QMSU's Green Impact

Green Impact is a National Union of Students accreditation scheme and a key way for us at Queen Mary Students’ Union 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, we received Excellent, which is the highest Green Impact ranking. We were one of only 20 Students' Unions across the UK to achieve this!

To achieve this result, we made significant changes to be more environmentally friendly.

These 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 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

We plan to build on our Excellent Green Impact award in the years to come and to do this we’ve put together a Sustainability Action Plan, available here.

As well as this we’ve put together a list of the five most significant areas Students' Union that have a negative environmental impact, with plans on how we can mitigate them.

The five areas that the Students' Union has identified and what it is doing to mitigate their impact are:

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.

Recent News

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Wed 15 May 2019

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Contact Us


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