awareness and educate King’s staff and students about sustainability at King’s. Sustainability Week revolves around how to ‘#MakeADifference’. The Sustainability Team, alongside students, student societies, staff Sustainability Champions and charities, put on events with the aim to educate and inspire around various topics relating to sustainability (whether that be social, environmental or economic), give back to society and most of all – have fun!

We had a total of 522 people come to take part in the events throughout the week.

Here is a summary of some of the events we had throughout the week…

GEOGFEST

GeogFest’ was a charity event for King’s staff and students, organised by GeogSoc and the Geography Sustainability Champions to raise money for the International Tree Foundation.

The event took place in the KCLSU bar The Vault on Friday 7th February as an early kick of to Sustainability Week.

There was entertainment from the Worn out Shoes ceilidh band formed by academics from across the Geography department, PhD candidate George Warren and a dance materclass by UG student Pia Fletcher.

There was a live count of the money raised through the night, in total the Geography department raised £243.38 for the ITF, which will be used to help offset the flights from second year Portugal and Morocco fieldwork trips.

 

DIY lip balm & craft your own zero-waste products

Gathered in the KCLSU zero-waste store, Nought, 24 students got together to learn how to make their own zero-waste lip balms (recipe here – made without the honey) and how to crochet their own face scrubbie, instructed by King’s Energy Manager and star crafter, Julie Allen.

During sustainability week, Nought held a competition to win a zero-waste hamper for all those who spent over £10 – so this event was also a chance for the students to stock up on their essentials to be in with a chance to win!

A Green Threaded Corridor

Artist and Goldsmiths University student, Margaret Jennings came to Kings to deliver ‘A Green Threaded Corridor: Tree Art Workshop’. The workshop started with a conversation about our natural environment in the middle of Guy’s campus memorial garden and an insight into Margaret’s background and artwork. This was followed by a silent walk around the gardens, taking notice of the trees and life which surrounds them.

Natural materials from the gardens were gathered and used in the art section of the workshop. The art was inspired by our individual tree stories (e.g. a cherry tree in a grandfathers garden or the grief you feel when a tree is cut down) – the art could be painting, drawing, poems. These were passed around and altered by others – as a comment to nature and its ever evolving state.

The art and poems created in the workshop will form the body of Margaret’s research at Goldsmiths university – alongside other university and community group tree stories.

The event ended with planting a Birch sapling on Guys Campus gifted by Goldsmiths University. This will form part of a tree corridor, as King’s will be mirroring this by gifting an Alder tree to Goldsmiths University.

 

King’s Think Tank: Post-Environmental Regulations Debate

See the blog post below, for an event summary from the Director and Researcher of the King’s Think Tank Energy and Environment policy centre.

Vegan Sushi Class

King’s Vegetarian and Vegan society ran a vegan sushi class at Great Dover Street Apartments (GDSA) café. Over 30 students came to learn how to make their vegan sushi from scratch – how to cook the perfect sushi rice, prepare the vegetables, tofu or tempeh and do the perfect sushi roll.

Circular Economy Workshop with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

On the final day in Sustainability Week, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation came to deliver a workshop on circular economy.

They gave attendees an overview of what the circular economy is, and what businesses and services using circular economy principles may look like. As it was Valentine’s Day, they tasked students with coming up with circular economy alternatives to common Valentine’s presents, including re-used cards and potted flowers.

 

 

Sustainability Week Event Review: Environmental Regulations & Policies in a Post-Brexit Era

This guest blog comes from Mathilde Funck Brentano and Irina Tabacaru who are the Director and Researcher at the King’s Think Tank Energy and Environment policy centre.

On Tuesday 11 February, the Energy and Environment Policy Centre hosted an exclusive panel event as part of King’s College London’s Sustainability Week. We welcomed Scott Ainslie (Former Green Party Member of the European Parliament), Adam Bartha (Director of EPICENTRE), and Professor Robert Lee (Director of the Centre for Legal Education and Research at the University of Birmingham) to discuss the future of environmental policies in the United Kingdom in the post-Brexit era. The three speakers answered multiple questions, notably on the strengths and weaknesses of the European Union’s environmental law, as well as more specific topics such as air pollution and energy policies. The speakers clearly expressed their perspectives and gave the audience a fascinating insight into the post-Brexit debate on environmental regulations.

