1. UoNSU: A Sustainable SU

Proposed By: Ellie Mitchell (UoNSU Community Officer 2017/18)
Passed on 10th May 2018. (434th Union Council)
Protected until 10th May 2020.
Primary Officers: Community & Environment and Social Justice


To mandate the Community Officer and Environmental and Social Justice Officer, with appropriate staff support, to form a Sustainability Working Group to review the work of the Students’ Union in terms of its sustainability and ethics.

To mandate the Sustainability Working Group to create a Sustainable S.U. Strategy document which shall be presented to Democratic Procedures Committee for formal approval and which shall have the standing of a Guidance Document within the governance of the Union. The Working Group should review all areas of Union activity and its findings and recommendations should come with clear timeframes for delivery. The Strategy should be reviewed annually and updated as necessary to reflect progress, or lack of, and reprioritise work.

To become an NUS Green Impact Students’ Union (GISU) accredited Union, rated ‘Excellent’. The Sustainability Working Group shall be the coordinating body for this purpose.


Our Union already has Waste and Recycling Guidance Document that gives broad statements of values – this motion seeks to underpin that document with an active Working Group and provide a proactive strategy for implementation and growth of UoNSU as a sustainable SU.

Who we are and how we do things should be reflective of the progressive values our Union holds, lessening our environmental impact and making choices that make a positive difference to the world; we need to think globally, and act locally.

Nearly 100 other students’ unions nationally have become NUS GISUs, and we should be working towards the best possible ranking in their accreditation, learning from others and applying that knowledge to become as a leader in the sector for sustainability.


Our Waste and Recycling Guidance Document can be found on the website, and its key points including focussing on reducing waste and putting sustainability at the heart of our work.

NUS Green Impact Students Union info can be found here: https://sustainability.nus.org.uk/green-impact

To become an NUS GISU we will need to have a Working Group to coordinate the work. It will be a broader piece of work than just reviewing recycling opportunities. As their own website says:
"Although it’s called ‘Green Impact’ it’s not just about planting trees or getting your recycling in order, sustainability is a lot more than that, touching on issues of equality, community, curriculum reform, campaigning and much more. Our vision is that through sustainability initiatives on campus alongside the content of the taught curriculum, students will graduate from higher education being equipped to deal with the global challenges we currently face."

2. Food Waste Collection Bins

Passed on 28th March 2019. (437th Union Council)
Protected until 28th March 2021.
Primary Officers:Environment and Social Justice Secondary Officer: Community Officer

What is your policy idea? What would you like the Students' Union to do?

My policy idea is to place food waste collection bins around campus. On-campus there are general waste bins and recycling bins, however there are no food waste bins. I always see so much food being put in the general waste bins when it would be so much more useful to place them in food bins. The benefits of food waste bins include reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfills and also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Why is this something you believe the Students’ Union should be working on?

I think the Student Union should work on this because trying to reduce waste and trying to help the environment is so important. As well as this it will look great for the university and the Student Union as it will show people how environmentally aware and friendly the university is. In addition, it is a relatively easy process of placing bins around campus.

Have you consulted anyone about this idea?

No, the Student Union is the first step I have taken as I believe the Student Union will take this matter seriously and hopefully help to make great changes.

3. Climate Emergency

Proposed By: Lee Taylor (ESJ Officer 2019/20)
Passed on 7th November 2019. (439th Union Council)
Protected until 7th November 2021.
Primary Officer: Environment and Social Justice

Union Council notes:

The impacts of climate breakdown are causing serious damage around the world.

The ‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C’, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October 2018, describes the enormous harm that a 2°C average rise in global temperatures is likely to cause compared with a 1.5°C rise, and confirms that limiting global warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action.

A number of governments, local authorities, and higher education institutions have already passed ‘Climate Emergency’ motions.

Nottingham City Council have declared a Climate Emergency and have set a city-wide target of carbon neutrality by 2028.

Union Council believes:

A state of emergency exists surrounding changes to the climate and to the ecological balance of the world around us.

The inability to tackle these issues may cause significant issues to the operation of the Union in future years.

The uncertainty surrounding the climate can be damaging to a student’s wellbeing, and can negatively affect their University experience.

Union Council resolves:

University of Nottingham Students’ Union shall declare a state of climate and ecological emergency.

The Union shall devote resources to mitigating its impact on this.

The Union shall work with the University and local authorities to raise awareness of, and better tackle, the climate emergency.

The Union shall sign the SDG Accord and strive towards the Goals within.

The ESJ Officer and the ESJ Network shall run awareness campaigns surrounding the climate emergency and the steps students can take to tackle it.

The Union shall develop and publish a Sustainability Action Plan to commit long-term goals and strategies in tackling the climate emergency.

The Union shall take all steps towards becoming carbon-neutral in all measures within its control by no later than 2028, and striving to do so as early as is feasible.

The Union shall publish annual sustainability reports detailing its impact as an organisational entity, including the impact of affiliated student groups and annual carbon audits which capture both the charity and its trading subsidies.

The Union shall divest any investments in fossil fuels, armaments, and entities which themselves invest in these.

The Union shall work to provide students with the necessary options available to live a more sustainable lifestyle during their time at University.

4. Student Leader Elections Leaflets

Proposed By: Lee Taylor (ESJ Officer 2019/20)
Passed on 6th February 2020. (440th Union Council)
Protected until 6th February 2022.
Primary Officer: Environment and Social Justice

Secondary Officer: President


Union Council notes:

According to statistics published by the government of the United Kingdom , 4.7 million tonnes of paper and cardboard was wasted in 2017.

The Union has declared a state of climate and ecological emergency in a previous policy at Union Council.

The Union Strategy includes commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and an alignment to be responsible.

According to conversion factors published by the government of the United Kingdom , the production of one tonne of paper has a conversion factor of 952.68kg of carbon dioxide equivalent gases (CO2e). For recycling, the conversion factor is given as an additional 21.354kg, while landfill yields an additional 1041.888kg CO2e.

Both the current and previous Environment and Social Justice Officers were elected on campaigns which advertised themselves as paperless, and used no leaflets.

The current Environment and Social Justice Officer pledged to work to ban the use of leaflets in elections as part of their successful election campaign.

According to information collected by Oberlo , 90.4% of ‘millennials’ are active users of social media, and 73% of marketers believe social media is effective for their business.

Union Council believes:

Social media marketing is becoming increasingly important in the modern age.

Candidates in Student Leader elections should generally uphold the values of the Union except where their manifesto stands in opposition to existing values and/or policies.

Single use promotional materials such as leaflets are discarded at the end of the campaigns period, and as such are a significant contributor to the Union’s environmental footprint.

Removing the need for candidates to purchase and distribute leaflets will free up resources in their campaigns budget for other opportunities, such as social media marketing.

Union Council resolves:

The Union shall commission a review of our elections practices which will investigate and assess both the sustainability of, and equitable access to our elections. The Union shall then endeavour to implement the recommendations of this review by the end of the 2019-2020 academic year.

The Union shall encourage candidates in Student Leader Elections to use social media and physical presence marketing, and shall publish information on how to maximise the effectiveness of this.

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