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Sustainability at Birkbeck

For many years Birkbeck has been taking initiatives to incorporate sustainability into its operations. To this end, the Greenthing initiative across the Bloomsbury Colleges is enhancing environmental improvement. Sustainability is at the heart of our operations and our projects always consider the triple bottom line of environmental improvement, societal well-being and economic viability.

Birkbeck - NEWS anchor


Sustainability Careers Event - speakers share their advice

May 09, 2019

On Thursday 9th May, the Enviro Society, Students Union, and Careers Service hosted a packed session on careers in the Sustainability sector and what students can do to take the first step into the diverse field. 

Panellists sharing their advice included;
> Liam Goldsworthy - Consultant | CR, Sustainability & Supply Chain, Acre 

> Lucy Crittenden - Birkbeck Careers Service 

> Joshua West - Sustainability Officer, Birkbeck, SOAS, and LSHTM

> Alexandra Pavlovskis - Associate, Arabesque Asset Management
> Maria Carvalho - Senior Consultant, Climate Policy and Carbon Pricing at South Pole

The afternoon covered broad examples of sustainability in the working world, with Lucy and Liam kicking things off with sharing their advice on how to adopt the qualities employers are looking for in the sector, in addition to detailing the services available to BBK students to help them explore their options and hone their skill sets. 

Liam, Maria, Josh, and Alexandra all gave their personal experiences of branching into the world of sustainability, introducing their current role and how they got there, as well as sharing their thoughts on what makes a candidate stand out, the qualities needed to succeed in the competitive field, and non-traditional routes into sustainability related jobs.

The event was a great success and hopefully will become a regular session to help budding graduates on their way to securing a career in sustainability..   

For more information on specific careers advice please visit BBK Careers Service -

Bitter Cup - Fairtrade Documentary Screening

April 30, 2019

Location: MAL B20, Birkbeck Main Building, Torrington Square.

Date: 10th May, 12:00-2:00 pm 

The London Centre for Corporate Governance and Ethics will be hosting a documentary screening followed by a panel discussion on Fare Trade and supply chain problems around tea trade. 


Working conditions on many of India's tea plantations are disastrous. The pickers live in dire poverty with no clean drinking water and are exposed to pesticides. The pesticides used in tea farming also end up in consumers’ tea cups. And yet some of the tea produced under such conditions is labelled as Fair Trade Certified. Why are Indian tea workers not benefiting from the global tea boom? What are the limits of Fare Trade? How can we support a fairer tea trade?

These and a lot more questions are going to be addressed by a panel of experts from academia and industry. 



Sally Seddon (Shared Interest Foundation, UK)

Ashok Kumar (Lecturer in International Political Economy, Birkbeck, University of London)

Arron Philips (Lecturer in Business Ethics, Birkbeck, University of London)

Fred Yamoah (Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Birkbeck, University of London)


Chaired by:  Ioanna Boulouta (Lecturer in Corporate Responsibility, Birkbeck, University of London)


All welcome and no registration is necessary.

Sustainable Beaviours Panel

April 11, 2019

Wondering how you can be more sustainable in your day-to-day life? Head along to The Sustainable Behaviours Panel on 29th April 3-5pm! Hosted by BBK SU the event is all about communicating simple lifestyle changes that have positive environmental and social impacts.


Confirmed speakers so far are Alex Furey - Zero Waste Mindset, and Bronwyn Lowenthal – founder and ethical fashion designer at Lowie.

Networking and Q&A will follow panel discussions + sustainably-sourced food and drink!

Register below to secure your place.

Fairtrade Fortnight Winners!

April 04, 2019

Congratulations to our Fairtrade Fortnight 2019 winners, Effie and Simone, for their delicious homemade Fairtrade treats as part of the Birkbeck Bake Off, and to Anna who guessed the closest to our 'Guess the number of coffee beans in the jar' competition!

Each have received a Fairtrade hamper full of goodies!

