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  News   Notices   60 secs  

Celebration of Sustainability

Staff and students involved in sustainability and Green Impact projects around LSE were recognised in this year's annual Celebration of Sustainability.

  Join the debate
The School has launched a new blog -
Sustainability at LSE. Featuring news and views from across the School, the blog aims to put LSE’s sustainability work into a global context
  Analiz Vergara is particularly fond of taking walks in the rainforest or canoeing down a river at night time, and would start a seed fund to finance environmental research and internships around the world if she was Director for a day.  
  news   notices   60 secs  
  2 July 2013  





A fifth First for LSE in 2013 People & Planet Green League

On Tuesday 11 June, LSE was awarded a First in this year’s People & Planet Green League, which ranks all UK universities on their environmental and ethical performance.

This is the fifth year running that LSE has been awarded a First. The School came 22nd in this year’s league – a rise of 20 places from its 2012 ranking of 42nd.

LSE Director Professor Craig Calhoun said: “This is terrific news. It is always pleasing to rank well in league tables and our rise to 22nd most environmentally and ethically friendly university in the UK is a great accomplishment. As always, however, there is still much to do and we will not rest on our laurels. LSE still faces challenges in continuing to reduce its carbon use, but as our improved ranking shows, if the School community continues to work together we can achieve positive results.”

Louise Hazan, who compiled the People & Planet Green League, said: “LSE thoroughly deserves its First Class ranking this year and is helping to drive up environmental and ethical standards for the higher education sector as a whole. Its success in reducing waste and effective ways to engage staff and students in the transition to sustainability is exemplary. We congratulate LSE on listening to its students, who are quite rightly demanding greener degrees and that the university tackles issues like climate change head on.”

For the full Green League, click here.

To coincide with the release of the Green League results, LSE sustainability projects officer Jon Emmett joined a Guardian web chat on how students can make their universities greener.

















  Celebration of Sustainability

LSE's annual Celebration of Sustainability was held on Friday 10 May to recognise and reward staff and students involved in Green Impact and sustainability projects at LSE. 

Bob Ward (pictured) from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment hosted the event, and prizes were presented by School Secretary Susan Scholefield, NUS Green Impact officer Charlotte Barrow, LSE alumnus Nandini Basuthakur and Kash Naik from Student Switch Off.

Green Impact results

Now in its fourth year at LSE, Green Impact was a resounding success. This year, 50 departments signed up to Green Impact, 43 staff and student auditors were trained up with IEMA approved auditor training, 15 student Green Impact Project Assistants worked hard to support Green teams, and four departments took part in a pilot of the new Green Impact Excellence Award.

The top scoring Green Impact team this year was the Grantham Research Institute, with Green Impact Excellence Awards going to the Department of Mathematics, ODAR, LSE Estates Division and LSE Catering. A full list of results can be found on the celebration webpage.

Outstanding contribution

Special recognition awards went to staff members David Scott and Dr Kira Matus and to students Robin Ray and Margaux Wehr for making outstanding contributions to sustainability this year.

Recycling League results

The hotly contested Recycling League was topped by three departments who achieved 100 per cent correctly sorted waste at audits in March. These were the Gender Institute, the Department of Statistics and the Department of Mathematics. Each department took away a recycled hamper stuffed full of Fairtrade goodies.

Thank you!

LSE Catering provided delicious organic, seasonal refreshments and the Jadamari String Quartet from the LSESU Music Society provided excellent accompaniment to the reception. Thanks go to all who participated in Sustainability projects this year.

To get involved next year, contact sustainability assistant Louise Laker,



    Join the debate - Sustainability at LSE blog launches

The first School run blog dedicated to sustainability, Sustainability at LSE, launched this month on Wednesday 5 June.

The blog aims to host news and views from across the School, and to put LSE’s sustainability work into a global context. You can read the latest posts and subscribe at 

Editors Jon Emmett,, and Louise Laker,, are looking for contributors from all walks of LSE life, so do get in touch to join the debate.

Tweets away!
@SustainableLSE has reached 264 followers!

    ISO 14001 re-certification

July will see the School audited to re-certify its ISO 14001 status, which it achieved in July 2012.

This is an international standard recognising LSE’s robust environmental management systems. It helps to put the Environmental Sustainability Policy into practice in the daily life of the School.

The School’s Environmental Management System has developed and matured over the last year, culminating in LSE’s rise up the Green League this week. We look forward to working with the auditor to see how we can continue to drive this progress even further in the year ahead.

    Flush to the future!

A new arrival is causing a stir in the Old Building.

Head of Maintenance Paul Franklin has installed a new loo in OLD.B15. This isn’t your bog standard toilet; it’s a revolutionary loo that only uses 1.5 litres of water to flush (as opposed to the conventional 9 litres). Propel Air: ‘the toilet reinvented,’ also boasts hygiene benefits as it only flushes when the lid is down.

