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Welcome to the Sustainability Newsletter - A condensed look at sustainability at the University of Leeds.

Welcome to the February newsletter! In this edition we showcase some of the amazing things happening right now and highlight ways in which you can get involved with sustainability both on and off campus. 

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Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade fortnight is here! It starts from the 27th of February – 12th of March. This year the theme is, Fairtrade Can, I Can, in support of Fairtrade Foundation strategy. The theme highlights the important role we can all play as individuals in making trade fairer in our daily lives - from buying coffees and smoothies, or eating delicious lunches at the cafes and the Refectory, to Fairtrade hoodies and T-shirts.

The University of Leeds has been committed to Fairtrade for over a decade and this year, we intend to make the fortnight more fun, and engaging. We are taking it on the road - going to key cafes around the University to raise awareness and offer samples of Fairtrade products. There will even be an opportunity to win a big hamper full of Fairtrade goodies! The Fairtrade Fair will be held in Parkinson Court on 7th March. On the 9th of March, we will be having a lively debate and speaker event night on "How Fair is Fairtrade?". We will also be serving delicious lunches, using Fairtrade ingredients, at the Refectory everyday, showing that Fairtrade is not just tea and coffee! 

In short,  there will be something for everyone, Fairtrade fortnight 2017 is not one to be missed!
Be Curious 2017

Be Curious Festival 2017 is taking place this year on Saturday 25th March in the Parkinson Building, University of Leeds. The day is set to be a great opportunity to celebrate some of the exciting, innovative and meaningful research students and staff are carrying out here at the University that has a direct or indirect influence on Leeds and Yorkshire.

This showcase event is open to all, staff, students and members of the public giving people the opportunity to get involved with interactive stalls and workshops running throughout the day! Some of the activities taking place on the day include: 
  • Activities to demonstrate new strategies to understand and prevent foot-and-mouth disease in Yorkshire.
  • ‘Wetropolis’ - a live demonstration showing how extreme rainfall events caused floods in Yorkshire. 
  • Find out what ‘cryptography’ is all about; learn how to create a secret message and how this is used to protect important information. You can even take home your own personal decoder. 
  • Come along for a personal health check and find out how the information can be used in research and how this research can benefit life in the Yorkshire region.
Sustainability is showcasing two core programmes: One is Creating Sustainable Futures: Community Engagement Projects, where students undertake innovative research with community and third sector organisations. The other is our Living Lab programme: Campus and City scale research co-developed to meet real world challenges.

More information to come nearer the time so keep watch on our website. For now, find more about the day here. We look forward to seeing you on the day!
Campus Waste audits underway
Campus wide waste audits are underway, with student volunteers helping us to assess the outdoor bin sites across the University.  The audits involve counting the number of each bin type in different locations, examining the content of each and estimating the percentage fill and contamination levels.  

This project falls under the Waste Management and Recycling Group, aiming to work across and beyond campus to identify ways to reduce total general waste.  The data from the audits are used to identify any high volume waste and recycling types, working with the contractor to improve recycling levels to ultimately reduce total waste in line with the University's Reuse, Recycle and Waste Standard.

Are you making sustainable fashion choices?

On the 18th March the School of Design, Oxfam and the Sustainability Service are coming together to host the annual Sew-A-Thon event giving unwanted garments a second life. With help from Oxfam, a team from the School of Design will spend the day binding, tailoring, stitching and salvaging a vast array of garments that have previously been donated to Oxfam in order to increase their value. The salvaged goods will then go on sale to the public on the Oxfam online shop with all proceeds going to charity.

Last year, the Sewathon repaired and upcycled over 200 garments, which when sold, will raise over £6000. The event aims to highlight the social and environmental consequences of fast fashion and its inherent throw-away culture with a campus based partnered campaign so keep your eyes peeled for more information over the coming few weeks!

There will be more information to come, keep up to date with the progress on our website or contact for more information.
Environmental Management System audits

This week (27th February – 3rd March), the University’s Environmental Management System is being audited against the 2015 version of the ISO14001 standard, which, amongst other things, places a greater emphasis on leadership, upstream and downstream impacts and continual improvements.  This audit will include a number of tours around faculties, schools and services and we will be assessed on our ability to manage our environmental impacts, improve performance and demonstration of an embedded system through good working practices and knowledge.  If you would like to know more, please visit the EMS page on our website: or email
Conference Success!

A big thank you to everyone who dedicated their time and energy to make the  first student Conference on Sustainable Futures a great success.

On the 3rd February 2017 the Sustainability Service hosted its' first ever Student Conference on Sustainable Futures which showcased research and initiatives currently underway here at the University of Leeds. The day provided an opportunity for students from all disciplines and all levels to showcase their research, work and creative outlook on sustainable issues and perspectives. 

The aim of the conference was to shine a light on research excellence at Leeds; increasing the visibility of students’ work and roles in making Leeds University of the Year. Through oral presentations, posters, interactive workshops and conversations, the day hoped to inspire people from all disciplines to approach sustainability from an alternative perspective when considering future challenges in relation to social, economic and environmental issues.

The conference was deemed a great success with positive responses to the students' work and to the opportunities for participants to get involved in activities.  Some of the feedback included:

  “It was great to see so many different, forward looking perspectives!”

  “Great presentations and excellent discussions. I feel inspired. Thank you!"

The Sustainability Service would like to extend our thanks to everyone who helped with the event logistics, the Sustainability Architects and volunteers, attendees of course, and the student researchers themselves!

To read more about the conference, the activities and prize winners, read our blog here.
Twitter Digest
Dates for your diary 
  • February 27th - March 12th: Fairtrade Fortnight: To find out more about Fairtrade visit their website here.
  • Wednesday 1st March 5:30 - 8:00pm: Speaking Truth to Power: Films for a Finite World: Join us as part of our film series that is free and open to all. The film on show will be 'This Changes Everything' -  by Naomi Klein. More information about the day here.
  • March 4th - March 31st: Leeds Festival of Science 2017: The 12th annual Leeds Festival of Science is coming up, with an  impressive programme of events to enthuse and inspire everyone, with activities for key stages 2-5, and public events open to all. More information here.
  • Tuesday 7th March 11:00 - 3:00pm: Fairtrade Fair: 25+ Fairtrade stalls including organisation such as Oxfam, locally made products from cakes to cards and handcrafted items all made by local organisations. 
  • Wednesday 8th March: International Women's Day: a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. #IWD2017, more information found on the website.
  • Friday 10th March: Yorkshire Wildlife Trust day: Participants on the day will be coppicing willow for future use on riverbank protection schemes. The event will take place at Esholt near Rawdon. If you would like more information and details of the day please email Mike Leonard or visit the YWT website.
  • Saturday 18th March: Sewathon: The University of Leeds in collaboration with Oxfam are working together to reduce waste and spread awareness of sustainable fashion. More information coming soon.
  • Saturday 25th March: Be Curious Festival 2017: This exciting, interactive event is free and suitable for everyone, of all age groups and families with an interest in Leeds and Yorkshire. Come along to find out more about the research that is currently being undertaken here at the University with relevance to Leeds and Yorkshire. Check out the website here.

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Sustainability Service · University of Leeds · Leeds, West Yorkshire LS2 9JT · United Kingdom

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