#BathSpaClimatePledge - @BathSpaUni and its Students’ Union have joined forces to declare a #ClimateEmergency as they call on students, staff, and the local community to pledge their support for urgent action. 

The University and the Students’ Union have published their pledges online, showing their support for the increasing global calls to tackle climate change, and echoing the climate emergency declarations made by universities across the UK. 

Students, staff, and the wider Bath community are encouraged to make their own pledge to pave the way in making a necessary change. 

Bath Spa University Vice-Chancellor Professor Sue Rigby said:

“Declaring an emergency means that we can set big goals, but we can also set smaller ones so that everyone is a part of it. Sometimes people feel powerless in the face of something so big, but actually this is something where everyone makes a difference all the time. 

“It works on three levels, because we can help everyone who is a part of our community to change their own behaviours, but we can also celebrate and enhance the work that the Students’ Union and the University are already doing to address climate change. 

“By declaring an emergency we have something of a voice in the wider community and nationally to emphasise the fact that we want the Government to take this very seriously.”  

Sustainability is an important part of Bath Spa University’s culture – it has participated in the People and Planet Green League table since 2009, achieving two top 10 positions in that time. Last year, the University made improvements to reduce its reliance on single-use plastics, and all of its electricity has come from certified renewable resources since 2016. 

To date, the University has reduced its carbon emissions by over 50% per m2, increased recycling rates to 80% and improved biodiversity on its sites.  

Bath Spa Students’ Union President Jazz Nesbitt-Larking added: “We at the Students’ Union have been trying to make smaller changes that students can engage with, like buying your own reusable coffee cups. I think the small changes lead up to quite a big change that we can make as a community. This could be a really great start to creating a culture shift for us here at Bath Spa in terms of embedding it in every single thing that we do.” 

The Bath Spa Students’ Union has made sustainability a core commitment in how it works. The Students’ Union building has been fitted with water-saving devices and it, along with the University, has been awarded Fairtrade status, with hot drinks served in the SU bar coming from Fairtrade sources. 

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Two of Bath Spa University’s catering outlets also hold the Soil Association’s Silver Food for Life Award, recognising its commitment to using ingredients from sustainable and ethical sources. 

Bath Spa University pledge

At Bath Spa University we are very aware of our responsibility for protecting our environment and over the last 10 years have worked hard to address the climate impacts of our university. To date, we have reduced our carbon emissions by over 50% per m2, increased recycling rates to 80% of all University waste and improved the biodiversity on our sites through our biodiversity and habitat management plan. But, we want to do more, so we’ve set out a pathway to net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 in our new Carbon Reduction Plan.  

We will achieve this by: 

  • Making carbon reduction targets a strategic priority to be reported on annually. 
  • Continuing to improve the energy efficiency of our operations. 
  • Buying our electricity from 100% renewable suppliers. 
  • Maximising our use of renewable heat sources. 
  • Minimising our use of resources and our production of waste. 
  • Continuing to improve our recycling rates. 
  • Developing a socially and environmentally-positive offsetting scheme. 
  • Making sure that all our students are sustainability-literate and able to make informed decisions throughout their lives and able to influence others to do likewise. 

Our focus so far has been on our environmental impacts from gas, electricity and vehicle emissions. Going forward, we will be focussing much more widely and will use the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals as our framework to measure our progress. Beyond 2030 we aim to become carbon net-positive to help make the world sustainable in the long-term. This will be a whole-institution approach, through our procurement and investment, our curriculum and research, our business operations and our campus development decisions. 

Students’ Union pledge

At the Students’ Union, we feel passionate about all aspects of sustainability, particularly the environment and take responsibility for the climate issues caused heavily by the UK. We have a long way to go to become more sustainable, however, we know this is an emergency and we need to come together to do the best we can. This is our future and we need to act now.  

At the Students’ Union, we pledge to address the climate emergency with the following actions: 

  • A sustainability focus in our new 2024 strategy. 
  • We’re hoping to introduce a new Sustainability Rep role from 2020 onwards. 
  • We’ve recently introduced a Sustainability action group with students, Bath Spa University staff and Students’ Union sabbatical officers, to share best practice and make actions to ensure the Students’ Union are creating positive change. 
  • To reduce our carbon footprint by taking tangible steps such as phasing out single-use plastics and committing to sustainable transport. 
  • Offering more education and opportunities for students around sustainability such as workshops. 

 

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