The Estates Division needs your feedback in order to expand LSE’s toilet revolution. So gents, please take the time to visit the loo in OLD.B15, and send your feedback to

The water saving loo is all part of the challenge to reduce the School’s water consumption, as part of of LSE’s Environmental Policy.


Want to get involved? Join the LSE Sustainable Development Network

The LSE Sustainable Development Network (SDN) aims to engage the LSE community in better understanding and creating practical solutions to local, national and global sustainability challenges, and anyone interested in participating can join the network.

The SDN held its last summer session of the Sustainable Exchange Series (SES) on 24 June, to debate green investments and the standing of Goldman Sachs.

Over the past two months, nine student-run SES sessions have been organised at LSE to tap into pressing environmental problems. Almost 250 people attended, including LSE students, staff and alumni and an average of 2,000 people from all around the world (including Chile, the United States, Argentina, France, Ecuador, Germany, South Korea, Mexico, Spain, Colombia and more) are following the SDN's Facebook group on a weekly basis.

In the face of current challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, soil degradation and resource depletion there is a sound interest in sustainability across LSE's departments and beyond. In particular, the vast network of LSE alumni working on these issues all over the world shows us that universities have a role to play, not solely as knowledge providers but also as promoters of socio-environmental change.

Everyone is welcome to join the network so for more, see

The Sustainable Development Network want to hear from you. Please take a minute to complete a quick survey to help the network in their next steps: 


 Recycling round up

It costs councils £100 on average to collect and process each tonne of recyclable materials such as glass, cans or paper. It costs almost £130 to dispose of each tonne of non-recycled waste. Find out more facts about London here.
  Waste training for cleaners

In response to reports of problems with the bins, waste officer Richard Allen is visiting all buildings on campus to train cleaners in the different waste streams, putting correct liners in the correct bins and making sure that the right lids are put back on the right bins.

Richard is highlighting the importance of correctly sorted waste by using photographs of Mixed Recycling compactors containing rogue waste items. Incorrectly sorted items result in a charge to LSE for non-conformance and the waste being then disposed as if it were non-recyclable.

Immaculate bins are not just the concern of the cleaner, however, and it is down to every individual at LSE to correctly sort their waste. The cleaners are now reporting all instances of waste being placed in the incorrect bin. They will be letting Richard know the areas where bins are, the type of waste stream contamination they are finding and taking photographic evidence where possible.

Richard will then pay the offending areas a visit to audit the bins and meet with departmental managers or sustainability representatives. When he has worked his recycling magic on campus, Richard will start the process at the School's halls of residences.

For more information on how to recycle, see the signs above the bins or visit the Recycling webpage


Bins, bins, bins ... what do you think?

LSE has achieved zero waste to landfill as part of its implementation of its Environmental Policy on reducing waste and resource consumption.

The next challenge is to improve the quality of the School's recycling, and waste officer Richard Allen is looking for your comments and ideas about how to improve the bins and to make staff and student tip top waste sorting skills second nature. Email Richard at


 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. 

Vijay Kolinjivadi (MSc Environmental Policy and Regulation, 2009)

Tell us a bit about yourself?
My background was in ecological science and I made a sort of side step by joining LSE for my Masters in Environmental Policy and Regulation. The opportunities I had during and after my MSc have kept me on the path of sustainability science, with particular emphasis on ecosystem services. These ranged from an internship with the United Nations Environment Programme to a research consultancy with the Centre for International Forestry Research.

I am currently at McGill University in Montréal, Canada. From critical analysis of market-based policy tools for nature conservation, my PhD research takes an ecological economics (strong sustainability) perspective towards natural resource management.

Were you involved with any sustainable activities during your time at LSE?
While not directly involved in activities on campus, during my time at LSE I contributed to designing an environmental education programme for primary schools in the borough of Lambeth through 'Save our World'.

How has your time at LSE led to your current research interests?
I was introduced to an emerging conservation policy known as 'Payments for Ecosystem Services' during my Masters course at LSE. The knowledge I obtained from reading widely on this policy not only directed me to the topic of my thesis, but also inspired me to analyse this tool further through emerging opportunities in the field. I have decided to critique this policy and propose alternatives through my current PhD research.

If you could offer one piece of advice to LSE staff and students, what would it be?
Definitely invest the time to meet with your director of studies or tutor. This is important, not only for getting appropriate support during your course, but also for career guidance afterwards. Opportunities abound both on campus and in the City of London to apply the knowledge from your course to the real world.

    Make a difference
Eat your way to a sustainable lifestyle by choosing the food you eat by the time of the year.

Right now there’s plenty on offer (courgettes, aubergines, spinach, strawberries, lamb, crab, scallops, sea trout…) so there’s really no excuse. Find out more at Eat the Seasons.


