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King's staff, students and alumni receive Sustainability Awards

Students, staff and alumni come together at the King’s Sustainability Awards to celebrate the efforts of those helping to make King’s a more sustainable place.

Group photo of the Sustainability Awards with people holding up SDG signs and an SDG slide in the background.
Group photo of Sustainability Award attendees and Senior Leaders.

Sustainability at King’s has seen major changes and progress over the past year. On the 18th of July 2022, students, staff and alumni came together at the King’s Sustainability Awards to celebrate the efforts and achievements of everyone who has been involved in helping to make King’s a more sustainable place. The event was also a valuable opportunity to share updates on ongoing initiatives and programmes that continue to improve sustainability at King’s.

Sustainability Champions

The Sustainability Awards celebrate the commitment and passion of King's 500+ Sustainability Champions - members of the King’s community who are working on campus and in our residences to make King's a more sustainable working environment. This year, the network of staff carried out over 2,800 actions on sustainability.

61 staff teams submitted their work to make King’s a more sustainable place as part of the Sustainability Champions programme. And today over half of those entries achieved the gold standard at King’s Sustainability Awards – a huge achievement. Congratulations to you all! From calculating personal and departmental carbon footprints and identifying how to reduce them, to raising the temperatures of our Ultra Low freezers to save energy, actions large and small across King’s are changing behaviours and making a difference.– Professor Shitij Kapur, President & Principal

Sustainability Champions teams across King’s were given sustainability awards, for actions which took steps to reduce their personal and departmental carbon, enhance biodiversity, as well as increasing accessibility, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), and widening participation.

For undertaking these actions, teams were given various sustainability awards reflecting the impact made. The breakdown of the awards this year was: 1 Working Towards Sustainability Dozen, 13 Sustainability Dozen, 7 Bronze, 1 Working Towards Silver, 5 Silver, 34 Gold Awards. Of these teams, 28 offices, 1 halls of residence, and 32 labs submitted work into the programme.

Staff who have successfully embedded sustainability across operations, teaching and the wider King’s community were recognised in the Special Awards category.

  • Dola Akanmu, staff champion in the Vascular Biology & Inflammation labs and office team. Dola has been the sole champion for these two teams and has made significant changes – including the development of an EDI plan for her department.
  • Glyn Jones, staff champion in the Dickson Poon School of Law. Glyn won this award for his delivery of many “no dig” presentations about his allotment, sharing his learnings with students and staff at King’s.
  • Kautuk Chaddha, staff champion in the Strand Operations team. Kautuk has engaged across many Sustainability events this year, including the sustainability careers festival. He continues to champion sustainability and encourage engagement across his department.
  • Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) offices won an ‘engagement for sustainability’ award for their stitch and pitch series of events they ran this year, which was enjoyed by many.

The following groups of students and staff received Special Awards for the extra support they provided King’s sustainability projects:

  • 84 students who completed the KEATS Sustainability & Climate Module (between March-June)
  • Six students (Anita Baratti; Saniya Mehmood; Zaynab Hussain; Yichan Gao; Juan Pablo Valderrama Echavarría; Kshitija Mishra) who altogether mapped over 200 modules during the SDG Curriculum Mapping project
  • Six students and staff (Yilin Lei; Euan Casey; Vaibhav Mehta; Fatima Wang; Mel Davies; Kindness Ezekwe) from King’s Climate Action Network
  • Five students and alumni (Sigrid Leivdottir; Abigail Oyedele; Kathleen Williamson; Daniel Jonusas; Elsa Nativelle) who have co-hosted and co-produced the Spotlight on Sustainability podcast
  • School of Global Affairs communications team (Julia Stepowska and Grace Harley) for their support on sustainability and climate focused communications
  • Damely Akizhanova for their work on the Sustainability Residence Committees and the Culture-Climate Lab workshop
  • The King’s Procurement Team – for their work on introducing the new Sustainability Supply Chain Code of Conduct

Recognising King’s achievement to sustainability

We welcomed Professor Evelyn Welch, Senior Vice President (Service, People & Planning) who delivered the keynote speech. Professor Welch recognised the Sustainability Champions for their work this year, as well as praising the other successes which have taken place for sustainability at King’s over the last 12 months, including full divestment from all fossil fuels one year ahead of schedule and a 51% reduction in carbon emissions since the 2005/06 baseline. Other major successes include:

