Basket Login

Sustainability in Your Union

"Our vision is that, within the next 10 years, the Higher Education sector will be recognised as a major contributor to society’s efforts to achieve sustainability – through the skills and knowledge that its graduates learn and put into practice, and through its own strategies and operations”

- Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), 2005


Here at City Students' Union, we recognize the impact of our operations on the environment and we aim at a higher environmental performance by working closely with the Sustainability Team of City, University of London and local stakeholders. City Students' Union has repeatedly achieved awards in the NUS' Green Impact Programme (GISU) and this demonstrates the wide range of good practices, behaviours, and impacts for which we are responsible, which further environmental sustainability. 

According to People and Planet, The UK Higher Education sector:

  • Spends £3 billion annually on goods and services
  • Has 2 million students and over 300,000 staff
  • Consumes energy equal to 3 million tonnes of CO2 released into the atmosphere every year
  • Owns 9 % of all UK office space
  • Uses 16 million cubic metres of water annually
  • Is responsible for over 1 million journeys every day

CULSU recognizes our own environmental and social responsibility and is a proactive partner in the establishment of sustainability in the Higher Education sector in the UK, through numerous initiatives:

1. Green Impact Programme

Green Impact Student Unions (GISU) is an environmental accreditation and award programme by the National Union of Students (NUS).The programme aims to help Student Unions improve their environmental impact. Student Unions who do this are rewarded with a bronze, silver or gold accreditation from an external auditor. CULSU has been awarded with Gold for City University in 2012/2013 and is now eligible for Green Impact Excellence. We also took part in GISU in 2012/13 where we achieved Bronze award. In 2013/14 we received our first silver award and in 2015/16 we received a Gold Award!

2. Carbon Reduction

Energy Management 

A Combined Cooling, Heating and Power (CCHP) plant is installed at the Northampton Square site. This new £5 million project enables City campus to generate its own power, saving the university around £469,000 annually on utility costs, and will account for a third of the university's 43% reduction target.

Raise awareness and campaigns 

Signage and flyers are posted within CULSU premises to remind the staff members and their guests about the importance of using the energy they need and not more.

  • CULSU supports the Fossil Free Campaign "If it’s wrong to wreck the climate, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage. We’re all connected to institutions that claim to be looking out for the public good, from local councils and governments, to universities, public banks and religious institutions. Many of these institutions, however, continue to support the fossil fuel industry whether we know it or not. Given that we have to leave 80% of the proven reserves of coal, oil and gas in the ground in order to avoid catastrophic changes to our climate, these institutions have a responsibility to stop supporting an industry whose business model is based on wrecking our future".
  • CULSU runs a Meat Free Mondays campaign as one of our Green Dragons projects. The Environment Team, Sodexo, the Communications Team and the Students' Union Khrisna-Consciousness Society are helping us spread the word to City University students and staff about the numerous benefits of low-meat diets. 
  • CULSU, together with City Environment Team supports the annual Sustainable City Week. Sustainable City Week is City University's annual national of action on climate change and Education for Sustainable Development. Every year, students hold a week of activities to raise awareness and push forward their campaign demands for stronger action to tackle the climate crisis.

3. Waste and Recycling


At CULSU, we have recycling facilities accessible to all staff members.

  • Dry Recyclable Bins (kitchen and main office area)
  • You can dispose of all your mixed dry recycling in these bins, including:
  • Paper (all types, including paper towels, napkins and tissues)
  • Plastics (all types, including plastic bags, food containers and lids, but NOT cling film or bubble wrap)
  • Cardboard and drink cartons
  • Disposable coffee cups and lids
  • Biodegradable and compostable food packaging
  • Metal, tin, aluminium
  • Empty glass bottles and jars

Please ensure you empty all containers of food and liquids before putting in the dry recycling bins.

Food Waste Bins
  • All food waste (but not liquid waste) can be recycled in the food waste bins.
  • Food packaging should not go in the food bins, but can be disposed of in the dry recycling bins once they have been emptied of all food and liquids.

Batteries are collected and taken to the battery bins located at:

  • University Building (Level 1 main walkway, outside the Refectory)
  • Social Sciences Building (Ground floor, next to lifts)
  • Myddelton Street Building (Ground floor, reception area)
Paper Bin

(Main office area, next to the printer) A special bin has been allocated next to the printer where staff members can dispose of their used paper or reuse existing scrap paper.

