The University of Birmingham signs up to the Worker Rights Consortium to ensure garments are not produced in sweatshop conditions!
Decision places Birmingham amongst the first 10 universities in the country to affiliate.
Today after three years of lobbying from the UoB Guild of Student’s People and Planet Society and much of the student body the University of Birmingham has agreed at the Sustainability Task Group to sign up to the Worker Rights Consortium. We have been campaigning for three years to get the University to sign up to the WRC as an independent body that monitors working conditions and abuses in garments factories in much of the developing world.
Until now the University has been sourcing its sportswear and apparel from an unregulated supply chain, which cannot guarantee the basic human rights of its workers. Itis not uncommon for workers in the garment industry to be subject to persistent abuse and paid too little to meet the basics of life like food, water and vital medicine. The Worker Rights Consortium is an independent labour rights monitoring organisation that investigates working conditions in factories that supply businesses including universities all around the world. It has the support of over 175 universities and colleges worldwide. Birmingham is the latest among a group of Universities across the UK to sign up to the WRC including the Universities of Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Loughborough, Sussex and Oxford Brookes.
The WRC has already been successful in combating sweatshops and protecting workers’ rights, such as securing adequate pay for over 100,000 garment workers in India, who were working for university suppliers.
It has taken over three years of sustained lobbying of the University management for them to agree to affiliate.
“I started lobbying the university in 2009 to sign to the Worker Rights Consortium, it’s been a long road with an initially uncooperative management but, thankfully they have at last seen the light albeit after significant pressure from the students union, sit-ins in the vice chancellors office on International Women’s day 2010 and protests on campus during the People and Planet Buy Right Day of Action.”- Edward Bauer former Vice President for Education at the UoB Guild of Students 2011-2012.
“I joined the University of Birmingham People and Planet society in September 2011, by which point the group had already spent a lot of time pressuring our University to affiliate to the WRC. During the last academic year we had several meetings with procurement at the University to try and emphasise the benefits of signing up to the WRC, as well as how important it is to the student body that our University sourced its supplies ethically. Along with the Oxfam Society on the 1st of March 2012 we put on a ‘Fairtrade Fashion Show’ with ethical clothes on display alongside a petition to help demonstrate how many students were behind our initiative.” – Caroline Moyles, 3rd Year Geography Student.
“I have been working very hard on this campaign since I came to university in 2010. I am so pleased the management has finally realised it can’t keep pretending to students that people working in sweatshops don’t matter!” – Mathew Franklin, 3rd Year Anthropology Student.
“I have been involved with the campaign for two years, since coming to the University. The campaign was originally started in the US by United Student Against Sweatshops in 1997 and has since been taken on by People and Planet here in the UK. In my first year we had a Skype call to a woman who had worked in sweatshop conditions in Honduras to make apparel for American Universities. She told her story about regularly being abused at work in order to produce clothes and to stop her and her co-workers from unionising and bettering their conditions together. She had two little girls who she could barely afford to feed. Since her factory’s involvement in the WRC she felt safe and respected at work, was paid enough to feed her family and even began an adult education course in order to improve her literacy. This really inspired me to get involved in the campaign so that I would be able to help these garment workers’ around the world who are in a very similar position. I have power as a student to affect the institution I am a part of to stop procuring from sweatshops.
Despite setbacks in the campaign, this summer I was lucky enough to meet two students from Texas who had been lobbying their University which was much more adverse to signing up to the WRC than UoB. I thought if they can do it then we must certainly be able to! I’m so happy that the Head of Procurement is now fully supportive of this initiative it seems as though he wants the affiliation process to be as swift and as effective as possible.” – Alice Swift, Ethical and Environmental Officer at the UoB Guild of Students.
Special thanks to
People & Planet Society Birmingham
Johnny Kowalski & The Sexy Weirdos
Hello Ethical & Environmental lovers. What a busy month it’s been, and Uni hasn’t even started yet!
