Sustainability a key priority for LSE

2021/22 saw a full and vibrant return to campus for the first time in 2 years, with sustainability remaining one of the key priorities for the School.
- Minouche Shafik, LSE President and Vice Chancellor
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Artist's impression of Firoz Lalji Global Hub which will be LSE's first net-zero building

LSE’s annual Sustainability report 2021/22, published today (13 March), highlights the School’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability and tackling the climate crisis.

Driven by the School’s senior leadership team, the report illustrates how sustainability has been integrated into key areas across the university including education, research, engagement and leadership, investment and collaboration – as set out in LSE’s Sustainability Strategic Plan.

Students and staff have been at the heart of all decision-making processes around sustainability and there has been ever-growing engagement with sustainability across the community. This includes the funding of nine projects through LSE’s Sustainable Projects Fund, awarded to student and staff-led projects with green credentials.

For the ‘Our School’ (campus operations) theme, LSE has been sector-leading in making positive changes. In 2021, LSE was named the first carbon neutral verified university in the UK for all its measured emissions. Then in 2022, the School was ranked second in the world in the “sustainable institutions” category in the QS World University Rankings for Sustainability 2023.

In early 2022, LSE opened its newest facility, the Marshall Building. Home to several academic departments as well as a sports centre, music practice rooms and a café, the building was awarded BREEAM Excellent rating for its design. This is a widely recognised score measuring a building’s energy efficiency, insulation, and sustainability credentials.

The School also recently announced the winning design for its next construction project, The Firoz Lalji Global Hub, on the site on of 35 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, will be LSE’s first net-zero building. This means the building’s carbon emissions will be transparently calculated, avoided or reduced; and residual emissions offset, so net carbon emissions equal zero.

 Other achievements highlighted in the report include the introduction of LSE’s Future Ways of Working strategy. This, coupled with the School’s Digital Smart campaign, urges the LSE community to stay less reliant on printing and business travel, collaborating online where possible and embrace blended working principles so that the community works together more effectively to reduce our environmental impacts.

In 2021, the School introduced a carbon impact labelling across its catering outlets. This system helps categorise dishes to assess their carbon impact. Accordingly, beef and lamb are rated high carbon, chicken, dairy and pork are medium and plant-based options and fish are low carbon.

In the year August 2021 to July 2022, high carbon food sales accounted for only 3.5 per cent of all hot food sales at LSE outlets. Plant-based food choices are promoted in LSE cafés and restaurants with regular deals on these foods.

Going forwards, LSE is working to achieve one of its big targets of becoming net zero carbon by 2030 for direct energy use (scope 1 and 2) and by 2050 for all indirect emissions (scope 3), through continuing to deliver on the carbon reduction initiatives set out in the Sustainability Strategic Plan.

Commenting on the report, LSE President and Vice Chancellor Minouche Shafik said: “This past year was a challenging one for sustainability, as the world returned to being physically after the COVID-19 pandemic. At LSE, 2021/22 saw a full and vibrant return to campus for the first time in two years, with sustainability remaining one of the key priorities for the School as we adapted to a post-pandemic world.

“Critical to our success is everyone across the LSE community playing their part, so I encourage you to join us on this important journey to create a sustainable LSE and ensure the School makes its contribution in shaping a more sustainable world.”

Commenting Director of Estates at LSE, Julian Robison, added: “LSE’s sustainability journey continues, there’s much to be very proud of and much to do. The climate emergency won’t wait and neither will LSE!”