Sustainability Working Group (SWG)

Who are we?

The SWG is a student-led group created after the 1st MRC Centre for Environment and Health's Sustainability Workshop. Its members are students and staff from MRC Centre for Environment and Health at Imperial College London with an amazing drive for change and a profound passion for sustainability. We want to be a friendly and energetic space for discussion around green opportunities for the MRC Centre and the college.

Members: Aina Roca Barcelo (PhD), Annalisa Sheehan (PhD), Rhiannon Thompson (PhD), Carl Desouza (Post Doc), Richard Belcher (PhD), Joseph Levermore (PhD), Allison Gaines (PhD), Ed Selerio (Scientific Manager), Fred Piel (Lecturer).

What are we doing?

Our comment on "Making academia environmentally sustainable: a student perspective" is out at The Lancet Planetary Health!

It is undeniable that Universities have a crucial role in our fight for more sustainable and healthier societies. However, their role is often deemed to research and education exclusively. In this piece, “we argue that a university's role should not be confined to these aspects. Academia has a social responsibility to practise what it advocates: becoming a model for sustainability and an agent of change, meeting the demands of today's society, including its students. This responsibility is even more prominent for public health institutions considering the substantial health costs of climate change.” We explore the consequences this has for students and staff, and call for the adoption of a top-down approach to sustainable transformation.

Go read the comment at: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(21)00199-6/fulltext

Sustainability Week 2021

The MRC Centre Sustainability Working Group is glad to present the first MRC Centre Sustainability Week, from Monday 15th – Friday 19th February.

We are bringing lots of fantastic events, challenges and tips for you. Each day of the week will be dedicated to a different sector which we believe is important to look at if we are to improve our sustainability.

Have a glance to our exciting agenda below and in the attached poster. Make sure to register to the events (see links below) you want to take part, it is a first come first served policy!

Oh and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@MRC_ReSoc) as most of our action will be through there.

🌱PRE-SUSTAINABILITY WEEK ACTIVITIES (8th - 12th Feb) 🌱

Monday 8th 

🎽 Launch 2-week Plastic-free Challenge. Take on the challenge with us and stay 2weeks plastic free. Worried on how to achieve it? Don't worry, we will be supporting you along the way. Check our twitter for super useful tips. Oh and feel free to share some pictures of your experiences or tips too!

🍴📓 Our Recipe Club is here! Come join our club and get access to our Recipe book where we will be sharing our favourite vegetarian/vegan recipes and get inspiration on how you can cut down (in a delicious way) food items that have the biggest impact on our environment. Oh and once a month we will be having a guided cook-along session. Registration for the Recipe Club here.

🍲Not sure whether to commit to the recipe club? Come join us for our first cook-a-long at 7pm on Monday 15th Feb To get your taste buds tingling. We will be cooking a ‘Quick Carrot Dhal’. To register, accept the calendar invite we will send on Monday 8th.

🌻SUSTAINABILITY WEEK (15th -19th Feb)🌻 

MONDAY 15th – FOOD 

Diet can have a big impact on the environment, and one way to lower your impact is to go meat-free. Check our activities:

🥕 Meatless Monday. Take on the challenge and keep your Mondays (at least) free of any meat products. Unsure what to eat? Don't worry we have you covered, just keep reading!

🍴📓This it, the day has arrived! Our Recipe Club is here! If you haven’t registered yet do it now! If you have, scroll through all the recipes we have put together for you in our Recipe book . Oh and don’t forget to join us today for our first cook-a-long at 7pm  where we will be cooking a ‘Quick Carrot Dhal’ add the calendar invite to your diary to see the ingredients and recipe and we hope to see you there! Email us if you missed the calendar invite (mrc.centre.sustainability@imperial.ac.uk)

🔊Unsure why you should pay more attention to the food you buy and eat? Follow us on Twitter @MRC_ReSoc to know why (Monday)

TUESDAY 16th - ENERGY 

🔊Want to know more about sustainable energy and how important it is? Follow us on Twitter @MRC_ReSoc to know why (Tuesday)

WEDNESDAY 17th - AWARENESS  

📞The ball is on your court now! Pass by our Twitter account (@MRC_ReSoc) and give us your feedback, opinion, request for future actions or gift us with a beautiful picture of your experience participating on our challenges. Basically, we just want to hear from you! Come say hi!