On the 23rd of August I met up with Lizzie Eustice the University’s Sustainable Projects Coordinator to discuss some of the recent developments with environmental projects in Halls. This year will be the first time there will be special recycling bags in each flat. Card, paper, tins, glass and plastic can be put into the bags which should then be taken out to the council recycling bins for each weekly collection. The University has finally got round to taking these measure so what remains now is for Fresher’s to use the recycling facilities provided and not to contaminate recycling with non-recyclables or food waste. It is so important to rinse out all jars, tins and bottles else a whole batch of recyclables can be contaminated! University is a crucial time when many students live away from home for the first time and learn new behavioural patterns. Now is the time to learn good recycling habits ready for responsible behaviour in Selly Oak and the rest of life!
The following week on the 31st of August Jane Harris the Sustainable Travel Coordinator and I took an interesting tour of the University campus and Halls looking at the various locations where there is a great need for bike racks. It was a shame it wasn’t term time as I had to take her to places where there are very few bikes now but in term time are absolutely rammed with bikes like outside Arts and Physics. We had a good look at the Vale too, where in term time there is a chronic need for covered bike racks. Maple Bank has a teeny tiny little bike shed that is always jam-packed with bikes. Residents are also told not to bring bikes into Halls buildings. If you’ve ever been up to the Vale in term time you are sure to see many bikes chained to lamp-posts which can be at a real risk of being stolen. If your bike gets stolen or damaged by the weather chances are you may feel it’s not worth bringing your bike back for second year. Hopefully these problems can be changed if the University seriously invested in some good quality covered bike racks. Jane did tell me about plans to put in bike racks by the train station and the Guild. I do hope these get built promptly. If you’ve read any of Sean Farmelo’s blogs I’m sure you will have seen the plans for the Green Bike Project http://communityactionofficer.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/more-of-a-union/. I’m ridiculously excited about this. Not only will it become easier to repair and maintain bikes I hope for a whole culture change of avid new cyclists whizzing about Selly Oak and Brum. Cycling is not only a great way to stay healthy but it’s also ridiculously cheap. I like to explore much of South Birmingham on a bike, I don’t think I would have been to many of the places in Brum that I have it weren’t for my trusty bike!
The start of September saw me doing lots more training. I spent two days at the People & Planet Volunteer Training in Oxford meeting some great dedicated activists from around the country. We did some good planning for the year ahead too. I’m looking forward to working with some of the folks from Warwick and Derby on the Buy Right Campaign. Adidas has refused to pay its workers from a factory in Indonesia the $1.8 million redundancy pay they are due after they were sacked on mass for trying to unionise http://peopleandplanet.org/adidas. $.8 million pales into insignificance when compared to the millions and millions spent on Olympic sponsorship and advertising.
After two days of training in Oxford I headed up to Macclesfield to the NUS Services Limited Headquarters for an “Ethical & Environmental Masterclass” which consisted of workshops on the Green Impact scheme, Student Switch Off and ethical procurement. It was good to hear the campaign ideas of some of the Ethical & Environmental Officers from around the country.
On Tuesday I attended my first Sustainability Task Group meeting which is the main committee in the University that discusses issues of sustainability. Most of the meeting consisted of hearing feedback about the various energy saving initiatives introduced in the various schools and colleges but some good attention was paid to Education for Sustainable Development, University apparel procured from sweatshops and the ridiculous lack of drinking water facilities on campus thanks to mine and Leander’s efforts.
A lot of preparation has gone into the first couple of weeks of term. So be sure to look out for me at the Fresher’s Fair!
Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hello all. I’m Alice and I’m the new Ethical & Environmental Officer for the Guild for the next academic year. If you’ve got this far, chances are you may be ever so slightly interested in what I have been up to since getting into office.
On the 2st of June after two days of banner-painting and organising I went along to the amazing Vale Fest to showcase the great plans for the Green Bike Project http://www.facebook.com/groups/174658679289477/ and the Birmingham Students Food Co-op as part of “Co-operative Corner”. With the help from the great people from the South Birmingham Food Co-op who brought homemade elderflower cordial, jam tarts and cheese twists along with some great Co-op and People and Planet Volunteers we were able to spread the message of Co-operative values and spark some great interest in these exciting forthcoming projects.
