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Sustainability at SOAS

As part of the Bloomsbury Greenthing we have been looking at ways to address our carbon emissions and environmental impact. We rely heavily on our staff and students to promote and carry forward the sustainability agenda and we strive to improve on our environmental performance year on year.

Catering Sustainability
SOAS news anchor


SOAS in world top 3 for supporting UN Sustainable Development Goal ‘Peace Justice and Strong Institutions'

April 09, 2019

The new Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, which capture universities’ impacts on society based on success in delivering the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, has ranked SOAS third in the world for the “Peace Justice and Strong Institutions” goal. 

SOAS also ranked joint 33rd in the world for the SDG “decent work and economic growth”, 66th for SDG “Reduced Inequalities”, joint 70th for SDG “Gender Equality” and 88th in the world in the overall impact ranking based on a range of SDGs. 

Read more about SOAS's research departments and centres which tackle some of societies' most challenging sustainability issues across the world. 

SOAS Embarks on Sustainable Catering Journey

April 04, 2019

SOAS Catering and Hospitality teams are working to achieve the Soil Association's Green Kitchen and Food for Life standards.


These challenging commitments cover criteria which will dramatically increase the range of freshly prepared, environmentally sustainable, and locally sourced food on offer at the refectory, as well as greatly improve the energy, water, and waste efficiencies of the catering operations.


Some of the requirements of achieving the standards include;

  • At least 75% of the dishes served will be freshly prepared on site

  • Menus will be seasonal and in-season produce highlighted

  • Increased transparency of where ingredients have come from

  • The development a food waste minimisation plan

  • Measuring energy, water, and waste from catering areas, and developing plans to improve efficiency

  • Professional development training for catering and hospitality staff and appointment of dedicated Sustainability Champions.

And many more commitments.


A key finding from last year's SOAS Food Survey, which had over 1000 responses, was that "students and staff felt strongly that SOAS food provision should meet high environmental and ethical standards" and "they would make increased use of an improved, affordable SOAS food offer". 

SOAS is committed to addressing the comments raised in the survey and have high ambitions to achieving both Green Kitchen and Food for Life standards, ultimately enhancing the service for customers.


Sustainability is a key element being embedded into the Catering and Hospitality services, and we're already making progress. Some initiatives currently in place include;

  • all plates and crockery being reusable;

  • disposable cutlery and takeaway food boxes are compostable;

  • tap water is freely available;

  • leftover food is reduced in cost after busy serving periods and anything left is given to the Students Union bar;

  • disposable coffee cups are levied and reusable alternatives encouraged;

  • all waste cooking oil is collected and converted to bio-fuel.


These are exciting times and we'd love for you to be involved in the journey as we work towards the two accreditations. We will be giving regular updates through the Staff and Student Bulletins, as well as through SOAS's Sustainability website and social media feeds, so you can follow our progress and let us know your thoughts.

SOAS Green Week

February 17, 2019

SOAS Students Union are hosting a Green Week running from February 18th - 22nd! Take part in events and activities ranging from a sustainability documentary screening, swap shop, bike maintenance session, food waste pop-up, and even an anti-fracking demo!

Climate Change is a Racist Issue

January 15, 2020

Following a year characterised by record-breaking temperatures, widespread fires, melting polar ice caps, a distinct rise in fascism & a whole slew of official reports outlining our current carbon predicament - climate change is increasingly impossible to ignore.

We invite several speakers to discuss the racist elements of climate change. This talk will examine the colonial extractivist roots of the industrial revolution & mass scale of fossil fuel burning, the concept of historical share & resulting responsibility, the devastating impacts of climate change on the Global South and the de facto treatment of these areas as 'sacrifice zones'. It will also explore ways in which we can take action, and the importance of solidarity with the ongoing resistance of front-line communities across the world

Asad Rehman - Executive Director of War on Want
Simmone Ahiaku - Fossil Free Campaigner at People & Planet
Chaired by Zamzam Ibrahim - National Union of Students' Vice President Society & Citizenship

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 Sustainbiltiy 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!

SOAS SOLAR - Community Fund

December 01, 2018

Calling all SOAS Students and Staff! Do you have an idea for an environmentally themed project across campus? Apply now for the NEW Solar SOAS community fund of £1000 made possible by the 114 solar panels on top of the Main Building! DEADLINE Dec 1st.