 Residences round-up






  Students Switch Off to success

Students living in Sidney Webb hall of residence have won the 2012-13 LSE Student Switch Off energy-saving competition. Over this academic year, energy usage in the hall reduced by 8.5 per cent compared to the average usage over the last few years. Trevor Murtagh (pictured, left), Warden at Sidney Webb Hall, collected the award from Kash Naik (pictured, right) from Student Switch Off.

Together, LSE residents have reduced carbon emissions by 78 tonnes, which is equivalent to making 4,486,469 cups of tea! It just goes to show that small actions can make a real difference in the fight against climate change.

There are over 235 Eco-Power Rangers across all of LSE's halls of residences who have been switching off lights and appliances when not in use, putting lids on pans when cooking and not overfilling their kettles. Keep up the good work!




  Green Impact congratulations

Congratulations are in order for all the halls of residences for taking part in Green Impact this year. Rosebery Hall kept its position at the top of the table as the only hall to achieve a Gold Award, a testament to the hard work of the Green Impact team led by student Andrew Hughes.

Passfield Hall were hot on their heels with a Silver Plus Award; Northumberland House and Carr Saunders achieved Silver; while Bronze Plus Awards went to Bankside and High Holborn, a Bronze Award to Butler's Wharf and a Working Towards for Grosvenor House.


 60 Second Interview

      with..... Analiz Vergara

I am from Ecuador and am currently studying for an MSc Environmental Economics and Climate Change. I have been involved in motivating action for sustainable development since I was very young, through civil society and youth empowerment, and right before coming to LSE I was working in environmental foreign policy with the government of Ecuador promoting and negotiating proposals such as the Yasuni-ITT initiative and the Net Avoided Emissions mechanism for climate change mitigation.

I have been involved with the LSE Sustainable Development Network since it took its first steps a the beginning of this year, when I was able to present at one of the Sustainable Exchange Series (SES) sessions. It has been very exciting to see it grow so rapidly and progress to a global, multicultural network of people who are interested in bringing change through sustainability. I am hopeful that the upcoming generations of students will keep the ball rolling and take advantage of this platform.

What would you do if you were LSE Director for a day?

I think universities have a strategic role to play with current environmental challenges around the world, and LSE should embrace its potential as an institution which can facilitate change in society through the creation of knowledge to promote sustainable development. If I was director for a day I would start an interdepartmental initiative to 'understand the causes' of environmental degradation at the local, national and international level, its links with socio-cultural issues and economic implications. In particular, I would propose the creation of a seed fund to finance environmental research and internships around the world, carried on by LSE researchers and students in collaboration with communities and local agents, on issues such as climate change adaptation in the developing world. I would also focus on the importance of linking entrepreneurship with sustainability through the promotion of environmental start-ups around the world.

What would be your ideal holiday?

My ideal holiday would involve travelling for a month around the four nature regions of Ecuador, the Amazon, the Andes, the coast and the Galapagos Islands, visiting the protected areas and also the different communities that live alongside incredible biodiversity sites. I am particularly fond of taking walks in the rainforest or canoeing down a river at night time, because even though it can be somewhat scary, it is often the moment when you discover the most amazing creatures. Parts of the Amazon are one of the few places in the world where light pollution will not ruin your view of a starry night. 

What change would you like to see in the world in 50-100 years' time?

I would like to see societies which have come to terms with new and more resilient definitions of development, which operate within the ecological and physical boundaries of our planet. I would like to see developing countries transitioning out of an economy based on the extraction and exploitation of natural resources towards an economy based on knowledge, and I would like to see a world where the potential for behavioural change is realised in the face of challenges such as climate change.

What is your favourite film?

I love The Matrix - watching it as a teenager blew my mind. I find it incredibly entertaining yet profound in the questions that it poses to the spectator. Another one of my favourites is Pan's Labyrinth, a must see if you are into magical realism.

What do you see the Sustainable Development Network achieving in the next couple of years?

The Sustainable Development Network (SDN) must keep growing, as it could become one of LSE's strengths in the area of sustainable development in theory and practice around the world. The network has been designed as a space for students, academics, staff and alumni to connect and work together to understand and bring to light creative solutions to the environmental challenges our societies face.

The network is a means to an end, and an end in itself. By taking advantage of the incredible diversity at LSE, the SDN will become a community of individuals around the world who care about sustainability and are willing to take action on these issues across borders. We have already seen great interest from students, staff and alumni in our nine SES sessions and through our online network this year, and we will continue to support the network when we become alumni ourselves. Our hope and invitation is for students at LSE (both undergraduate and postgraduate) and professors to continue to promote the development of the network from inside the institution. Everyone is welcome to get involved in this exciting initiative - if you would like to be a part of the network coordinator, Cristobal Barros at




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 Green Impact Leaders who take active roles in the School's work in this area. A list of Green Impact Leaders is online here.