20th November 2019

SU Sustainability Strategy

Sheffield Students' Union will be seen as an exemplar of sustainability on campus, in the city and beyond. Our members will feel empowered to campaign for changes needed at the University to make the University of Sheffield more sustainable. As well as take action in the city, they study and reside in. The Students Union will pioneer alternatives to unsustainable organisational practice and facilitate students to contribute to a more systematically sustainable world, taking action for climate justice.

Sheffield Students' Union core objective is to give students the tools to effectively lobby the University and ensure they have input on decision making and innovation at their University.

Zero Waste

Action: Developing resources and tools to retroactively implement zero-waste in existing services & ensure new services and buildings are zero-waste by design.

Impact: Cut out potential for waste at the root & buy local and seasonal food products. Embed/normalise zero-waste attitude into organisation, no ties to wasteful technology and infrastructure.

2018/19 Priority project shortlist:

  • Work towards the elimination of single-use coffee cups.
  • Conduct research to establish a programme for moving towards a Students' Union that doesn't use, stock or sell single use plastic.
  • Improve our waste stream, both user-facing and behind the scenes, and define an ambitious yet achievable target for recycling.
  • Explore on-site composting.
  1. Zero Waste
  2. Sustainable Diets
  3. Fossil Free
  4. Zero Carbon

Sustainable Diets

Action: Develop and promote sustainable diets, including but not limited to veganism.

Impact: Creates a culture of vegan-as-normal, educates students about the existing range of vegan food available/that they may eat, increases demand for vegan options/reducing environmental impact of food SU sells, sets us up to be ahead of the curve commercially as veganism grows in popularity and Sheffield becomes Vegan Capital of the UK, SU more welcoming and inclusive space for vegan students. University prioritises local, sustainable, seasonal food in its procurement.

2018/19 Priority project shortlist:

  • Educate and engage students and staff in sustainable diets.
  • Develop and refine Sheffield Students' Union's position on sustainable diets and implement this internally throughout the SU.

Fossil Free

Action: secure positive reinvestment of University of Sheffield finances divested from fossil fuels and become leaders on Fossil Free research.

Impact: divested money is positively reinvested into much-needed renewables, students are educated about finance and investment and how to influence the University's investments. University moves towards generally more progressive investment policy. Students learn important campaigning skills, students learn how to navigate and intervene in University bureaucracy, SU and University lead globally on Fossil Free Research, creates links between academics and students for them to work together, University challenges the social license of fossil fuel companies.

Zero Carbon

Action: Engage with the University to encourage new developments to be zero-carbon by design and work with the University to develop an action plan for a zero-carbon campus by 2034.

Impact: University is not tied into carbon-intensive infrastructure (expense to retrofit), SU and University lead the way together demonstrating possibility of alternatives to students and others in the sector. University adopts renewable sources of energy, it supports local renewable energy cooperatives, it becomes energy self-sufficient and a local supplier with its own solar or wind farms, empowers and educates students to be involved in the management of local renewables, University leads by example by fulfilling targets on emissions reduction and beyond. University adopts a sustainability strategy in collaboration with the SU, engages students in long-term planning of their University. Our members will lobby the University to rigorously pursue a sustainability strategy using renewable energy sources, especially at the SU, and exceed carbon emissions reduction targets.

2018/19 Priority project shortlist:

  • Drive the University towards being a zero-carbon campus: secure key changes and actions to move the agenda forward.
  • Engage with students around Scope 3 emissions, Zero Carbon solutions and how to take action locally.
  • To put in place sub-metering, policy, feedback and action systems that enable the Students' Union to continually monitor and reduce our energy consumption.
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