Thank you to all who took part in the Fairtrade Fortnight event back in February. Be sure to keep on supporting Fairtrade products in your weekly shop, or out and about, and for more information visit

Careers in Sustainability Event

May 08, 2019

At the beginning of May, Birkbeck SU will be running a session on careers in sustainability and the opportunities that exist within different sectors.


Confirmed speakers include:

Sophie Brooks - Founder, Fit for Purpose Consulting

Alexandra Pavlovskis - Associate, Arabesque Asset Management

Maria Carvalho - Senior Consultant, Climate Policy and Carbon Pricing at South Pole


The session will start with a presentation from our careers service on the sorts of skills and experience needed to get a job in the sustainability. We will then hear from 3-4 speakers from different sectors to talk a bit about their roles and others that exist within the sustainability space in their sector. This will be followed by a Q&A session with students and a networking session.

We've saved 100 meals so far!

February 22, 2019

We have now saved over 100 meals from going to waste through our partnership with the food waste app Too Good To Go. That’s the CO2 savings equivalent of driving the M25 4 times! Great work terrace 5 Restaurant!

Check out the app now through the button below. 

Birkbeck Joins Fight Against Food Waste

January 14, 2019

Birkbeck has partnered with the food waste app Too Good To Go, offering discounted meals from Terrace 5 Restaurant that would otherwise be sent to compost.

Meals will cost just £2.59, and could include a mix of hot dishes, as well as handmade sandwiches, filled baguettes, or snacks. 

Customers can pick up their order anytime between 19:30 - 20:00 - just show your order receipt to one of our catering staff. 


Download the app now and enjoy!

Registration NOW OPEN

January 04, 2019

Delegate registrations are now open for the London Student Sustainability Conference 2019. A great opportunity to hear from students across all University of London institutions about their curricular or research work which aligns to a sustainability theme. 


Click the image to find out more and to register.

London Student Sustainability Conference 2019

February 28, 2019

Applications are NOW OPEN for London's first ever Student Sustainability Conference! A fantastic opportunity for any University of London student, at any level or discipline, to showcase their curricular or research work which reflects the broad themes of sustainability. 

Its completely free to apply, and will not only be a great opportunity for students to practise communicating their work through visual and verbal means, but also a fantastic chance to network with other students, staff, local businesses and organisations.

Click 'find out more' below to view applicant guidelines, and to apply!

Birkbeck KeepCups hit the shelves

November 15, 2018

Students, staff, and visitors can now purchase their own reusable Birkbeck branded KeepCups! Your first drink is FREE, and you'll receive a 10% discount on all future hot drinks purchases from BBK cafes and eateries. 

You'll be reducing waste in no time - the polyethylene lining in most disposable cups means there is enough plastic in 20 disposable cups to make one plastic KeepCup.

Find them stocked in Terrace 5 and Perch Cafe in the main Mallet Building.

Plastic Free July

July 01, 2018

It can be difficult to avoid all plastics but there are some quick and easy wins, here are our top three to help you avoid single-use plastics:


  1. Get a reusable mug

  2. Refill your own bottle

  3. Bring your own bag


If you want to do more, try to tackle your food shopping and see if you can find everything you need without plastic. Let us know how it goes.


A plastic tide

January 08, 2018

The plastic pollution has finally come to light, and it`s not pretty. 

Take a bit of time today to look at the magnitude of the issue.

Highly recommended:

1 Blue Planet II (video)

2 Ocean tide (video)

China’s approach to accepting recycled plastic from abroad (read)

How can you help? Start by carring a reusable bottle and coffee cup with you, avoid disposable packaging, refuse plastic bags... 

Check out the Sustainable Christmas Market 2017

December 19, 2017

We hosted our first ever Sustainable Christmas Market on December 14th, and it was a great success.

Have a look at the pictures and a video will follow shortly.

If you attended the market, we really hope you enjoyed yourself. As always, any feedback is welcomed!

All students - Join our Sustinable Christmas Market

December 14, 2017

Christmas is approaching with fast, steady steps and names are getting crossed on Christmas lists. If you still have a few left on your list that need a gift  next to their names, why not check out our Sustainable Christmas Market, right here on our doorstep? We are bringing in a few of the most sustainable start-ups/social enterprises in London for you to meet. 