On the 8th of June I gave my sixth talk on the Canadian Tar Sands of the year in Peterborough as part of the City Council’s annual Green Festival. It was great as ever to talk to people about my time living with the Indigenous Beaver Lake Cree Nation on their reservation in Alberta Canada and on my wider experience learning and campaigning against the Tar Sands. To raise awareness about the Tar Sands is one of my manifesto points so I’m sure if you will hear a lot more about what it is over the coming year. Within the first couple of weeks of term I along with People & Planet Society will be screening the documentary Taking on Tarmaggedon, a film documenting my experience of the Tar Sands along with other activists and indigenous people.
Non-Sabb training took place from the 18th – 22nd of June. It was great to spend time with the officers sharing ideas about our plans for the next year. I’m very excited about democratic reform of the Guild. Making the Guild truly beholden to the wishes of Students to affect real change in the University, the local community and beyond is what would move it from a “Student Experience Department” to the Union it needs to be. Certainly environmental issues and sustainability can often feel like an individual burden to make personal lifestyle changes rather than one being empowered to influence the environmental performance of an institution like the University of Birmingham.
Within two days of me finishing my Officer Training I was off to Oxford for the People & Planet Summer Gathering from the 24th – 28th June to do some more training. As always Summer Gathering proved to be an outrageously fun learning environment. Camping in the beautifully sunny Oxford countryside with inspiring ethical and environmental activists from around the country made me instantly forget I was there to learn some great techniques in affecting social change. We heard from two US activists from Texas who had spent the past year lobbying hard to get their University to sign up to the Worker’s Right’s Consortium and allow their University to lesson it’s reliance on sweatshop labour for their clothes and other products. These two activists set a great example for the Buy Right Campaign. After a year of fruitless meetings with the University of Birmingham’s Procurement Managers I hope they begin to see that it is wrong to conceal the University’s supply chains from Students buying their products.
I have been working with the VPDR on the Guild’s bid to get the NUS Green Impact Excellence Award. Although the Guild has got Gold in the Green Impact Award the past two years, in order to get Gold a third year running we will need to campaign for a greener curriculum. Getting a greener curriculum at University will not only be a really interesting addition to any course it will also be hugely important to gain the knowledge necessary for creating a sustainable future for all. It would be great if I could hear about your experiences of environmental education at University (or lack of). Please do get in touch about this on email@example.com.
Other manifesto points I have been working on such as more water fountains in Uni and more bike racks have received a positive response in meetings. So I do hope there will be some tangible success in these areas this year.
To end, I would like to let everyone know about the Ceilidh that has been confirmed for October the 2nd in the Underground. For those of you that don’t know what a Ceilidh is it is a folk dancing super-fantastic event. I’m ridiculously excited about this as not only will there be some cracking live music and outrageous dancing it’ll be a great chance to get to know the bods behind the highly anticipated Green Bike Project and People & Planet Society who are full-on into ethical and environmental action. Don’t worry if you’ve never been to a Ceilidh before or don’t know your left foot from your right arm I’ll be there busting a move with everyone else inexperienced in crazy barn dancing. This event will be unmissable!
P.S. Please do contact me to get involved with any of these projects or any other E&E issues. I just love Ethical & Environmental stuff
The E&E committee was set up to discuss and act on how the Guild is fulfilling its commitments to the environment and its ethical practices. Below are the minutes from the meeting held on 24th November 2011
Hugo Sumner, Vice President (Democracy & Resources) (HS) – Chair
Abby Levy, Ethical & Environmental Officer (AL)
Alice Swift, Guild Councillor (AS)
Sean Farnelo, Guild Councillor (SF)
Adrian Blower, Director of Business (AB)
Mike Carolan, Facilities Manager (MC)
Matt Young, IT Co-ordinator
1 Minutes As this was the first meeting of this Committee there were no Minutes from a previous meeting to be approved.
2 Introduction & Objectives HS opened the meeting by asking everyone to introduce themselves.
MC then went onto advise possible objectives for the Committee. He suggested that the team meet on a regular basis, possibly every two months to ensure that:
• The Carbon Action Plan is implemented;
• A Procurement Policy for the Guild is organised;
• The Guild participate in the next Green impact scheme;
• Establish projects that the Committee can address over the next 5 years.
He confirmed that they achieved gold last year and would like to get this again. He asked the group is there was anything else that could be added and discussed at the next meeting?
