SUSU's Green Impact story
The programme is a United Nations award-winning programme that a range of organisations can take part in, from Students’ Unions to universities to NHS Trusts. To date, over 60 universities and 70 Students’ Unions in the UK have taken part.
For universities, the Green Impact programme helps students and staff take bigger actions towards sustainability. In addition to environmental sustainability, wider actions are aimed at wellbeing, culture and how the university embeds sustainability across its curriculum and activities. For Students’ Unions, the Green Impact programme supports students’ sustainability initiatives across campuses whilst working with elected officers in their Students’ Union to build sustainability into the core of the Union, both strategically and operationally.
SUSU are working to become carbon neutral by 2035 and have been recognised for two years running with the highest “Excellent Standard” award in its Green Impact accreditation. SUSU’s wide-ranging activities include cutting out harmful carbon intensive waste streams and having a vegan zero-waste shop on campus; organising annual circular economy events to make people more aware about reducing their carbon emissions, such as 'Stitch It, Don't Ditch it' and Sustainable Fashion Week; and including Fairtrade food options in their cost-of-living breakfast mornings. SUSU also work on programmes beyond the university’s campuses and in the wider community, such as monthly local beach cleans.
Useful learnings from SUSU's Green Impact
The Green Impact programme provides a framework for organisations to track and improve their sustainable actions. As such, it is a valuable tool for measuring improvements and building momentum year-on-year.
Green Impact is widely adaptable: by means of a modular toolkit different organisations can work on impactful actions that are relevant to their operations. Although the programme was originally developed for universities, it has expanded in its coverage to include Students’ Unions, NHS Trusts, businesses and city councils.
SOS also provide training and support for any organisations undertaking Green Impact, to ensure that they achieve as many sustainable actions as possible.