We are very proud to host the award winning Toast Ale social Enterprise who are fighting food waste with their beer made from bread surplus. Among many other ethical vendors on the day, we have also welcomed our crafty staff and students to share their work with the world.

See you there!

Be part of the Enviro Student Society @BBK

November 16, 2017

Where is the sustainability/green/environmental student’s society you ask?

Well there isn’t one.  BUT, the Sustainability team wants to help you start a student sustainability group on campus as part of the Birkbeck College Student Union.  This is an opportunity to meet like-minded people who want to take action, create action, and expand sustainability across the campus and London.

Sustainability can be about environmental issues like energy, transport infrastructure, food waste, or water savings.  It also can include social issues of justice around Fairtrade, developing country`s natural resources, affordable housing, and more.

You can use the group to learn about exciting initiatives across the city and world, get experience with sustainability projects on and off campus, have fun getting into nature, and make an impact! As an example, some ideas for this group could include:

  • Sustainability campaigns across campus

  • Film screenings and other events on campus

  • Sharing sustainability related events across London

  • Work with the sustainability team at BBK to expand their impact

  • Join movements across London

If you are passionate about all things sustainability but don’t know where to start, let`s have a chat!

Volunteer wanted! Represent Stand4 Socks @Sustainable Christmas Market and earn some cash!

November 14, 2017

We are hosting a Sustainable Christmas Market and are looking for a volunteer to represent Stand4 Socks with a stall. If you haven`t heard of this awesome social enterprise, check them out here.

Unfortunately they are unable to travel down from Manchester on the day but they are happy to (very reasonably) sell out their socks to a volunteer who would sell on their behalf on the day and keep all the profit to themselves. They usually sell 70-80 pairs at any one market so this is really a good deal for anyone looking to do a good deed and earn some extra Christmas pocket money.

We are here to help and facilitate and this is a great opportunity to act as an ambassador for a reputable organization like Stand4 Socks. 

This opportunity will be assigned on a first come first served basis so please get in touch asap and we`ll provide more details.

The Mayor's Entrepreneur Competition

November 09, 2017

Are you a conscientious and creative student? Are you business orientated? Have you ever had a passing idea on how the city might be more sustainable? The Mayor's Entrepreneur Competition aims to take your idea, and help bring it to life. The Competition is open to all London students, from any subject backgrounds, and the winner will receive £20,000 as a start up! 

All entries are welcomed, and competitors will gain valuable skills and tools from workshops, as well as have the opportunity to meet past finalists and winners at City Hall. 


Doubts about entering whilst studying? Don't worry - the Competition is designed so that you can enter without having to compromise your studies.Why wait? You can sign up now, and book yourself a spot on one of the three free workshops held by City Hall. To sign up, for more information, for general FAQ's, or to browse some past entries for ideas, it's all available at this link.

Don't hesitate! Sign up now and make the most of this unique opportunity which will surely be beneficial to your CV, for future employers, and for your own self-advancement.

Deadline: 18 February 2018

Be a seller @ the Sustainable Christmas Market

October 28, 2017

Do you craft or make things from scratch that would sell at a Christmas market? 

We are inviting you to give it a go on the 14th of December at our Sustainable Christmas Market. Stalls are FREE but limited so please get in touch (by email @ as soon as possible and let us know what is your hidden talent :) 

We might be able to have volunteers in charge of your stall so don`t worry if you can`t stay for the duration of the market.

Cycle September Results - Well done BBK team!

October 02, 2017

Cycle September is now over and BBK team landed on the 34th position out of 747 teams in London!

Well done everyone! We hope you`ll continue to spin those wheels :)

Dr Fred Guy, BBK on how the collaboration between Trump and Putin might affect EU action on climate change

August 22, 2017

Frederick Guy is an economist teaching in the Department of Management at Birkbeck College, University of London. His book, The Global Environment of Business, is published by the Oxford University Press.

In this his article: "While climate change may appear to be a minor issue in Trump's links to Russia, their combined efforts to undermine international cooperation could have a major impact." 