3 E&E Forum AL gave a verbal update to the meeting advising that this be incorporated with the Better Guild Forum, as this may increase the numbers attending and strengthen that Forum. She also advised that there were already 3 Forums and didn’t want to add another. MC asked how this would feedback to the Board, HS confirmed that this is done via a report to the Guild Council, which is debated. Any feedback to be reported to the next meeting.
4 Carbon Management Plan MC referred to the Plan, general principles, actions to be carried out and proposed target areas and carbon savings to be made (paperwork sent to all to peruse). He confirmed that this was a requirement of the University, originating from the Sustainability Task Group requiring something in writing from this Committee to approve. Feedback from all members to be discussed at the next meeting.
MC went through the Plan starting with the 3 different scopes: direct, indirect emissions and all other indirect emissions to reduce our carbon footprint, he then discussed the 4 general principles:
• Improving the fabric of the building – external windows and loft insulation. Confirmed more work needs to be done on the windows as there are lots of gaps and some are single glazed.
• Working with the Carbon Trust and University Estates – confirmed he has been working with them to ensure best practice and efficient use of energy consuming equipment. He mentioned the new printing scheme.
• Effective communication campaigns – to work with Marketing & Communications teams to get the message across. Various projects have been implemented but not communicated to all.
• Commitment to maintaining our gold standard on Green impact scheme – needs to be agreed and timescales confirmed. Projects for the next 5 years, group to decide, group to support – to agree a plan, feedback at next meeting.
MC went through the Carbon management plan, proposed target areas and carbon savings detailing actions, by who, by when, cost, proposed CO2 saving and payback periods. Brief details :
• Replacing all inefficient lighting in the building (possibly Salix scheme);
• Install lighting controls on all corridors;
• Costs for dealing external windows (working with Estates);
• Energy awareness/good housekeeping (to be completed by 2012);
• Modifying controls on air handling units (Estates)
• Install timer plugs on all water coolers (all electrical equipment to be looked at);
• Replace tungsten halogen lamps with more energy efficient ones;
• Insulate valves and pipe flanges (Project Manager);
• Install TVRs in order that thermostats can be regulated;
• Install loft insulation (may be problems with asbestos, to work with Estates);
• Energy saving equipment (one project completed with printers and is already making a saving). MY confirmed that here are now just 9 printers, staff have print cards and print to server not printer, in key locations around the building. Staff are now responsible for their own department printing budget as reports can be run identifying who has printed, not collected printing from printer etc. This has been very successful.
• List all electrical equipment and see what savings can be made.
• Upgrade underground plant controls – Guild (to work with Estates as rest of the University is new)
MC asked all members if they had any additional items which could be added to the list, these to be advised by next meeting.
He then went through behavioural change, cultural change is required in order that a number of initiatives can take place :
• Sign up to the next Green impact scheme;
• Procurement Policy for the Guild;
• Appointment of local champions in each department;
• Plan awareness programmes – to work with Marketing and Communications;
• Effective feedback to staff/franchises.
SF asked about staff usage of public transport, possible cycle to work schemes and whether funding would be available? SF to send email to MC and HS.
AS asked about bicycle racks and whether they could be placed at the front of the Guild? MC confirmed that the front of the Guild was to be totally renovated, to be entirely paved and made into a pedestrian area. MC said he didn’t believe there was a provision for bicycle racks at the moment; this would need to be discussed at the Sustainability Group.
SF confirmed that the present facilities for bicycles were not well lit and felt they could be stolen. AB confirmed he would look into bicycles across the campus not just the Guild and report to the next meeting.
AS asked if a provision had been made for cycle routes on the East Gate Project? MC advised that he didn’t think a provision had been made but said he would check and get back to the next meeting.
5 Green impact 2011/12 HS confirmed that he was seeking approval of this Committee, focus the organisation and maintain the status of this scheme. The members agreed that they would like to proceed. AS asked if there were any alternatives to this scheme, MC/AB not aware of any, felt others didn’t bench mark Unions, said that this one is tailored for Student Unions but would look into this for next year.
6 Budget Spend 2011/12 MC confirmed there was £4,000 in the facilities budget to support minor spends. In the past this has been spent on special waste collections, lighting, switch off electrical items and paying for environmental audits etc. To date £648 has been spent on recycling bins and Green impact registration. Just over £3,000 left, MC suggested this could be used on timer plugs, sealing external windows (mechanical problems need to be rectified first on some windows), electrical items replacement, environmental awareness training, getting a survey done. The Committee were asked to agree on what they would like this money spent on? The members agreed that sealing the external windows would be a good start, To do this straight away.
