QMSU's Green Impact

Green Impact is a national accreditation scheme run by Students Organising for Sustainability and allows us to measure our progress on sustainability and compare our efforts to those at other Universities across the country.

What we've done

In 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21, we received Excellent, which is the highest Green Impact ranking. We were one of only 20 Students' Unions across the UK to achieve this level.

Achievements to reach this award included:

  • Reducing our waste by cutting down on printed materials and championing paperless communication channels.
  • Exploring ways to reduce single use plastic by conducting audits and removing items such as plastic drinking straws from our outlets.
  • Creating opportunities for students to get involved in running sustainability campaigns on campus through our Green Mary Group and volunteering in the community.

There's still more work to do

To build on this progress our Sustainability Board developed and approved an Environmental Policy in March 2021. The Policy identifies the following priority areas as our sustainability priorities. Regular progress updates will be included below.

Environmental Policy
As a multi-site Students’ Union, it is very hard to keep track of the electricity usage. However, in order to reduce its electricity consumption and therefore its carbon footprint, the Students' Union is replacing all halogen light bulbs with LED, which last much longer and use far less energy than traditional lightbulbs. We’re also working with the University towards further improvements.
In order to reduce food waste, the Students’ Union outlets have been working alongside student volunteers to donate food to the Hackney Winter Night Shelter that would otherwise be thrown away at the end of the day. Back in April 2017, we launched the Too Good to Go app on campus, an innovative social enterprise that aims to put an end to food waste in the hospitality industry. It allows students and staff to buy food at a cheaper price than usual from both our outlets and local restaurants. As well as this, Students' Union outlets are currently looking for companies that recycle coffee grains, which would otherwise end up in landfill. Following student feedback, we will work alongside the local recycling companies to place food waste bins on campus and lobby the University to do the same in halls of residence.
We have created an email signature for staff which will remind them to avoid printing emails and encouraging everybody to stay electronic and as paper-free as possible. Furthermore, internal printing is made with 100% recycled paper and the Students' Unions’ Communications and Marketing team has made a commitment to have 50% of the Students' Unions’ printed materials printed on sustainable and recycled materials in three years.
To tackle the issue of disposable items made of plastic, such as cups or cutlery, we introduced the 20% “bring your own mug” discount, which saves thousands of paper cups. Additionally, the Students' Union has worked collaboratively with the University to install more water fountains across campus to encourage recycling and reduce plastic going to landfill.
In 2020, the Students’ Union will be launching a new cup recycling scheme through Bywaters, which are designed to be recycled into brand new and useful products, rather than ending up in landfill. Furthermore, we’ve worked with the University to introduce improved recycling facilities across campus.

The Student’s Union will encourage low or non-carbon transport to and from the University for staff and students, and student group trips.

We will significantly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we emit, committing to net-zero carbon as soon as possible.

We will significantly reduce waste throughout the Students’ Union, including but not limited to food, water, energy, rubbish, and plastic. The Students’ Union will promote a zero-waste culture and employ the waste hierarchy of refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle. We will reduce the provision and sale of single-use plastic products in Students’ Union outlets and provide the facilities for composting.

The Students’ Union will make sustainable and ethical purchasing and investment choices within its outlets and activities including banking, energy, telecoms, pensions, food, clothing, service provision and partnerships as well lobbying the University to do the same.

We will consistently engage in projects that allow us to respect and promote biodiversity and ecosystems, including rewilding all campuses as much as possible. In addition, we will offer opportunities for students to get involved with biodiversity and food growing projects.

The Students’ Union will promote issues of global justice as a result of the planetary crises and educate students on the disproportional impact these have on people globally. We will engage with students in order to help protect the rights of both humans and animals.

We will promote and uphold the Students’ Union’s environmental values along with other organisations, communities and the University to engage and develop wider understanding and awareness. This can be achieved through activities such as training, lobbying, campaigning, and volunteering.

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Sustainability Week 2023

Mon 23 Oct 2023


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Contact the Sustainability team at your Students’ Union with any questions you may have.