  • King’s ranked in top 5 UK universities for environmental & social impact in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, as well as second in the UK in the People & Planet League table this year
  • 500+ people taking part in the Sustainability Champions programme and 350+ members of the Climate Action Network (CAN)
  • Between September 2021 and July 2022, over 1,400 attendees came together across 87 events and training opportunities ran by the King’s Sustainability Team
  • The development of the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module, which had over 600 students and staff enrol and over 180 complete the full module and receive sustainability awards
  • Over 1000 modules mapped against the Sustainable Development Goals, carried out with the help of over 60 trained students and staff
  • All King’s suppliers must now sign up to the Sustainability Supply Chain Code of Conduct. This is a huge step to reducing our carbon emissions, as our supply chain is the biggest source of carbon (scope 3)
  • King’s Food & Venues choice menus are now 70% vegetation and vegan
  • King’s has recently been awarded the highest rating of three stars by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) rating, as well as being re-accredited as a Fairtrade university
King’s knows that it can continue to have a positive impact across all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals through its research, education, and operation activities, but by taking the step to identify a handful of impact challenges and areas as a King’s community, it can maximise its contribution to some of society’s biggest challenges.– Professor Evelyn Welch, Senior Vice President (Service, People & Planning)

Next steps for Sustainability & Climate Action at King’s

The King’s Climate and Sustainability Action plan was recently approved by University Executive. The action plan was co-created by our students, staff and alumni through King’s Climate Action Network and it sets out a wide scope of actions across estates, investment, procurement, travel, research, education and community engagement.

The plan outlines carbon reduction targets across our scope, 1, 2 and 3 emissions. These will be in line with what scientists have recommended with a minimum 50% reduction by 2030 in our scope 1 and 2 emissions.

Over the next year, King’s will be setting up a governance structure with a Climate and Sustainability Committee that reports into University Executive to ensure that the university delivers on the plan.

Join us

There are lots of projects and ways to get involved in sustainability at King’s.

  • If you would like to find out more about becoming a Sustainability Champion, please register via the form here and contact the Sustainability Team at sustainability@kcl.ac.uk.
  • If you would like to join the Climate Action Network, register here.
  • If you would like to enrol on the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module (to be re-launched in October ‘22), register here. If you would like to join the Take Action team of students and staff developing this module – please email sustainability@kcl.ac.uk.
  • If you are a student living in a hall of residence and would like to get involved in shaping the Sustainability Living Communities programme, get in touch.

Thank you

It is truly inspirational to look at all that has been achieved so far - the Sustainability Champions programme, Climate Action Network, the many student societies campaigning for change, or events such as the hackathons that have led to new projects including the co-created KEATS Sustainability and Climate module. Our power comes from coming together as a community and commanding change – on behalf of the King’s Sustainability Team, thank you to everyone who has come on this journey so far with us, and a warm welcome to those of you who will join us in the year ahead.

Sustainability Awards: Sustainability Team
King's Sustainability Team. From left to right: Rachel Harrington-Abrams, Emily Read, Tasnia Yasmin, Kat Thorne, Alexandra Hepple, Jone De Roode Jauregi, Lavinia Allen, Nicola Hogan.

In this story

Shitij Kapur

Shitij Kapur

President & Principal of King's College London

Evelyn Welch

Evelyn Welch

Former Senior Vice President (Service, People & Planning)

Glyn Jones

Glyn Jones

Student Experience Manager

Kat Thorne

Kat Thorne

Director of Sustainability

Ajay Shah

Ajay Shah

Executive Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine

Susan Duty

Susan Duty

Professor in Pharmacology & Neuroscience

Julia Stepowska

Julia Stepowska

Communications & Engagement Manager

Fatima Wang

Fatima Wang

Senior Lecturer in Marketing

Emily Read

Emily Read

PhD Student

Marion Guerbet

Marion Guerbet

Social Impact Assistant

Bashir M. Al-Hashimi

Bashir M. Al-Hashimi

Executive Dean, Faculty of Natural, Mathematical & Engineering Sciences

Kat Thorne

Kat Thorne

Director of Sustainability

Ajay Shah

Ajay Shah

Executive Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine


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