As an ethical Students’ Union, Northumbria recognizes the impact its operations have on the environment and also its role in both reducing its own impact, lobbying others to in turn reduce their own impact and empower students to campaign for and volunteer in environmental areas.


What is Northumbria doing?

Northumbria holds NUS’ Green Impact accreditation (Very Good), a national scheme that to help Unions share best practice and improve their environmental impact.

We also work closely with the University to ensure we play our part in making the campus a sustainable and healthy place to be.

Environmental considerations are embedded in our corporate plan with a commitment to deliver on the UNs Sustainable Development Goals in a form that is meaningful to the student experience at Northumbria. You can read the results of our consultation with students further down on this page.

Facts and Figures

  • All our electricity is from 100% renewable sources.
  • All our waste is either recycled or goes to incinerator which in turn provides power back to the national grid.
  • All clothing we provide volunteers and staff is manufactured to ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental manufacture and WRAP certified.
  • We work with the University on a weekly basis to ensure energy is not wasted, for example by managing ventilation system to account for quiet times.
  • The Students’ Union President has lead responsibility for environmental and sustainability matters and attends the University’s Sustainability Management Group.
  • Students can be part of the Union’s Sustainability Working Group which ensures we continue to reduce our environmental impact.


Our Work this year

As well as working to retain our NUS Green Impact accreditation, we have focused on
  • Reducing our plastic consumption in line with our target of a 25% reduction over three years. We have done this by
    • Moving from plastic bags to tote bags for Freshers’
    • Switching to paper straws. Plastic straws will be used until stocks run out but will always be available for students who need them
    • Moving to crockery for morning coffee service away from disposable cups
    • Undertake a waste audit and set targets for reduction over the next three years
  • Improving our recycling by
    • Ensuring all recycling points are clearly marked and staff trained to manage the switch to meet requirements of new provider
    • Remove all bins except the correct recycling and waste bins
  • Reduce Carbon Emissions by
  • Consult with students
    • Work with the University to set up Sustainable Futures, a student led focus group to contribute to University and Students’ Union plans and help shape the type of campus students want to see
    • Ask students to help set priorities for the Sustainable Development Goals for University and Students’ Union. Please click here to find out what students said
    • Help programme reps understand how to push for greater emphasis on sustainability within courses.
    • Introduce sustainability into our student satisfaction survey.
  • Evidence our work to successfully retain Green Impact

How can students get involved

Student Consultation / Influencing University and Union policy

  • Students are welcome to become members of Sustainable Futures, our student consultation body which provides your ideas and thoughts about work the Union and University are doing in this area. This feeds into the University’s Sustainability Management Group.
  • Students can also get involved in the Union’s Sustainability Working Group.
  • You can also contact the SU President directly at

Volunteering and Societies     

Students interested in environmental volunteering should check out our societies at our Societies Page 

Don’t see anything that appeals? Contact us at and we can help you bringing your passion for change to life.

What else can you do?

Reduce: As a Students’ Union and a student body, we have a responsibility to ensure that our energy footprint is as small as possible. You can take some really simply steps to do this:

  • Make sure you turn off taps when you’re done with them (tea lovers, only fill the kettle with the amount of water you actually need) Switch off computers, televisions and other new fangled technology when you’re done as well. (80% of wasted electricity comes from things being on standby, btw)
  • Resist the urge to just whack up the heating, even if you have all inclusive bills. Wear a jumper, or better yet, snuggle with a friend
  • Think about walking more – there are several sites such as which can help map the best route for you

Re-use: Everyone has things that they don’t use, that fester away in corners. If you’re not using things, don’t throw them away where they will go into landfill!

  • Bring your unwanted books to our Eco-Library, on the first floor in Escape, City Campus and take a new book for yourself.

Recycle: This one’s really basic: when you have waste or rubbish, please recycle.