Ethics and Environment Policy – 14 May 2014, AGM (Ref: 1314P26)
This Union Notes:
- That sustainability is defined as: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland, 1987)
- The Ethical and Environmental Policy was last ratified in June 2010
- That in The Union Plan to 2015, two of SUSU’s ten values are ‘sustainable’ and ‘responsible’
- That in The Union Plan to 2015, we pledge to: “systematically test the sustainable impact of our events, services and activities – economically and environmentally, reducing impact where we can” (18.1)
- The Sustainability Zone was created in July 2013 and is responsible for ensuring a balance of social, environmental and economic development within SUSU and for our members.
- ‘Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased’ IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis.
This Union Believes:
- We should embed ethical and environmental (E&E) principles into all aspects of our work
- The presence of a detailed E&E policy will be used when making decisions within the Union
- It is our duty to be socially responsible at a local, national and international level.
- There are currently several policies relating to ethics and the environment. Condensing these into one policy gives clarity on the expectation of the organisation and its members.
This Union Resolves:
- To embed this policy into all areas of SUSU.
- To use this policy to educate its members on the importance of ethical and environmental issues and to encourage them to act on their responsibility to behave in a sustainable way
University of Southampton Students’ Union (SUSU) recognises that its activities have both short and long term ethical and environmental implications at local, regional and global levels. SUSU acknowledges that there are environmental limits that should not be breached, in order to avoid serious or irreversible damage. SUSU strives to minimise the negative ethical and environmental impact of its activities, and to promote higher ethical and environmental standards. We strive to be a leading union on environmental and ethical action and campaigning, with a reputation for exceptional innovations within the sector.
The ethical and environmental policy applies to all premises, members, activities and services within SUSU. In order to achieve this, SUSU has the following key objectives:
- Waste Management
1.1. To reduce the consumption of all materials
1.2. To minimise waste production as far as is practicable
1.3. To re-use or recycle waste wherever possible
1.4. To regulate the treatment and disposal of residual waste
1.5. To discourage littering
1.6. All Union Committee papers to be in electronic form as a first option and only in physical form by request
- Energy and Water
2.1. To make efficient and environmentally responsible use of energy, including everyday use and making best use of the building’s energy infrastructure.
2.2. To reduce the consumption of fossil fuels through improved energy efficiency
2.3. To minimise avoidable pollution to air, land and water
2.4. To use renewable energy sources where possible
2.5. To make efficient and environmentally responsible use of water, including everyday use and making best use of the building’s energy infrastructure.
3.1. To follow best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation in any new or continuing building maintenance and development.
4.1. To encourage methods of transport by staff and students which minimise environmental impact
4.2. To encourage the use of public transport
4.3. To maintain and improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists to include maintaining and improving safe bicycle storage, shower facilities and safe pedestrian routes at all Students’ Union sites
- Purchasing of Good and Services
5.1. To procure ethically and environmentally responsible goods and services
5.2. To purchase fairly traded goods and services wherever possible.
5.3. To source all not for sale hoodies and t-shirts for sabbatical officers, volunteers, campaigns and elections ethically; for example fair-trade, organic cotton or hemp, and made in factories adhering to international labour organisation’s standards.
5.4. To ensure any suppliers we work with meet the ‘Business Ethics Policy’; following the priorities set by students
5.5. To purchase recycled or re-usable office supplies in SUSU wherever possible
5.6. Ensure our procurement practices meet the ethical and environmental objectives in the other sections of this policy.
6.1. To ensure that the activities of SUSU are not detrimental to Biodiversity
6.2. To enhance local greenspace and wildlife wherever possible.
- Awareness & Action
7.1. To educate our members in all areas of this policy to increase their awareness of their ethical and environmental responsibilities
7.2. To work with other agencies locally, nationally and internationally to further ethical and environmental good practice
7.3. To embed the green label project into SUSU
7.4. To enable all members to act sustainably and to engage with environmental and ethical campaigns and events.
The Students’ Union will continuously seek to improve its understanding of its impact on the environment and fulfil its role in developing a sustainable future.
The responsibility for the implementation of this policy lies with all SUSU members as all staff and students have a role in ensuring that their activities meet the above objectives. The policy will be championed by the Students’ Union Executive (particularly the Vice President Welfare and the Ethics and Environment Officer).
Individuals and all clubs and societies are expected to abide by the rules and requirements made under the authority of this policy.