A prominent London university announced on Monday that it would be banning beef burgers and introducing a levy on plastic bottles as part of a wider drive to tackle climate change.
Goldsmiths, University of London, said that beef products and bottled water will be consigned to history from the start of the new academic year next month as part of a major campaign to cut carbon use across Goldsmiths, as the college joins other universities and institutions in declaring a "climate emergency" and announcing a determined aim to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2025.
"The growing global call for organisations to take seriously their responsibilities for halting climate change is impossible to ignore,” said Professor Frances Corner, the new Warden of Goldsmiths.
"Declaring a climate emergency cannot be empty words. I truly believe we face a defining moment in global history and Goldsmiths now stands shoulder to shoulder with other organisations willing to call the alarm and take urgent action to cut carbon use," she said.
Among her first actions since taking charge, the Warden has declared that all beef products will be removed from sale from campus food outlets from September and an additional 10p levy will be introduced on bottled water and single-use plastic cups to discourage use, with the proceeds directed into a green student initiative fund.
Further actions include installing significantly more solar panels across Goldsmiths’ campus in New Cross, south-east London, switching to a 100 per cent clean energy supplier as soon as practicable, identifying other areas where planting could help absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reviewing how all Goldsmiths students can access curriculum options which investigate the subject of climate change and the role of individuals and organisations in reducing carbon emissions.
A comprehensive action plan will be drawn up in consultation with staff and student unions to enable the college to meet the net zero carbon emissions target over the next six years, the university said.
This work will build on existing initiatives, which include a wide scale recycling programme, and termly clear-outs of non-perishable food, good quality clothes, shoes and bedding from Goldsmiths’ student halls of residence. These goods are donated to local charities and similarly, abandoned bicycles are given away to good homes on an annual basis, Goldsmiths said.
According to latest official figures, show Goldsmiths emits around 3.7m Kg of carbon emissions each year – a figure which has reduced almost 10 per cent over three years – while it claims to have consistently generated around 107k KWh of renewable energy each year.
The latest announcement is accompanied by confirmation that from December 2019, Goldsmiths’ endowment fund will no longer hold investments in companies that generate more than 10 per cent of their revenue from the extraction of fossil fuels.