Any other suggestions – to be confirmed at the next meeting.
7 Any Other Business SF said he would like to discuss 3 points :
• Solar Panels
• Where we bank
SP asked for the possibility of installing water fountains around the campus, he had made initial enquiries with www.tapwater.org
and wondered if this could be looked into, to enable students to fill water bottles directly. Possibly with the Guild first and then if successful with the rest of the University. It was suggested that a member from this organisation should be asked to come in to discuss further with SF/AL/MC/AB.
HS and AL to raise with the Sustainability Task Group.
SF wondered if The Guild had considered solar panels as an investment and whether this could be added to the Carbon Management Plan. MC to look into types of panels and any long term benefits. To report to next meeting.
SF asked if we had looked into where banks invest our money/renewable schemes and how much they invest? He confirmed that both himself and AS had already met with NB and wondered if this could be considered as an indirect emission? MC to look into this and possible wording.
SF also mentioned the website and whether this had been updated with the Green impact plan, Carbon management plan. MY to look into updating the website with latest information on a regular basis.
SF asked how much the Guild relies on cars to move things around and whether this is an effective transfer? It was confirmed that most goods are transported to the loading bay and go straight in; manual trolleys and the Guild van are used. Not much ferrying about goes on.
HS asked that the members think of any ideas, suggestions for the next meeting.
So this term has been a very hectic one for me, but now things have settled down I thought I’d tell you all about the lots of ethical and environmental things going on and that I’m hopefully going to be involved in.
As you know our Guild won Gold in the NUS Green Impact Award thanks to the hard work of my predecessor. The process has already started to sustain our Gold status.
The Ethical and Environmental Working Group shall meet later this month, after 2 guild councillors are elected onto the committee. It actively deals with ethical and environmental issues within the Guild of Students to ensure that the guild meets its ethical and environmental obligations i.e. to reduce it environmental impact.
After meeting with Zuki (Vice President Housing & Community),he has allowed me to get involved in plans to decrease Selly Oaks’ waste.
The Sustainability task group met earlier this term, the minutes from this meeting have been posted prior to this blog.
The Food Action Forum also met this term, minutes from this meeting have also been posted.
As I said in my last post I believe everyone can make a difference. I want to try and include something small in each of my blogs that everyone can do to help stop climate change.
When buying a new electrical device buy an A** rated one, it can save approx 200kg of carbon per year compared to an old appliance.
Using a saucepan lid can save up to 90% of the heat you have to put in for cooking.
Finally, if there’s anything your passionate about implementing please contact me, whether it’s a motion for guild council or a campaign you wish to run. I will try my very best to assist you.
Working together and communicating with each other achieves far more than if done alone.
Enjoy the rest of term,
Summary Notes and Actions of the Food Action Forum Group Meeting held on 14 October 2011, 3rd floor Staff House.
Present: Zuki Majuqwana (ZM), Stuart Richards (SR), Louise Sherratt (LS), Mark Houghton (MH), Louise Walsh (LW), Kevin Herbert (KH), Simon Pole (SP), Jane Colbourne (JC) Adrian Blower (AB) Phil Coombes (PC), Tim Smith (TS) and Angela Smith (AS).
1.0 Apologies: Trevor Shields (TS), Lizzie Eustace (LE), Hugo Sumner (HS), Abby Levy (AL), Bradley Greenwood (BG) and Nicola Jolly (NJ).
As this was the first meeting of the new academic year, Zuki invited members to introduce themselves to new members.
2.0 Matters Arising and Ongoing Actions from Last Meeting:
• Celebrity Cooking Demonstration – (ongoing). Will form part of the handover for the new elected committee. Louise Walsh and Adrian Blower will assist. Action: New Elect, LW and AB.