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.

WEEE amnesty @SOAS

February 15, 2018

Do you have any unwanted electrical devices just sitting there, gathering dust and occupying space in your home or office?

Bring them in at our 3 collection points between 20th-26th February and they will be sent for recycling.

Items will be accepted for collection at Senate House North Block reception, Brunei Gallery reception and College Building reception.

Skip Garden Events 2018

February 07, 2018

SKIP GARDEN LUNCH & LEARNING 2018 Fortnightly on Wednesdays 1 – 3 pm

Check out all the lunchtime events coming up this year (February - December 2018) run by the local skip garden!

Email to get in touch & book a place!

Film Screening 'Do the Math'

February 05, 2018

On the heels of the massive news that New York City pledges to divest a whopping $5 billion out of fossil fuels, what better time than to revisit the 2015 documentary made by about the divestment movement!

Come along to this event co-hosted by Solar SOAS & Fossil Free SOAS. At the end there will be a chance to hear from us about what's going on here at SOAS and how you can get involved.

It's a short but sweet 45-minute documentary - so a great chance to take a break from the library! There will be vegan snacks - feel free to bring friends!

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 14, 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!

'Chasing Coral' film screening

December 06, 2017

Wednesday 6th December, GOR Birkbeck Cinema

2pm-4pm, with brief discussion afterwards

Want a informative break from studying? Then look no further than this SOAS Environmental Movement screening of  'Chasing Coral', a documentary about the beauty and complexity of coral reefs, as well as the shocking harm that humans are doing to it. This precious film is a call to action.

No booking necessary, just turn up.

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

November 16, 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 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 we believe that this is a great opportunity for you 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.

Perfume Making - Wellbeing Week 2017

December 08, 2017

Have a go at making your own perfume!

You’ll be guided by Delia Gadea, the School’s Sustainability Officer, who will aid you in a perfume consultation and you’ll get an insight into the way perfumes work. You’ll enjoy blending your own unique fragrance which will be bottled for you to take home.

Scents suitable for men will be also included.

Sign up fast, only 20 places available!

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

SOAS Bin Trial

October 05, 2017

Watch out for the new recycling bins @SOAS Main College Building!

Estates have teamed up with Sustainability team and Students Union to run a trial period of 2 months before investing in new bins throughout the estate. We are hoping that the new set of bins, after having passed the trial period, will improve our recycling performance from 72% to 78%. Some of them will also take food waste if located in a food traffic area.

We would love to hear your comments on the new bins - take our survey :)

Green Social @SOAS

September 27, 2017

The Green Society @SOAS is organizing a social event on The Green (just outside SOAS). 

Vegan & vegetarian potluck will be available.

This event is for anyone interested in meeting other environmentalists at SOAS.

SOAS Student Cycling Week & Bike Sale

January 01, 2020

The cycle racks at SOAS have been reorganized in August/September and the unclaimed bikes have been refurbished and will be available for SALE! 

This is the perfect opportunity to get yourself a good as new bike at a decent price! Starting from £60!

The sale of second hand bikes will be taking place on 10th of October, 11am to 3pm, outside SOAS.


Grab yourself a bargain! 

New FollowMe Printing @SOAS

September 11, 2017

FollowMe Printing allows users to print to a shared print queue, roam and release their print job from any enabled output device. This ensures printing is confidential to the user and reduces printed waste, from documents left uncollected at the printer. 

By reducing waste and giving users a secure, flexible printing environment, FollowMe Printing enables SOAS to significantly reduce costs, protect data and support workforce productivity.

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 ‘SOAS’ as your workplace/team.


A smoothie session will take place on the 5th of September, 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 SOAS 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, SOAS has achieved Certification to ISO 14001 International Standard for Environmental Management Systems, with EcoCampus Platinum Status. This award, which also applies to LSHTM and Birkbeck 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, and this summer we are rolling out the EMPOWER online platform to support individual and team initiatives to improve sustainability.

ISO14001 Certificate Phillips & College Buildings

ISO14001 Certificate Brunei Gallery

Fossil Free SOAS

April 23, 2015

Soas University of London has become the first university in the capital and the third in the UK to commit to pulling its investments out of fossil fuels, in what campaigners called a historic decision.

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