The Energy & Environment policy centre began the event with an audience-directed poll, featuring the question: ‘Do you think the UK should move forward with stricter environmental regulation after Brexit?’. After some time to reflect, the majority responded in favour of stricter regulation.

Following the survey, the panel began by discussing whether the UK should uphold European environmental standards after Brexit. While the speakers displayed little confidence in the ability of the current UK government to expand environmental regulations, all three argued in favour of furthering the existing policies. Drawing from his experience as a specialist advisor in the drafting of environmental legislation in Northern Ireland and Wales, Professor Lee highlighted the importance of compromise in reaching higher-level objectives in environmental regulations. In order to enable effective policies to be successful, the accessibility of environmental regulations ought to be improved. The discussion also mentioned the importance of changes in consumption habits to match governmental policies. Mr. Bartha expressed optimism regarding the United Kingdom’s prospects after Brexit. As he noted, one of the European Union’s main weaknesses is its bureaucratic aspect, and the fact that European policies are not implemented by all member states evenly. For example, member states in Eastern Europe respond differently to environmental policies than those in Northern or Western Europe. The United Kingdom now has the possibility to expand sustainability-related regulations more freely across its territory, and avoid the European Union’s precautionary principles in the drafting of legislation, as well as the excessive allowances of the Emissions Trading System (ETS). Conversely, Mr Ainslie underlined the apparent lack of ambition demonstrated by the British government in regard to green policies, particularly when compared to European targets. The speakers also discussed the necessity of a kerosene tax, given the considerable amount of carbon dioxide emissions generated by air transport.

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The discussion continued around the themes of Energy and Air Pollution. There was considerable disagreement between the speakers regarding the use and safety of shale gas as a potential alternative energy resource for the UK. The speakers’ views also diverged on the possibility of the UK reaching one hundred percent renewable energy use in the near future. Professor Lee also mentioned the importance of the UK finding its position concerning access to EU energy and, more importantly, pan-EU energy sources.

Our speakers expect that air quality standards will be upheld in the United Kingdom, despite its departure from the European Union. The British government has been tried several times by the European Court of Justice for failing to respect air quality standards. There is considerable public awareness on the topic, with approximately 28,000 to 36,000 pollution-related deaths in the UK every year. The necessity of tight cooperation between Westminster and local governmental bodies was put forth, as well as the urgent need for further enforcement.

Following the panelists’ discussion, the floor was opened to questions. The audience was extremely engaged in the discussion and interacted with the three panelists, raising a variety of issues, including the possibility of an EU-level meat tax. A captivating debate occurred regarding the theme of individual responsibility for climate change, as opposed to corporate and governmental responsibility. The high costs of sustainable and organic products, which represent a true burden for the average consumer, were extensively considered. The topic of waste management was also raised, following China’s decision to close its borders to foreign waste. Our panelists disagreed regarding the existence of the concept of ‘cyclical economy’, especially with reference to vehicles’ lithium ion batteries.

We would like to thank our three speakers for participating and sharing their thought-provoking insights with us. We would also like to thank the King’s Sustainability Team and KCLSU for their support in organizing our panel event. A big thank you also goes to our audience for being incredibly dynamic and engaged in the discussion. We look forward to welcoming you to King’s Think Tank events in the future!

A Career in Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility

This year’s Sustainability Week saw two events organised by the Careers Department to provide students with information about how to get a career in Sustainability. A wide range of speakers, from the private, public and academic sectors, provided their insights to students on what a career in sustainability and corporate social responsibility is like, and how to go about getting a job in these sectors.

Sustainability Week Twitter Post (3)

As with any job, speakers highlighted the need to gain relevant experience while at university; from volunteering at environment-themed events, working with societies to run events and programmes, and choosing modules that provided knowledge of relevant issues. However, they also stressed that you don’t necessarily need a sustainability related degree (one of the speakers had studied English Literature) to get into the profession. Useful skills such as commercial awareness, knowledge of the law, and financial accounting, all provided important technical knowledge that was relevant to the field of sustainability. The jobs may not always be in the sectors you assume, either; Zoe from Marks and Spencer’s Plan A works on the sustainability of their buildings, since they are an often overlooked part of the sustainability puzzle where good design can significantly reduce energy use and carbon emissions, where as poor design can lock-in bad practise for the decades-long life of buildings.