• Sustainable Food Policy – Trevor has spoken to Ian Gregory in Estates regarding the amount of water used on campus. Trevor will contact Ian to see if it is possible to obtain area breakdowns for residences – ongoing. Action: TS
• DEFRA Policy – Jane has circulated the DEFRA policy, please ensure you read its contents as the VC is taking a keen interest in what changes the University can incorporate. Action: ALL
• Student TV – Louise Walsh will contact Student TV on behalf of Zuki and Tim to discuss the possibility of a recipe book, international cook-off and an international Olympic food event. Action: LW
• Meal Plan Name Change – Louise Walsh is looking to run a competition later in the term. Action: LW
3.0 Membership and Terms of Reference:
3.1 Review and amendment of current membership:
• Angela to email Lizzie Eustace and Trev Shields to see if they can recommend any staff members with a sustainability background, to take Nicola Jolly’s place on the committee. Action: AS
• Zuki advised that RA’s will change during the course of this academic session.
4.0 Update on Services – UoB and Guild:
• Hub Meal Times – very quiet in the morning, though evening trade is high. Pizza facility is very popular and has a good evening trade. Rios is open over the weekend and Louise is looking to review the weekend food offer.
• Footfall in Medical School and Food Court has increase since the meal plan expansion.
• HAS members confirmed that the meal plan card can only be used in university food outlets and not in Spar, Costcutter or Bars.
• Ginster’s outlet has changed to the ‘Fat Pasty Shop’.
• Zuki to advise the RA’s that the meal plan can also be used in Raising the Bar. Action: ZM
• Mark advised that the soup price has been reduced.
• Coffee Nation machine has been removed.
• In talks with Costa Coffee with a view of having a cyber café in the Guild. If all goes well, this operation could be in place by January 2012.
• Demand Base Pricing Strategy – have introduced a loyalty scheme card for Joe’s. Key items will be promoted but not on club nights with some deals being linked to food, i.e. pizza. Cards cost £1-00 and Adrian advised that uptake had been high. If it continues, the scheme could be extended to other Guild outlets.
• Attended the Best Student Buy in Birmingham Awards Ceremony; Guild have won ‘Best in Category’ for the past 3 years.
• Menu was upgraded over the summer, improving on vegetarian options.
• Mystery Shoppers for Bars – awaiting results from the first visit.
• Vale Fireworks – Thursday 3 November.
5.0 Any Other Business:
• Simon spoke about incorporating the DEFRA food policy with a sustainable food policy offering low carbon diets and links to Farmers Markets. It was decided that this could be added to the Catering web pages.
• Jane advised that all British cheese purchased by the university is now ‘Red Tractor’ certified.
• Mark advised that the Birmingham Food Festival begins week commencing 17 October. The university is supporting and special dishes will be available in all outlets as well as in Staff House and Winterbourne.
• Mark advised that Kingfisher is now a sustainable fish monger.
• Introducing a Panini of the month.
• Curry Night – 26 October 2011 – all you can eat buffet at the Hub in conjunction with the Hindu Society.
• Contestant for the Good Egg Award – Compassion in Farming Competition.
Date of Next Meeting: 8 December 2011 at 2.00pm, 3rd floor Staff House. Action: ALL
Sustainability Task Group
4 October 2011
Present: Professor J K Heath (Chairperson), Ms L Baillie, Mr I Gregory, Mr D I Harrison, Mr B Higgins, Mr K Jakeman, Mr S Johnson, Mr P Larkin, Miss A Levy, Mr L Lynch, Dr J Owen,
Miss V L Pendleton (Minutes), Dr T C Shields (Secretary), Mr H Sumner and Mrs D Willmetts.
11/25 Apologies and introductions
Mrs Caroline Radnor had sent her apologies. Two new student representatives, Miss Abby Levy and Mr Hugo Sumner were introduced to the Group and all present introduced themselves.
11/26 Terms of reference
The terms of reference were reviewed and re-adopted for the coming academic year.
11/27 Minutes 5 July 2011
Received and approved subject to the correction of EPS to MDS in line 16 of page 2.
11/28 Matters arising
a) 11/20 (11/10) Reports from Colleges, Corporate Services and the Guild
Noted: A meeting had been arranged with the fire safety officers to discuss the location of the mixed recycling bins. There were stocks of the current bins and these were now available free to budget centres. Mr Larkin had also identified some alternative bins of different sizes. There would be an extra cost involved as different sized bags would be required, but a variety of bins was clearly required.
