Green Impact
National Union of Students UK: Being the Change / Leading

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Green Impact


Green Impact is the National Union of Students UK’s flagship sustainability engagement programme. Initially a programme purely for students’ unions, now Green Impact is a national programme across UK tertiary education, and increasingly off-campus and internationally too. Each organisation that uses the Green Impact model develops their own bespoke programme creating a simple but sophisticated online tool to guide and monitor people’s progress. Green Impact toolkits cover traditional environmental management practices as well as social sustainability issues like Fairtrade, ethical investment, wellbeing and happiness. Each year bronze, silver and gold awards are given to teams,to inspire and recognise achievements.

Hopes and Challenges

We continue to green our campuses, curruculums and communities. Longitudinal research we’ve undertaken shows that 80% of UK students feel their institution should be doing more on sustainability and 60% want to personally learn more about it. We provide a framework and legitimacy for environmental champions to do more, helping break down departmental barriers and empowering people to become impactful change makers. Offering a fun way for staff and students to work outside the parameters of their everyday roles brings huge effects on morale and productivity.

Activity Description

Students receive training to enable them to support and verify each programme aiding their own understanding of sustainability and social justice as well as their professional development. Our current programmes and campaigns include: Green Impact (a framework for colllaboration and behaviour change); Student Switch Off (getting students into energy-saving habits in halls); Emissions Impossible (moving money out of fossil fuels to invest in renwables); Student Eats (growing food on campus); Responsible Futures (putting sustainability at the heart of curriculums); Dissertations for Good (creating academic work which contributes to social, economic & environmental good); SAVES (driving energy efficiency across Europe); Blackout (teaming up to a whole campus for a weekend); ESSA (European Students, Sustainability Auditing); Students’ Green Fund (for sustainability projects in student unions); SOS (a global network of student sustainability groups on 5 continents); WHOLE EARTH (an exhibition on sustainable development, available to campuses); Ethical Supply Chains (making sure our suppliers reflect our values); Research (world-leading sustainability research); Our Office (making it one of the greenest in the UK!)