You can make any job sustainable

One of the stand out pieces of advice the speakers at both events gave was not to limit yourself solely to jobs with ‘Sustainability’ in the title. Although the sector is growing and there are more jobs available, there are also a huge number of people applying for those jobs, making it a difficult sector to get into. Their advice was to find any job in a sector or organisation that you wish to work in, and work to integrate sustainability into that role and influence your colleagues.

This is sound advice, and something King’s itself practises. We have a hard-working team of Sustainability Champions; individuals from different departments around the university who work to make their departments more sustainable, to achieve bronze, silver or gold status. This massively increases the reach and impact of sustainability at King’s, and offers staff the opportunity to bring sustainability into whatever job they are doing.

If you want to find out more, audio recordings of the events are available on KEATS, and there is further information about careers in CSR and Sustainability on the careers website. Our Sustainability team also offers volunteering opportunities to gain experience in the sector, and paid internships each year. Sign up to our newsletter so you know when these opportunities come up.

So if you’re keen to get a career in sustainability and CSR, these events should have provided some valuable information on how to go about doing so. It may not be a straight forward journey, you may not get the job you wanted right away, and you may have to take a position outside the sector and bring sustainability to it to achieve your goal, but that is all part of roller-coaster of careers with purpose. Indeed, if you are ecologically minded, the best place for you may be at the most environmentally destructive companies – they are where change is most needed, and if you have the passion you could make a big impact.

Sustainability Week: The first three days

With Sustainability Week now in full swing, it is time to recap what happened so far, and what events you can still get involved in.

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We asked students what they would do if they were Principal for the day

On Monday and Tuesday we took over the space outside the Great Hall at Strand with our Sustainability Roadshow. Representatives from King’s Money Mentors, Hubbub, Veolia, Thames Plastic, RSPB, EcoSoc, Abe & Cole and Amey joined us for this, and we got the chance to chat to students about sustainability at King’s. Among other things, such as our popular recycling game, we asked students to write down what they would do if they were Principal of King’s for a day. Ideas included switching to clean energy, providing recycling training and banning non-recyclable coffee cups. We will take this feedback and see what we can do about these suggestions to make King’s more sustainable!

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Artist Maria Arceo and the Thames Plastic stall

Highlights of other events include our Vegfest, which saw around 100 students try plant-based food (including Sheese!). We also held a bike auction at Strand, during which 16 second-hand bikes found new homes. Dr Bike were also on site to provide bike checks, and will travel with us to the other campuses over the next two days. King’s Careers & Employability ran two successful events on how to start a career in the sustainability sector, giving students the chance to ask sustainability professionals for advice.

If you have missed our events so far, you still have the chance to take part! Sustainability Week lasts until Friday the 10th February, and there are still lots of events coming up.

Tonight, there will be a panel debate on whether overconsumption or overpopulation is the biggest problem we face.

On Thursday, we will take our Sustainability Roadshow to Waterloo Campus. There will also be a Clothes Swap Shop at Waterloo in the morning. In the evening, you can attend a free screening of Tomorrow (2015), or pitch your idea on how to make King’s more sustainable at the Geography Department’s Sustainability Challenge.

Finally, on Friday we move to Denmark Hill for a seminar on why healthcare professionals should care about climate change, and we will bring our Roadshow, bike fixing sessions and Clothes Swap Show with us.

For more information, check out the full schedule here. We are looking forward to seeing you at the remaining events!

It’s Sustainability Week!

Welcome to Sustainability Week!

This week will be packed with events and activities about sustainability – check out the full schedule here.

To start the week, we would like to share a case study of how King’s staff can have a positive impact by implementing small changes.

The Central Engineering Team (CET) carries out regular emergency light testing across all campuses, requiring an average of 1000 pages of paper for ticksheets every month. After looking at how to improve their practices, they are now testing recording tests on tablets rather than paper.