THURSDAY 18th – TRANSPORT 

🚲Have you just recently bought a bike and unsure how to keep it smoothly running? Or are you a bike lover who wants to know how to better treat its adventure partner in crime? We’ve got you sorted! Our friends from London by Cycle will be showing us how to take care of our bike and keep it riding smoothly. Join us for our bike maintenaince on Thursday 18th Feb at 4pm.

🔊Want to know more about sustainable and active transport? What are your options and why do we think you would love it? Pass by our Twitter account on Thursday (@MRC_ReSoc)

FRIDAY 19th - WASTE  

🎽Wrap-up of Plastic-Free Challenge. This is our last stop in this challenge. Did you find it hard? Did it surprise you how much plastic you generate in your routine? Check our Twitter (@MRC_ReSoc) to see the results of this challenge and drop by to share your experiences!

🔊Finding it hard to know how to cut down on waste? Pass by our Twitter account on Friday (@MRC_ReSoc) and we will be sharing some tips that have done the trick for us!

Take on the challenge

Sustainability Report

What is it?

The first action taken by the MRC-CEH-SWG was to generate a comprehensive and thorough report analysing the barriers and opportunities for sustainable changes within the MRC Centre and more broadly Imperial College and to make informed recommendations. More specifically, the report aims to: (i) better understand current practises; (ii) identify barriers and challenges to sustainable alternatives, (iii) identify opportunities, and (iv) make clear and diverse recommendations of both feasible and effective alternatives.

This report has been approved by the heads of Departments Prof. Paul Elliot and Prof. Frank Kelly.

Launch event

On Friday 16th October we officially launched our report and survey. Our MRC Centre for Environment and Health directors, Prof. Paul Elliot and Prof. Frank Kelly opened the event which was followed by a presentation of the report and survey by the group. There were also some surprises, like interactive polls and an open discussion at the end. Overall over 50 attendees.

On the 29th of January 2020, a group of students and staff members from Imperial College London gathered with one objective: to identify the barriers to a more sustainable workspace. This was part of the first MRC Centre for Environment and Health’s Sustainability Workshop, organised by the MRC Researchers Society’s co-chair Aina Roca Barceló (1st year President PhD Scholar), supported by the MRC Centre for Environment and Health, within the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department (EBS), represented by Drs Fred Piel and Eduardo Seleiro. This was kindly funded by the Research Community Fund at Imperial College London.  

To kick-off the event, we were guided by  Prof. Paul Lickiss, the new Academic Leader in Sustainability for Imperial College London, through the past, present and future initiatives happening at Imperial College. Right after, Dr Nicola Hogan from the Sustainability Team at King’s College London shared with us some tips and recommendations from their prize-winning sustainability programme.

This was followed by a delicious vegetarian and vegan lunch to fuel our brains and get ready for the exciting afternoon ahead of us. For more than 2 hours, we discussed, played and brainstormed together, trying to decipher the intricacies of making our departments more sustainable and finding those weak points to shift the balance.

Overall, the workshop was well-received by both the participants and the keynote speakers, who engaged in part of the co-creation workshop. Based on the feedback, the workshop helped to create a great space to discuss with peers’ and institutional representatives’ views, concerns and ideas to keep pushing our university forward and set the seed for a sustainability network.

Members: Aina Roca Barcelo, Annalisa Sheehan, Rhiannon S Thompson, Carl Desouza,  Richard Belcher, Joseph Levermore, Allison Gaines, Fred  Piel.

This group was created after the 1st MRC Centre for Environment and Health’s Sustainability WorkshopIts members are students and staff members from Imperial College with an amazing drive for change and a profound interest in sustainability. We want to be a friendly and energetic space for discussion around green opportunities for the college, bringing the momentum generated during the workshop one step further. The final objective is to collect a series of ideas in the form of a report which can be distributed college-wise to foster discussions and keep pushing for changes.

For any more information, please contact us using the email below (temporary): a.roca-barcelo@imperial.ac.uk