In May 2020, The SU, in partnership with the University, declared a climate emergency. As we recover from the disruptive COVID period, sustainability remains a priority for the SU.

The Climate Action Framework team at the University have been pulling together data regarding the emissions created by the SU. Using data from 2021-22, The SU generated 800 tonnes CO2e during the academic year. That's a reduction of over 400 tonnes CO2e from 2019-20. To put that into perspective:

  • 1 tonne of CO2 is about the same as a hot air balloon.
  • It would take 50 trees 1 year to capture 1 tonne of CO2.
  • We would need 40,000 trees, growing for 1 year to capture the amount of CO2 we generated in 2021/22.

There is a lot of work to do to bring this number down, whilst making sure our student body can continue to gain the same student experience. The areas which have the biggest negative impact are bars/events, sport travel and clothing/sports equipment. We have a group of staff and officers who meet each month to focus on reducing this emissions number. Here’s a few things we achieved in 22-23 along with campaigns we will continue to work on.

Active Travel

  • Grease Monkey Bike Maintenance station has been installed outside the Chancellors Building for use by any students and staff who cycle to campus.

Clothing and Merchandise

  • All Freshers week t-shirts were 100% Organic GOTS. We removed the year on the design meaning we can use unsold t-shirts next year, reducing our waste.
  • Moving towards ethical and eco friendly clothing for events, reps and student groups.

Plug & Tub

  • We are now part of the Cup Xchange scheme in the Plug.
  • Reusable plastic cups are now used for club nights.
  • We have removed beef from our menu and improved the vegetarian and vegan options.
  • Entry to our club nights now uses digital tickets instead of paper.

Student Leaders

  • Introducing a Sustainability Award to encourage groups to adapt their activities to make them more sustainable
  • Offering training and resources to support work towards the Sustainability Award.

Waste and recycling

  • Working to improve bins in the Plug and Tub, including composting food packaging.
  • Running text book resale stalls.
  • Swap shops for clothing and fancy dress costumes.
  • A second-hand sale was run during FW22 to sell donated kitchen items to freshers. This sale rehomed over 2000 items and raised over £1300 for RAG.

Working with the University

Get in touch

Do you have an idea that would make the SU more sustainable? Do you want to get involved or tell us about upcoming events and campaigns? Email 

Learn more about Green Week 22-23