By doing this, the CET will save 12,000 sheets of paper per year. This is not only a huge reduction of paper usage, but also prevents nearly one and a half toner cartridges entering the waste stream. This new practice will also save energy and time, as pages will not be printed and scanned afterwards.

This example of King’s staff taking initiative should remind us all that no matter how small we think an action might be, it can add up to a significant impact.

So why not start making small positive changes this week? Our events will give you lots of chances to do so – whether it is learning about proper recycling, going meat-free for a meal, or getting yourself a bike to cycle to uni. The Sustainability Team is looking forward to seeing you at the events!

Sustainability Week: 6-10 February

The Sustainability Team’s aim is to reduce consumption within King’s College London. We work with students and staff to reduce our impact on our surrounding social and natural environments.

The annual Sustainability Week aims to highlight the potential of embedding sustainability into daily university life. King’s has invited charities, NGOs and ethical brands to your local campus Sustainability Roadshow to showcase their work and provide opportunities for you to get involved with.

There are a number of opportunities for you to get involved, whether that is trying vegan food, attending a documentary screening, helping clean plastic from the Thames, fixing yourself a new outfit at a clothes swap shop or bagging a second-hand bicycle from a bike auction.  For all events, check out the calendar below (scroll down for more details on the individual events).

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 Click on the schedule for a higher definition. 

More information:

06-Feb, 12.00-14.00 King’s College VegFest

A vegan lunch exploring plant-based foods.

06-Feb, 18.00-19.30 Careers in Sustainability: Sustainability and the Environment

A panel event to discuss current and future careers in sustainability and the environment.

07-Feb, 18.00-19.30 Careers in Sustainability: Corporate Social Responsibility

A discussion of the role sustainability plays within the private sector and the positive contribution businesses can make to enabling environmental sustainability.

08-Feb, 18.30-20.00 Panel Debate: Overconsumption versus Overpopulation

A panel debate discussing the true driver of environmental, social and economic disorder in the 21st century: is it overpopulation or overconsumption?

09-Feb, 18.30-21.30 Film Screening: Tomorrow (2015)

A 2015 French documentary film directed by Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent. Faced with a future that scientists say is a great cause for concern, the film has the distinction of not giving in to catastrophism.

10-Feb, 12.30-14.00 Talk: Why should health professionals care about climate change?

A seminar discussion showcasing different perspectives on the response of the health community to climate change.


Wendela Schim van der Loeff, Sustainability Projects Assistant

Sustainability Week events announced!

As you might have seen across our social media channels, we have announced the details of Sustainability Week 2017, which will take place from the 6th to the 10th of February.

Under the theme of ‘Waste not, want not’, we are organising a week of exciting events with King’s Money Mentors, Careers & Employability, charities, ethical brands and student societies. Highlights include a Sustainability Roadshow visiting all campuses, bike auctions, panel debates and careers events focused on careers in sustainability. Check out the detailed timetable of all events below:

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For more information, including links to Facebook events, head to this page. We hope to see you at some of our events!

Sustainability Week

Hopefully you have all had a wonderful Welcome Week and are now quickly recovering from your Fresher’s flu!

For all of you living in King’s halls of residence, you must have heard it is Sustainability Week this week. Across all King’s residences, there will be a number of events you can get involved with, such as tie-dyeing your old clothes and giant sustainability themed Jenga. Each residence has a personalised programme of events, including movie-screenings of The 11th Hour and Wall-E on Tuesday and Sunday respectively. Contact your halls resident assistant (RA) for further information.

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This is also the week during which the Student SwitchOff competition is launched! Students at each residence are encouraged to get creative with their energy savings. The King’s Student SwitchOff Facebook page has lots of tips on how to save energy and gives away £25 worth of Ben & Jerry’s vouchers monthly. At the end of the year, if your residence saves the most energy and has been the best at recycling all year round then your entire halls of residence will receive an incredible amount of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream as a thank you for helping King’s College save energy and money! Next year, when you aren’t living in halls anymore and you are paying for your own electricity and gas, you will be grateful for the tips and practice you had this year.