Further noted: Dr Shields had spoken to Professor Kendall about the hydrogen source. There were future plans to produce hydrogen by electrolysis of on site utilising solar panels
ii. IT Services
Reported: The IT action plan had been signed off by Dr Duffy and was now available on the website.
Noted: The direct involvement of IT in other College and Corporate Services action plans and the difficulty of calculating a baseline.
b) 11/20 (11/11) Sustainability Communications Strategy update
Reported: The brand was under development, and two options were circulated. The communications group would be meeting soon and would finalise the brand. The meeting voted on the two designs and voted in favour of ‘Sustainable Future’.
Noted: Dr Shields was in discussions with James Perry and Thom Straw in Marketing and Communications regarding both the external website and intranet.
c) 11/20 (11/12) Car Parking Working Group
Reported: UBSport felt strongly that the running track was important to the University.
Noted: There were already jogging trails in place around campus.
d) 11/20 (11/13) Carbon Management Implementation Plan
i. Travel Expenditure
Reported: The business case for a travel management system similar to that at the University of Nottingham ad not yet been written. Thought needed to be given to how statistics for carbon emissions are collected, as it would be incredibly time consuming to collate this data from the ProActis purchase order and purchasing card information available.
ii. HEFCE scope 3 consultation update
Discussed: The consultation from HEFCE on scope 3 emissions had been due in August but had been delayed to mid-November. The response would feed into the HESA EMS data. Dr Shields and Mrs Radnor had attended a seminar in July at which it had been suggested that universities may not need to account for emissions from international students travelling between their home country and their university.
iii. Internal Audit follow-up report
Received: Carbon Management Audit – Estates/Sustainability
Noted: This showed updates against the report from 2010/11. The update had been to internal audit and no comments had been received.
e) 11/15 Green Impact update
Noted: The Greener Living Assistant, Simon Pole, was now in post.
f) 11/16 Risk Management Monitoring sub-group
Noted: The group had met at the end of July.
g) 11/21 Green League Table
Noted: The table had been circulated.
h) 11/22 Revolving Green Fund
Reported: This had been discussed at the previous meeting. There were two tranches of funding available. The payback periods on the first tranche were thought to be too low. Westmere had been an option for the second tranche but the University had decided not to submit.
11/29 Reports from Colleges, Corporate Services and the Guild
Reported: They were raising the profile of carbon management across the College. The Hub and EECE were both registering teams for the Green Impact scheme. Energy usage figures have improved and they had made savings over the last year. However various projects are due to come online which may have an impact.
Noted: In the staff survey, EPS had not done well on environmental awareness, in particular in Chemistry and Computer Science.
Discussed: People would like additional breakdown of energy figures. Estates were close to rolling this out and meetings were arranged with all the Colleges to discuss what information would be most useful. This was linked to the ongoing metering project and some shutdown windows would be needed prior to implementation.
Reported: 2010-11 had seen an improvement in carbon emissions of over 7%. Although the performance of a couple of buildings had deteriorated this could be explained based on changes of occupancy.
Noted: In the survey, the School of History and Cultures had the lowest score on environmental issues. This was a question of communication and Mr Lynch was working to improve this. The College was also putting teams into the Green Impact scheme for the first time.
Reported: LES had met its target for the year. They were continuing to work on behavioural change. An attempt to apply cavity wall insulation to Biosciences had been abandoned as it had penetrated the internal walls. Draught-proofing was nearly complete, although there was an issue that some windows no longer opened. This should be reported to Estates.
Noted: There was disparity between schools in the survey, which could be attributed to local activity and involvement of support staff. In addition, GEES was more aware of what could be done to help the environment and as a result more likely to feel that the University could do more.
Reported: The College was broadly on target but noted the gene/cell therapy biorepository project would draw a significant amount of energy. Engagement within MDS had improved and more teams were taking part in the Green Impact scheme.
Noted: Survey scores on the environment were roughly in line with the University as a whole.
Further noted: Mr Johnson was to meet with Mr Gregory on 6 October to revisit the IBR action plan.
Reported: CoSS was doing an awareness campaign encouraging people to use the stairs instead of the lift. The College had now moved all of its staff out of Priorsfield and into the Muirhead Tower; this would potentially lead to an increase in carbon emissions in the Muirhead Tower. There would be a mini Wellbeing Day on 16 November, including information on carbon reduction.