Reuse Scheme

Green Dragons Waste No More collects all the unwanted items that students leave behind and make them available to other students. With this way, waste and consumption are reduced and a community of sharing and exchange is being established within the University.

4. Water Consumption

Provision of free chilled drinking water and less plastic bottles

CULSU supports the use of free water cooler machines through promotional material and by selling City-branded refillable water bottles. Free water cooler machines by are currently available at:

  • Tait Building (outside Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre Foyer)
  • Drysdale Building (outside Careers Centre)
  • College Building (ground level outside spiral staircase and next to AG13)
  • Social Science Building (lower ground level next to cafe and toilets)
  • Innovation Building (Law Library, first floor)
  • Cass Business School (7 locations at Bunhill Row, 2 at Chiswell Street, 1 at Longbow House)
  • Sports Desk (located on the corner of Goswell Road and Sebastian Street)
  • Bath Street (Eye Clinic, first floor)
Hospitality & Catering SERVE tap water

All water provided through in-house hospitality is filtered and bottled on site into reusable glass bottles. The Union orders water bottles through chartwells; they use the vivereau water system which means they reuse all of their glass bottles and the Union only pays for the purified water inside.

Reducing water consumption

Fun communication material is found next to every tap exit in the Union’s premises to remind its staff members to only use the water needed and not more.

5. Fairtrade & sustainable Food


City has been accredited as a Fairtrade University since 2010 by the Fairtrade Foundation. City Students' Union are proudly committed to supporting and using Fairtrade products and to educating our students and staff of the value of Fairtrade. City Students' Union sells only Fairtrade clothes and stationary in our shop and on our e-store. We also purchase Fair Trade clothes and food for our ongoing activities wherever possible. City Students' Union participates in Fairtrade Steering Group Committee, and helped to launch the Fairtrade Loyalty Card at City University in partnership with Sodexo catering. 

Sustainable Food
  • A few facts about the food sold at City
  • All cheese is vegetarian
  • All eggs are free range and sourced from the UK
  • All tuna is line and pole caught
  • We do not purchase any fish on the Marine Stewardship council 'Fish to Avoid' list
  • All chicken is sourced from the UK and 'Red Tractor Farm Assured'
  • All meat is endorsed with the 'Five Freedoms' concept and all our fresh beef is sourced from the UK
  • All fresh produce is seasonally sourced and menus promote seasonality
  • All milk is organic
  • All Hospitality coffee and breakfast tea is Fairtrade
  • All bananas are Fairtrade

CULSU aims to raise awareness around healthy and sustainable food through projects such as Green Dragons Meat Free Mondays.

6. Sustainable Transport

City Students' Union actively supports cycling and walking though promotional material and Green Dragons projects such as the Smart City Driver app that aims to reduce car driving environmental impact.

Some of the City initiatives are:

  • Secured bike parking shed (for 100 bikes) - located behind the Drysdale Building and accessible via Spencer Street. Access is via your University ID card, which must be registered and enabled at the Security Office just behind Main Reception.
  • Cycle-to-work scheme ( for staff wishing to obtain bikes and safety equipment for travelling to work. Enrolment is open each February, May, August and November. Contact Human Resources on 020 7040 3085 for further details or visit the staff intranet pages here.

All of the Union's guests are encouraged to use sustainable modes of transport in order to find themselves in City Campus. For more details, please click here.

8. Environmental Management

What is Environmental Management System?

An Environmental Management System or EMS is a framework put in place to help organisations to manage and reduce their impact on the environment.
An EMS includes an environmental policy as well as detailed plans and procedures to assist an organisation in managing its resources and preventing pollution.
The key aims of an environmental management system are to ensure an organisation reduces its environmental impact, improves it environmental performance and complies with environmental legislation. Environmental Management Systems can also help an organisation to save money through efficiency measures.

Our Environmental Management System 

The Union is currently working on its environmental policy which will be officially announced the spring of 2014

*Useful resources about the environmental schemes and activities within City University: City and the Environment 

We support a number of environmental focused student lead societies and groups, to join or find out more following the links below:

People and Planet
NUS Environmental 
NUS Snap it off Campaign 
NUS Students’ Green Fund


Sustainable City

To find out about City University London's commitment to sustainability you can visit Sustainable City on the University Website

© City Students' Union 2017.