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Environmental sustainability

Delivering our mission of improving health worldwide in a sustainable way

Energy and Carbon Management Plan

In response to the UK Parliament declaring a climate change emergency in May 2019, we developed a comprehensive energy and carbon management plan with a commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030. Find out more about the plan and work being taken forward by our staff community to deliver it.

Bloomsbury Green sustainability performance dashboard
Building and services

Our commitment to continuous environmental improvements through the ISO 14001 environmental management system (EMS) ensures we keep looking at ways of reducing our environmental impacts and carbon emissions resulting from our activities and operations.

In 2019, food served in our cafés and at catered events was redesigned to feature a ‘Planetary Pick’ menu that provides a healthy diet which also minimises environmental damage to our planet.

Alongside these and other efforts, LSHTM jumped 66 places in the People & Planet University League between 2016 to 2019 and is now 52nd out of 154 UK universities for environmental and ethical performance.

The MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM is also leading the way in solar power use. Officials from the Gambian Government’s Ministry of Petroleum & Energy and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization attended the historic inauguration of a solar power generation system at MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM - the biggest of its kind in The Gambia. It will produce 920 megawatts per annum, reducing energy bills by 25% and cutting 1,250 tons of annual carbon emissions. The initiative was also highlighted by the Gambian Government at COP25 in Madrid.

Research

In 2019, we launched a new Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health to identify solutions to the impact of environmental change on human health. The Centre builds on 25 years of LSHTM environment-health research, with immediate focus on healthy and sustainable cities of the future, halting the spread of infectious diseases, and food systems that provide healthy and sustainable diets for all. Alongside the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM, the Centre co-hosted the West African Planetary Health Conference in 2020.

Meanwhile, the Planetary Health Network grew to become a community of more than 100 early career researchers across LSHTM, running debates and discussions to collaborate on improving the health of people and the planet.

Policy

Prof Alan Dangour was the specialist advisor to the UK Government’s Environmental Audit Committee for the inquiry on planetary health. The resulting ‘Our Planet, Our Health’ report published by the House of Commons highlighted how climate change could affect the health and well-being of the UK’s population. Contributions were also made by Professor Sir Andy Haines, Professor Charlotte Watts, Professor Chris Whitty and Professor Claire Heffernan.

Dr Rosie Green joined the Advisory and Academic Panels working on the first citizen's Climate Assembly UK.

Bloomsbury Greenthing

LSHTM, Birkbeck and SOAS have a joint sustainability team which dedicated to enhancing environmental improvements across the three partners. Bloomsbury Greenthing is jointly funded by all three institutes and work programmes are agreed annually based on the projects under development and other marketing, awareness raising and training needs. This includes enhancing improvements across the institutions inclusive of sustainability projects within the estates and maintenance teams.

Learn more about Bloomsbury Colleges Environmental Sustainability (pdf).

Sustainability themes

Catering

LSHTM is a Fairtrade accredited University. We are committed to supporting Fairtrade in the products we procure and are seeking new ways to incorporate and promote Fairtrade across catering and other services. ​

The Seacole Social Cafe on Tavistock Place is committed to sustainability in its operations. Keepcups are on sale and disposable cups are compostable Vegware types

Eco-friendly cleaning products are also used to keep areas clean and fresh without the use of harsh, synthetic chemical solvents.   

The Refectory and Seacole Social Cafe offer free water refills, and everyone has access to the dedicated fountains across Keppel Street Building, and Tavistock Place.  

LSHTM Fairtrade policy statement Refectory offers sustainable food choices

Business travel

As highlighted in our Energy and Carbon Mamangement Plan, business travel is a big part of our carbon emissions. We are committed to making changes in this area, in order to achieve our goal to be net-zero carbon in 2030 we had to look very closely at our travel trends. 

We have just finished collecting data from our travel survey. This will help us analyse the pre-COVID-19 business travel trends and to plan for a more sustainable future. 

Waste and recycling

We have an ongoing initiative to reduce total waste volumes and increase the percentage of recycled waste. Our Environmental Policy endorsed by the Bloomsbury Colleges commits the partners to “Minimise the impact and use of natural resources by reusing materials, recycling and reducing waste to landfill".​

The Colleges are now in the process of revising their waste contractors based on the London Universities Purchasing Consortium sustainable waste framework guidelines in order to ensure:

  • Efficient segregation of waste streams and zero waste to landfill
  • Accurate waste data to be provided on a regular basis

​LSHTM with other partners are continually raising awareness of staff and employees to ensure waste produced is reduced and recycling rates are increased. Thinking before purchasing is central to this effort.

  • Our Waste Management Policy and supporting guidance confirms how the School manages all waste streams arising from all its business activities in addition to highlighting opportunities for increasing re-use and recycling.
  • Download our recycling guide and never be confused again.

We are committed to improving our waste management following the guidance in the new Energy & Carbon Management Plan.

 

Commuting

LSHTM encourages all staff to choose environment-friendly means of commuting. 

Staff members are entitled to apply for the Cycle to Work Scheme - a UK government initiative providing a tax free benefit on the cost of a new bike and equipment. ​

We review our options regularly and are happy to implement innovations that would help staff and students to choose a greener commute. Currently, we are working on new schemes, the information will be available on this page once approved.  ​

Below you can find tips and advice on cycling and walking routes.

Sustainable purchasing

Purchasing is one of the areas where we had to change our approach. Having a lot of suppliers on our books meant too many deliveries and as a part of Bloomsbury Colleges Group, we are looking into consolidating some of them. 

We are also working on a new purchasing policy. More information will be provided on this page during the process of implementation of changes.

Sustainable laboratories

We recognise the value of laboratories in perpetuating world class research, however labs can have some negative operational impacts. Particularly, they are often attributed to high energy and water consumption (up to 10x more energy per square meter than non-laboratory areas), as well as hazardous and non-hazardous waste generation compared to other sites across the Bloomsbury Colleges.

Working with operational and academic partners we are committed to improving sustainability practises across all laboratories, which in turn will create safer working environments, and increased operational efficiency.

Collectively across labs there are opportunities to have an overarching positive impact on the environment, economy and society.

 

infographic image of sustainability statistics from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine