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An LSE Celebration of Sustainability
LSE held a celebration of sustainability this week to honour the individual members of staff and Green Impact teams who have helped make the School a greener place.

  LSE maintains its First in Green League 2012
The School has been awarded a First, for the fourth year running, for its environmental and ethical performance in the People & Planet Green League 2012.

Margaret Newson, purchasing manager, is working on a sustainable procurement policy for the School, wishes that someone could make First Capital Connect run a decent service and would like smaller feet.

  news   notices   60 secs  
  27 June 2012  


Sola panels installed on the NAB


  Carbon reduction update

The LSE Carbon Management Plan continues to deliver projects to help reduce the School’s carbon footprint, which was 14,907t CO2e in 2010/11. This is a 2.7 per cent reduction from 2009/10 levels, but still higher than our 2005 baseline of 14,484t CO2e.

Over the Easter break, a 15kW Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit was installed in Old Building. CHP is an energy-efficient technology that burns fuel to generate electricity, and simultaneously harnesses the heat generated to heat a building, rather than letting the heat go to waste.

Back in March, solar panels were installed on roofs at the NAB, the Sportsground and on Carr Saunders and High Holborn halls of residence. These were completed in time to benefit from the ‘Feed-in Tariff’, a government subsidy for renewable electricity generation, before the government reduced the level of subsidy per unit of electricity produced in May 2012.

More solar panels will go up on the roofs of the Lionel Robbins Building and St Clements later in 2012, and upgrades to improve the efficiency of lighting in academic buildings will begin in July. These combined projects are forecast to save 273 tonnes of CO2e per annum.

A feasibility study was conducted to assess the potential to install solar-thermal heating. This involves channelling water through a network of pipes inside roof-mounted panels, so that warmth from the sun directly heats water that is then supplied to the rest of the building. (These are different from the solar photovoltaic (‘solar PV’) panels mentioned above, which turn solar energy into electricity.)

It was found that energy savings from solar thermal systems won’t pay back their capital investment for an estimated 20-40 years, so currently don’t appear a viable option – however, the Estates team will continue to review opportunities to take advantage of this technology.


An LSE Celebration of Sustainability 

LSE’s Celebration of Sustainability took place on Tuesday 26th June 2012. The event was hosted in the Shaw Library by pro-director Professor Janet Hartley and was introduced by Bob Ward of the Grantham Institute, with 70 people attending.

The third year of the Green Impact Awards at LSE has been the biggest so far, with 50 teams across the School signing up to take part over the year. Green Impact is an NUS project that helps university staff and students take small steps to enhance their department’s sustainability. Teams compete to win prizes for completing the most actions in their institution. LSE was one of 46 UK universities participating in 2012.

Thirty-seven teams from across the School submitted for and received awards. Congratulations to the Estates Division, which was awarded the Platinum award. For the full list of awards, click here

Special Award winners

This year’s Environmental Hero award was given to Sophie Offord for her work in the Grantham Research Institute to research the case for a School carbon offsetting policy, which is now being piloted by the Grantham Research Institute and LSE Cities.

The winner of the Best Energy Saving Idea award was the Estates Maintenance Team, led by Paul Franklin for the 'decommissioning of a set of heaters, providing measurable financial and carbon savings'.

The team with the best community initiative was the Students’ Union, whose reuse sales and food co-op helped others by providing cheap and ethically sourced food and second-hand goods and supported charities and an organic food co-op with the proceeds.

Highly commended awards went to Justine Rose from ODAR for organising her departmental National Vegetarian Week, Sam Charman, Residential Services, for his box reuse scheme and developing use of electronic marketing, the Grantham Institute, for its proposals to develop a formal carbon offsetting strategy, and Paul Franklin, Estates, for his ongoing sustainability work at LSE, including research to locally source supplies.

Congratulations to… students in Carr Saunders hall, who were the winners of Student Switch-Off for the second year running. The hall cut its annual energy use by 23 per cent through the behaviour change programme.

    LSE maintains its First in People & Planet Green League

The School has been awarded a First for its environmental and ethical performance in the People & Planet Green League 2012.

This is the fourth year LSE has achieved a First in the Green League. The School is ranked 42nd of the 145 universities featured in the table, joint second of the Russell Group universities and joint third of all universities in London. The School has slipped from its ranking of 22nd in the 2011 table. This is not due to a decline in performance, as LSE scored more points than last year. Other universities, however, have shown more significant improvement this year and so overtaken the School.

The Green League is produced by the People & Planet student campaign group and is published annually in the Guardian. It ranks universities on 13 environmental policy and performance-related criteria, including environmental policy, carbon management, ethical procurement and staff and student engagement.

LSE Director Judith Rees said: 'It is encouraging that LSE has maintained its First for the fourth year in a row so my thanks go to the committed staff and students whose actions have made this possible. The fact that we have slipped in the rankings, however, highlights the fact that we still face significant challenges. If we are to meet both our own, and government, targets, the whole School community must play its part. I hope that everyone will continue to bear in mind the importance of working as sustainably as possible for the future.' More

Did you know that Tetrapaks can be recycled at LSE? Many local authorities are unable to offer this service for their domestic waste collections, as Tetrapaks’ multiple layers of cardboard, plastic and foil are tricky to separate – so many of us have got used to throwing them straight in the bin. However, LSE’s contractor lets us recycle ours by collecting them in the green mixed recycling bins.

Grey waste containers
Remember that the only items that need to go in the grey waste containers are:
• Polystyrene.
• Sweet wrappers.
• Crisp packets.


Environmental Management System audits

The School is implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS) to help improve its environmental performance.

The EMS will be assessed by an independent body for accreditation under the international ISO 14001 standard on 24-27 July – certification will demonstrate that LSE has robust systems in place to manage its environmental impacts.

The EMS requires the School to establish a cycle of internal environmental audits, to verify that LSE complies with environmental law, and its own internal policies and procedures. The first audits were conducted in April by a team of volunteer staff and students, who received special training, boosting their own personal and professional development. The participation of a cross-section of the School also enhanced the transparency of the process, and fostered links between students and departments across LSE.

The audits highlighted a number of areas where the School is performing well, and where practice could be improved. This was beneficial, as it identified how we can make progress in future.

Our gratitude goes out to all the staff and student auditors, whose dedication and excellent work made the audits such a success. We now wait with bated breath for our external accreditation audit in July…


    Green roof installed on campus

LSE has installed a green roof on top of the Plaza Café, following a successful Sustainable Projects Fund (SPF) bid from three students. The roof was officially inaugurated on 31 May at a celebration attended by staff and students in the Plaza Café.  

The LSE Sustainable Projects Fund draws revenue from a 'tax' on bottled water sold in School catering outlets. The fund supports projects that enhance environmental sustainability on LSE's campus and beyond. SPF is managed by the Sustainable Futures Society, which was founded in 2009-10 in collaboration with LSE's Environmental Management Review Group. Students and staff have the opportunity to submit proposals to the fund each year - £12,000 was available in 2011-12 for sustainable initiatives.

Olivier Scialom, Sidharth Gopalan and Stanislav Bic entered their proposal to the SPF two years ago. The project was approved, and with help from Phil Newsham, project manager from LSE’s Capital Development team, the green roof has been successfully installed. Green roofs can help reduce the urban heat island effect, aid flood prevention by lowering surface water run-off rates and enhance urban biodiversity. The Plaza Café is a great long term living example of what is achievable using the SPF, and with only the occasional weeding and mowing needed, its long term maintenance is minimal!

    LSE roof gardens - an update

Summer has brought a host of new roof garden volunteers, and they’re ready to get going after the delivery of new planters for the Shaw Library roof garden. In early June, the Victoria plum tree planted for Dr Victoria Hands, former LSE head of environmental sustainability, produced fruit and the Shaw Library gardeners were also happy to report a fine garlic harvest.

Hayley Reed has taken on updating the roof garden Twitter feed so you can follow the gardeners and their progress at @LSEgardens.

The gardeners’ blog, with images and updates from LSE’s roof gardens, can be read here.

You can get involved too – to join the gardeners’ mailing list and find out more, contact Jane Secker:


Sportsground springwatch

This cutie (left) was snapped at the Sportsground, by head groundsman Steve Butter, back in the torrential rains of May. Steve says 'the wettest drought in living memory but the wildlife seems happy enough!'

Steve Butter has been working to enhance biodiversity at the Sportsground, including planting a wildflower meadow on a patch of scrub land. A full biodiversity survey to map out all of the greenery and wildlife at the School is due to take place later this summer. Watch out for updates on this in the autumn term.

    LSE welcomes 50,000 new residents

Last Thursday morning, LSE’s newest residents arrived – all 50,000 of them.

LSE’s second urban bee colony will occupy the rooftop of Connaught House, taking advantage of its new green roof as a food source for the bees, as well as other green ‘lungs’ in the Aldwych area. A busy summer will ensure that by August the beehives are filled with delicious honey!

The hives were installed in March this year, following the success of the beehives on the roof of Passfield hall of residence. They were financed by the LSE Sustainable Projects Fund, which supports sustainability projects on campus, and is administered by the Sustainable Futures Society.

Student and staff volunteers will care for the bees with help from bee expert Dr Luke Dixon, and support from the Estates Division. The LSE Beekeeping Society is open for all on campus who are interested in learning about urban beekeeping (‘apiculture’) and honey tasting.

Visit the LSE Bees Facebook page for info and updates.
To get involved in beekeeping at LSE, please contact Elisa de-Denaro-Vieira:




Waste segregation caption competition

Always segregate your waste properly – and remember that used Ford Fiestas always go in the green bins, never in the blue ones…

This is the first waste segregation caption competition. The best entries will appear in the next issue of Green News. Please send responses to: 
To jog your memory about how to dispose of waste at LSE, click here for more info.


 Green alumni


In this regular column we catch up with alumni involved in sustainable activities and find out how their time at LSE shaped their interest in sustainability. 

