Queen's Tower

Find out more about Green Imperial, who is involved and how you can be part of it.


What is Greening Imperial?

Greening Imperial is an initiative designed to understand and improve how Imperial College London implements sustainability and action on climate change. This is an all-encompassing intiative, looking at everything from how it operates as a campus to how it supports policy makers with environmental challenges. The aim is to deliver evidence that will inform a new College-wide strategy on sustainability and action on climate change, and provide a set of feasible recommendations to help the College in the short term.

Considering how the College community can be part of this strategy is critical to its scoping, delivery and, ultimately, its success. Over the coming months, all students and staff will be able to engage on this topic as part of our consultations. Please see ‘How can I get involved?’ for further details.

What will Greening Imperial deliver?

  • A shift in awareness and attitude towards sustainability and action on climate change at Imperial College London
  • A series of recommendations that will enhance environmental resilience and help incorporate sustainability in all areas of Imperial engagements
  • A framework to understand, enact and sustain behaviour change with relation to the College’s waste streams
  • A means of benchmarking Imperial’s performance against peers 

Who is involved?

A steering group is overseeing the delivery of Greening Imperial. It includes members drawn from a cross departmental and community pool.

Daniel Hdidouan – Centre for Environmental Policy
Alyssa Gilbert – Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment
Professor Joanna Haigh [Chair] – Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment
Professor Geoffrey Maitland [Chair] – Department of Chemical Engineering
Professor Richard Templer – Department of Chemistry & Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment
Dr Neil Jennings – Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment
Dr Iain Staffell – Centre for Environmental Policy
Andrew Hammond – Engineering Manager
Claudia Caravello – Imperial College Union
Nic Dent – Waste and Recycling Manager

How can I get involved?

If you have any thoughts or suggestions you would like to share, please email the Greening Imperial team – Greening.Imperial@imperial.ac.uk.

If you’d like to receive the monthly Greening Imperial newsletter, you can join the mailing list here.

Students interested in Greening Imperial should consider joining the Imperial College Environmental Society for a range of sustainability activities including campaigns on waste reduction, low-carbon diets, reducing the impact of the fashion industry and a food Co-op!

What has been achieved so far?

Since the summer of 2018 Greening Imperial has achieved the following:

  • Removal of single-use plastic glasses from catering outlet water stations – saving up to 850,000 cups/year (from 1 Oct 2018).
  • Introduction of ‘bring your own container’ for hot, portioned takeaways from all Campus Services catering outlets (from 1 Nov 2018).
  • Introduction of a 15p levy for every hot drink served in disposable coffee cups (from 5 Nov 2018). This charge is being introduced to reduce the 2,750 single-use disposable cups being used across our campuses daily.
  • Replacement of single-use plastic cutlery with FSC-certified reusable wooden cutlery.
  • Monthly visits for students and staff to the Environment Society allotment (last Tuesday of the month – join us by e-mailing us greening.imperial@imperial.ac.uk).

The following are being discussed as potential future changes:

  • Introducing Meat Free Mondays – this is likely to be introduced across all campuses from Jan 2019. Details TBC.
  • Increasing the amount of green space on our campuses.
  • Increasing the number of water stations across our campuses.
  • Increasing the amount of bike parking – bike racks at the Centre for Environmental Policy are currently being investigated.
  • Participation of a small number of laboratories in a pilot of the Laboratory Environmental Assessment Framework (LEAF).
  • Buying electricity from renewable sources.
  • Participation in the National Union of Students Sustainable Development Goals Teach-In (18-22 Feb).
  • Investigating the Imperial carbon footprint from aviation and options for incentivising rail travel and offsetting.

Please send any of your own suggestions for sustainability improvements to greening.imperial@imperial.ac.uk. To stay up-to-date with Greening Imperial activity, sign-up to the monthly newsletter.

What is the coffee cup levy?

The coffee cup levy has been introduced to reduce the 2,750 single-use disposable cups previously used across our campuses daily. It adopts a similar approach to other universities such as Birmingham, Exeter, Reading and Winchester by charging a levy (15p) for every hot drink served in a disposable coffee cup. Funds from the levy are used to subsidise the cost of reusable coffee cups and water bottles.
Staff and students are encouraged to bring their own reusable coffee cups or purchase one from any College catering outlet for £6 each. Self-served hot drinks purchased from machines will not attract a levy but reusable cups are encouraged at these points also.
You may be interested in a nice BBC case study on the success of the coffee cup levy at the University of Winchester – we hope to have similar success here ��

Why is Meat-Free Monday being introduced and where does it cover?

According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), livestock are responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. With this in mind, Meat-Free Mondays are being introduced during January 2019 across College, Imperial College Union and a number of externally-run catering outlets where hot meals are served. This will help reduce the carbon emissions of food sold on campus while also encouraging people to try healthier vegetable-based meals. Fish will remain on the menu for hot meals and meat will still be included as part of ‘grab and go’ options such as pre-packed sandwiches and salads – this will help avoid food waste.

FiveSixEight, HBar, Pieminister, Fuel, the Senior Common Room (SCR), Queens Tower Rooms (QTR), SAF café, Library Café, College Café, Wolfson Restaurant (Hammersmith), and Reynolds Bar (Charing Cross) are all taking part. Other food outlets are likely to join in.

What did the survey cover?

The four main areas for improvement on sustainability and action on climate change within Imperial are: 

  • Operations and actions
  • Education and teaching
  • Research and innovations
  • Communication and collaboration

The survey covered these points, helping us to better understand what Imperial is doing in terms of sustainability and action on climate change, and what Imperial might be able to do in the future. 

The Greening Imperial report is available to read here: Greening Imperial - A Call for Action

The Greening Imperial paper we submitted to the Provost's Board is available to read here: Provost's Board Paper Greening Imperial