BBK astrobiologist trying to understand life on Mars

August 12, 2017

Louisa Preston, 33, an astrobiologist based at Birkbeck, University of London, recently wrote a book, Goldilocks and the Water Bears: The Search for Life in the Universe, about her research. She studies these habitats and organisms as analogues for how life might survive on planets such as Mars.

Dr Alistair Ball, BBK, on the economic effects of atmospheric pollution

September 23, 2017

In this video, Dr Alastair Ball talks about his research into the long-term effects of atmospheric pollution. 

Research on Climate Change by BBK student

January 01, 2020

Birkbeck graduate Leo Barasi discusses his new book, The Climate Majority: apathy and action in an age of nationalism, which confronts the reality of climate change and the need for ordinary people to take action. 

Take part in the Cycle September National Competition

August 13, 2017

Get ready for the main #YearoftheBike event - Cycle September! Take part in a FUN, FREE, National competition to see which workplaces can earn the most points for riding and encouraging their colleagues to cycle. Head to and set yourself up choosing ‘Birkbeck College’ as your workplace/team.


A smoothie bike session is involved! plus fantastic prizes you could win including bikes, holidays, vouchers zip lining and jet pack experiences, hot air balloon rides and local spa days... plus many more! See all prizes on the website.

Become a Green Champion

July 16, 2017

The Green Champions Network consists of staff and student volunteers who want to make the Bloomsbury Colleges more sustainable. The reason for its existence is to contribute to a greener working place and encouraging sustainable behaviour among colleagues. However, the role of the Green Champions is flexible and designed to reflect their interests.


Being a Green Champion means that you are environmentally responsible and encourage people in your team to be more sustainable. Staff involved in the Green Champions network work together to make Bloomsbury a better place to work and study. This may be via little actions like switching the lights off in the kitchen when you leave or it could be something bigger.


The sustainability team frequently organises events that reflect the Green Champions' interests. Past events include - but are not limited to - bee keeping talks, movie screenings and Fairtrade talks. We encourage staff and students to contribute with ideas for future events!

Staff from all departments and institutions are welcome to join the network to help us improve sustainability performance and contribute to a greener Bloomsbury. If you'd like to become a Green Champion, get in touch!

World Paper Free Day - 4 November 2016

November 04, 2016

Did you know that staff and students at Birkbeck used more than 10 million sheets of paper (equivalent to 5,000 trees) over the past year?

The environmental impacts from paper use range from deforestation to air and water pollution, as a result of water manufacturing and treatment. Additionally, the paper industry uses more water to produce a tonne of product than any other industry and hazardous materials like bleach are used to provide us with bright white paper.


To reduce everyday paper use you can use some of the following tips:

  • Use e-mails to send and receive documents.

  • Print only the information you need from a document.

  • Bring laptops or iPads to take notes in meetings if possible.

  • If you have to print, print double-sided.

  • Consider rationalisation of student handbooks provided.

ISO 14001 Certification and EcoCampus Platinum Award

June 30, 2016

Following a rigorous audit process, Birkbeck has achieved Certification to ISO 14001 International Standard for Environmental Management Systems, with EcoCampus Platinum Status.

This award, which also applies to SOAS and LSHTM through Bloomsbury Colleges Environment Partners recognises the progress made in reducing environmental impact and carbon emissions, as well as compliance with all relevant environmental legislation. It also acknowledges the commitment to follow through on environmental improvement plans future, as we work towards ambitious carbon reduction targets.

All staff and students can contribute to these plans through events and engagement programmes. 

ISO14001 Certificate for Malet Main & Extension Building

ISO14001 Certificate for Egmont House

Fairtrade Accreditation

September 05, 2015

Bloomsbury Colleges assign great importance in enhancing Fairtrade and the sustainable production of food and other products. Birkbeck and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine are Fairtrade accredited Universities; they actively support awareness around Fairtrade and increase the number of Fairtrade products being sold at the refectories and university shops.

BBK Sustainability video

September 13, 2017

Check out our sustainability video! 

Packed with vital information on our progress and targets!

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