Liazzat Rabbiosi (MSc Environment and Development, 2007-08) is a programme officer at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

I work in the Sustainable Consumption and Production Branch, in the areas of product sustainability information and labelling, life cycle approaches to business management, and policy development. We work to create consensus among different players on solutions to environmental and developmental challenges, and build capacity in developing countries to help them implement effective solutions fit for their circumstances.

How did your studies at LSE relate to your current sustainability work?

At LSE I explored the links between economic development and environmental sustainability, modern policy and business approaches to sustainability, and their impacts and limitations.

I came to LSE as a mature student, having previously completed another master's course and having worked in the environmental sustainability field for a few years. I therefore knew exactly what I wanted to get from my studies and how it would help in my future career.

The knowledge that I acquired at LSE has been extremely helpful in my current work, and enriched me as a person. I am now more aware of the challenges that developing countries face in their pursuit of development, and trade-offs that exist between being green and their development aspirations. However, I am more convinced than ever that there is really no other choice than to develop sustainably.

How has this interest in sustainability carried on since leaving LSE?

Having spent a few years in Africa, I was overwhelmed by the ‘throw-away’ culture when I came to live in London. At Goodenough College, where I resided during my studies at LSE, I carried around my portable Thermos mug to fill with coffee at cafes. This was always surprising to the vendors, who were used to giving away single-use coffee cups!

When I worked at UNEP’s Nairobi office I was actively involved in the greening initiative at the UN compound, which introduced ‘green’ practices and spread awareness among my colleagues. I was also an active member of the development club ‘Elfu Bob’, which provided small amounts of funding collected from the voluntary contributions of UN colleagues to community-based projects in Kenya.

If you were to make one recommendation to current students and staff at LSE on sustainability, what would it be?

Start with yourself – make your contribution to sustainability. Although these actions are small individually, they have a large collective impact. This will send a signal to the market and policy arenas that we as a society want to progress.

    Make a difference
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 Residences round-up


Student switch off winners

Congratulations to Carr Saunders hall of residence, which has won the NUS Student Switch-Off competition for the second year running! Student Switch-Off is a national campaign, that “Harnesses student silliness to take simple steps to save energy” in 43 universities across the UK. Students living in residences compete to be the most energy efficient hall in the School. LSE has participated in the scheme since it began in 2008-09.

Congratulations also go to the Student Switch-Off campaign itself, which won a prestigious Ashden Award on 30 May. After a ceremony at the Royal Society of Geographers, all winners attended a round-table discussion on sustainability hosted by the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Ashden Awards recognise pioneering sustainability projects in the UK and developing countries. This year’s winners include the National Trust, The City of Ghent in Belgium, and a sustainable energy microfinance initiative in South India. The 2012 judging panel reads like a who’s who of sustainability, and includes Sarah Butler-Sloss (founder of the Ashden Trust), and Paul Ekins (Professor at UCL Energy Institute, and prominent green economy advocate).

So our congratulations go to both the national Student Switch-Off team, as well as LSE’s own students and residences staff, whose hard work made this possible.


End of term ReLove

Leaving halls this month? Look out for the opportunity to give your unwanted items a 'second life' after you leave LSE by 'ReLoving' them. Items can be donated for reuse at collection points in the SU East Building reception or in your hall's ReLove room. Please separate clean items into the different categories at the collection point.

We are currently seeking ReLove Volunteers to work with fellow students and halls management in the run up to the end of term, to encourage donations and help sort items for charity collection. To find out how you can help ReLove by volunteering in your hall, either contact your hall's reception or email in the SU.

Some items are resold to next year's student cohort, so your donations help fellow students following in your footsteps. Other items are given to charities, including those working with the homeless, the vulnerable in London and groups working in some of the world's poorest communities. In 2011, the residences collectively reused six tonnes of goods.


 60 Second Interview


with..... Margaret Newson

I have been purchasing manager at LSE since 2003 and am a member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. In a previous life, I was a qualified personnel officer in the NHS. I work in a team of six as part of the Purchasing Section in the Finance Division in Aldwych House.

I have drafted a sustainable procurement policy for the School ensure that the School’s annual spend on goods and services of around £52m per annum to is utilised in the most sustainable manner.  

Did you make it to the Chelsea Flower Show this year? What is your verdict?

Yes on RHS Members Day. It was a rather more low key affair this year; there were no real stand out gardens and a jug of PIMMS cost £20!

What is the strangest dish you have ever tasted?


If a genie granted you 3 wishes (and you could not request unlimited wishes!) what would you wish for?

1. Make First Capital Connect run a decent train service.
2. For Andy Murray to win Wimbledon (or indeed any Grand Slam)
3. Smaller feet

What book are you currently reading and which have you enjoyed most in the past?

John Major’s “More than a Game” the story of cricket’s early years. My favourite book from childhood is “Seven Little Australians” by Ethel Turner set in Sydney in the Victorian era; I loved the TV series shown on the BBC back in the 70s.




Want to know more?

If you have any questions about the sustainability work going on around campus or would like to become involved, why not contact one of the many Sustainability Champions who take active roles in the School's work in this area. A list of Staff Sustainability Champions is online here.