Aberdeen University Students’ Association (AUSA) hereby declares a climate emergency. This decision was made following a motion passed at the Student Council in October 2019. A declaration of climate emergency is the first step to acknowledge the situation but action must follow. We are following other Universities, Student Unions and public institutions in acknowledging current crisis and committing to take action.
If you want to get involved in working with us to tackle the climate crisis, you can join existing groups within AUSA, e.g. join the E&E Committee. Get in touch with them through their Facebook page or email your VP for Communities.
Read the full Declaration of Climate Emergency here.
Students’ Union Accreditation
Green Impact Students’ Unions
For 2021-22 the Students Union increased our ranking from "Very Good" to "Excellent"! This is the second consecutive increase in ranking, and we now rank in the highest possible tier.
NUS SOS-UK’s GISU is a comprehensive and broad measure of how well a Students’ Union is doing in Sustainability.
This illustrates how our campaigns, student activities, policies, operations, partnerships, understanding, and strategy are becoming more a more effective force for climate justice and sustainable development.
Find out more: Green Impact | Students Organising for Sustainability | Green Impact is SOS-UK's sustainability engagement programme for teams (nus.org.uk)
Carbon Literate Organisation
The Students’ Union was certified as a Bronze Carbon Literate Organisation 2020-2023.
To achieve this the Students’ Union’s staff team, attend a full day in-depth carbon literacy course in which they learn about the Causes & Impacts of climate change, what we can do and how to communicate this to others.
We also offer this training to students regularly! Keep an eye on the “What’s On” section of our website if you are interested!
Find out more:
Organisation - The Carbon Literacy Project
Fair Trade certified products
Union brew café stocks Fair Trade Sugar, Tea, Coffee and Chocolate. As well as meaning that these products are produced with higher sustainability standards than conventional agriculture, this also means that farmers in some of the worlds poorest countries can rely on a minimum price and a Fair-Trade premium.
Our top 5 Environmental impacts, and what we are doing to tackle them.
In 2019 AUSA declared a climate emergency following a motion voted on in Student Council. As such AUSA is committed to operating sustainably and reducing our environmental footprint wherever we can. The first step in doing this is assessing what impact we have. This is not an easy task as much of what we do is intertwined with the operations of the University or other partners. Therefore, some of the points below are based on educated estimates, which we hope to be able to back up with more data in the future.
Below you will see what we estimate our top five environmental impacts are, and what we are already doing or planning to do to reduce these.
While we don’t have data of exactly how much energy our office uses in isolation of the rest of the building, our busy main office is bound to be one of our highest energy consumers. We have made a guide for staff to save energy in the office and are making some operational changes to reduce the energy our office consumes. The University has a target and strategy of being carbon neutral by 2040, while we share our office infrastructure with the University our energy consumption and net footprint will be on the same road to net-zero.
While we are happy to be back on campus after a long period of homeworking due to the coronavirus pandemic. We recognise that having a flexible working policy contributes to a large reduction of emissions associated with rush hour traffic.
Union brew will be undergoing a phase of planning and redevelopment. As part of this we will be considering how it’s environmental footprint can be minimised, by referring to tools such as the SOS-Sustainable food guide
From “Freshers’ week” to “Kings Ball” AUSA would not be the same without events. There is much we can do however to reduce the environmental impact these have. Moving away from single items, reducing waste, and using sustainable catering options are all areas we can cut emissions. Watch this space for a sustainable events plan.
Of cause many exciting events are organised and run directly by Student Societies and Sports clubs. We run an annual sustainability course for committee members, to support with planning events sustainably amongst other actions.
Some travel cannot be avoided, this includes sending your elected sabbaticals and other delegates to represent you at national conferences. The best thing we can do to cut emissions is to avoid air travel where possible. This will be reflected in our business travel guide.
As travel is a scope 3 emission which happens off site, it may in the future be considered appropriate to offset these emissions in a local reputable offsetting program.
Sports and Societies Travel
With 202 vehicles hired in the year Feb 2021-2022 driving 51186 miles, the estimated
impact annual impact of AUSA’s sports travel is about 5.5 tCO2e. This will reduce over time as vehicles become more efficient and electric, we also encourage students to use U22 free bus travel where possible. It was measured by the AberGreen project that the student run SwapShop saved 15.2tCO2e by reducing waste and consumption in the period 2018-2020.