Discussed: CoSS was persisting with pooled photocopiers in place of individual printers. It was hard to regulate purchases. Mr Higgins was due to meet with IT to agree a single source for PCs and for multi-function devices (MFDs) as well as a print management system. Mr Jakeman noted that in LES all IT equipment was purchased through one person. This helped them keep track of what had been bought and minimise the variety of equipment purchased. Staff also found it helpful to be able to get advice on what to buy.
Reported: The key issue for HAS was behavioural change. A number of staff had attended the Big Green Event, and they were also taking part in the Environment Day. Veolia would also be at the Environment Day and would be explaining the operation of mixed recycling facilities (MiRFs). The CHP extension and steam main to Jarratt Hall would improve the figures. The Project Officer was working hard on events and communications. They were also in discussion with the City Council about bins available for halls of residence. 9 tonnes a month was now being recycled through the mixed recycling scheme.
Noted: HAS had generally scored well in the staff survey reflecting a high level of communication around environmental activity.
Reported: The Guild had received Gold in the Green Impact scheme last year and would be aiming to get Gold again this year. They had recently introduced pooled printing, taking out the individual printers, as well as removing bins from the offices.
Noted: The Guild Sustainability Strategy document had never been sent through. Mr Sumner would follow this up and aim to get the document signed by Guild Council.
Action: Mr Sumner
Received: IT Carbon Action plan 2011/12 (2 years)
Reported: This document was part of the five-year strategy for IT. This was a high profile programme of initiatives intended not just for IT Services but for all IT used across campus.
Noted: Good baseline figures for IT usage were not available. A decrease in College IT-based carbon emissions may lead to an increase in figures for IT Services due to virtualisation, but this would still be an overall improvement in efficiency.
Further noted: An app had been developed for students to direct them to available computer clusters. This may ultimately enable individual clusters to be switched off if they were not in use.
11/30 Annual report to UEB
Received: Sustainability Task Group report for the period 2010/11
Noted: The report would go to UEB in November to coincide with the CM data. Provisional figures showed a reduction of 600 tonnes on the previous year – this was only 1.2%, not 2% which was the target. The steam main had not yet impacted on these figures but would count towards the figures for 2011/12. The figures would be combined with the draft report of work progressed and circulated for comments. Any comments on the report should be sent to Dr Shields.
Action: Dr Shields, all.
11/31 Any other business
Carbon reduction commitment
Noted: This had cost £260k between April 2010 and March 2011. A league table would be out this autumn. Mr Gregory thought the University would be relatively well placed this year but that its position might vary in the future.
11/32 Date of next meeting
A meeting would be arranged for December.
Hi my name is Abby Levy and I’m your Ethical and Environmental officer for the coming year.
I firstly want to apologise for my late blogging I’m terrible when it comes to technology, but I’m learning fast
Anyways I just wanted to say hi and that I am looking forward to what this year has to offer. Nothing is more important than the world around us and I can’t wait to start having an impact on it. (hopefully with the help of you guys.)
So I wanted to let you know in brief some of my interests for this coming term.
Firstly, having lived in Selly Oak for just under 2 weeks, I am already shocked at the lack of recycling facilities and the mess on rubbish collecting days. Even though it is going to be a hard task I’m going to speak with the local council and work with the uni and guild in trying to resolve it.
Freshers, I’ve not left you out, I also want to make sure recycling facilities are available in each flat in uni accommodation, as I know most of you already have it.
Secondly having spent some of my summer educating kids about and interacting with refugees, I am inspired to organise some sort of educational event with guest speakers…watch this space.
I also want to boost involvement and presence of societies that are related to ethical and environmental issues.
As well as maintaining the amazing work that Laura my predecessor has set in place.
Finally, because I believe everyone can make a difference I wanted to try and include something small in each of my blogs that everyone can do to help stop climate change.
Make off the new on:
The average house in Britain has 12 items left on standby. By turning them off you could be reducing carbon emission and saving yourself cash. Turning your TV off standby for a year saves 20kg of carbon dioxide and other green house gases from being emitted.
Hope you all have a lovely start to your year.