Last but definitely not least, NUS are also looking for Student SwitchOff Ambassadors! Being an ambassador for the campaign does not only look great on your CV but if you are successful at completing your objectives, NUS will provide a reference for you! Register for the training session being held on Wednesday the 5th of October, 2016 between 14:00 and 14:50.

For more information on what’s happening during Sustainability Week, check out the ResiLife blog!


Wendela Schim van der Loeff, Sustainability Projects Assistant

Green Week 2016

King’s annual Green Week runs from the 8th – 12th February this year, bringing a week of sustainable events across the campuses! You can see the full timetable below and find out more information here.

Green Week 2016 Timetable FINAL

We look forward to seeing you at the Green Week events for free prizes, talks, competitions and more! If you would like to volunteer at any of the Green Week events, please get in touch at sustainability@kcl.ac.uk.

Green Week 2015

GGW_logo_web.imdex12443Wow, what a week! Green Week has now come to an end but we’ve had a great time and have lots to look forward to at King’s for the rest of 2015! The week was action packed, with lectures, swap shops, films and of course the sustainability roadshow.

The sustainability roadshow, run by us here in King’s Sustainability Team, travelled round the campus starting on Monday at Guy’s, going through Champion Hill, Denmark Hill, Waterloo and ending at Strand campus on the Friday. We had multiple stalls joining throughout the week including RSBP, London Bridge Farmers Market, Lush (from Waterloo and Regent Street), London Vegan Actions and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). It was great to have so many along and gave us the chance to explore different aspects of sustainability from wildlife, to the products you buy and then the career choices you make.

During the roadshow we asked people to calculate their environmental footprint using the WWF footprint tool, assessing how many planets would be required to sustain the world if everyone lived the same way they did. On average the carbon footprint was 2.5 planets.  Although this is quite high we were able to give people advice and talk to people why they may have a high footprint. Generally the two main factors were eating meat and flying. Some of these of course cannot be avoid (e.g. going home for Christmas!) but we then asked students what they think they could change to improve this.

We then asked students and staff to make a sustainability pledge, of which we managed to collect nearly 100 pledges ranging from eating less meat, to less time in the shower and waking more. It was great to see so many people pledge and hopefully everyone will have fun and success trying to complete them.

We had some great events running throughout the week as well organised by multiple student societies.  EcoSoc and Amnesty at King’s joined forces and ran an event about the Environment and human rights, with speakers from Client Earth, Environmental Justice Foundation and a UK divestment Campaigner.  Over 30 people turned up to the event and a great discussion followed.  There were also talks throughout the week on Shale Gas, Fracking and even a mock debate to end the week.

KCL Stop the Traffik also joined with KCL fashion society and EcoSoc to host King’s own swap shop. Cupcakes and Fairtrade tea were in abundance as students from across King’s swapped clothes that they no longer want.  Everyone left with multiple items they were pleased with, with KCL Stop the Traffik being able to collect multiple postcards petitioning about the lack of transparency in with the production of clothing brands.

The Waterfront Quiz on Thursday also went well.  With our Sustainability round, teams were asked questions such as how many litres of water does it take to make a chocolate bar (its 687 litres in case you were wondering!)  Although points for this round were low it was great to hear the discussion from the questions and hopefully everyone has left now with more knowledge about sustainability.

We also showed a screening of the Best Before film, talking about the food revolution taking over London where locals are fighting back against the supermarkets. Catch the film again in Fairtrade fortnight (23rd February – 8th March) at the Waterfront!

Finally on Friday night to round off Green Week we had King’s Unplugged, shutting down non-essential equipment across Denmark Hill Campus. This was a great evening with over 6 building shutdown on the evening (with help from the building managers and staff at James Black Centre, Centre of Neuroimaging Science and SGDP who shut down their buildings on their own). We are looking forward to the results to see how much we saved during the weekend and are glad that this is becoming normal weekend practice for so many of the offices we audited.

All in all Green Week this year has been fantastic, with events run by societies, KCLSU and King’s sustainability really promoting sustainability across King’s as well as having fun and engaging the student and staff across the campuses.  If you have any suggestions of Sustainability events you would like to see happening or you have any feedback on Green Week 2015 please get in touch with us by emailing sustainability@kcl.ac.uk

Thanks to everyone who got involved!