Goldsmiths’ new warden says bye bye to beef in bid to reduce carbon footprint

Professor Frances Corner OBE. Pic: Goldsmiths.

In a bid to meet Goldsmiths’ target of becoming carbon natural by 2025, new Warden, Professor Frances Corner has announced controversial measures to reduce the College’s carbon footprint.

A ban on the sale of beef products and a levy on plastic are amongst many new initiatives which will come into effect this coming academic year.

The College has joined other universities and institutions in declaring a climate emergency.

Goldsmiths has promised it will draw up a comprehensive action plan 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 plans include removing all beef products from sale from campus food outlets by the start of the 2019 academic year.

The college also intends to introduce an additional 10p levy on bottled water and single-use plastic cups.  With the college directing the proceeds into a ‘green student initiative’ fund.

the installation of many more solar panels across Goldsmiths’ New Cross campus, switching to a 100% clean energy supplier and investing in Goldsmiths’ allotment area, are also on the agenda.

When speaking to East London Lines, a university spokesperson said:”Goldsmiths’ caterers, Chartwells, have committed to removing single-use plastic from all our campus outlets and events catering services.

“These measures are already in place: plastic straws have been switched for paper and plastic stirrers and cutlery swapped for wooden ones. We’re also encouraging the use of china crockery and stainless-steel cutlery for those eating in at the Refectory, Roosters and Peak Street Café, while takeaway food is served in fully sustainable Edenware Bagasse cartons made from pressed sugar cane residue.
They continued:”The Polystyrene takeaway boxes have been removed from all outlets. plans are also underway for the installation of more water fountains on campus to top up reusable bottles”.

Goldsmiths is a longstanding member of the alliance for sustainability leadership in education (EAUC).

Frances Corner (right) visits the Goldsmiths allotments with allotment coordinator Ros Gray (left). Pic: Goldsmiths

The group which includes at least 200 UK and Irish universities and colleges, is committed to ensuring that educational institutions adher to best practice in operational sustainability.

The latest available Higher Education Statistics Agency figures (HESA) show that Goldsmiths emits around 3.7m Kg of carbon emissions each year.

Professor Frances Corner, Warden of Goldsmiths, said: “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”.

The Goldsmiths Studens Union (SU) President Joe Leam, ran for his position on a manifesto pledge of a ‘Green New Deal’ for Goldsmiths University.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Leam recognised that the beef ban was a “symbolic gesture” but said it showed the university “taking responsibility for their share of carbon emissions”.

Goldsmith University’s green initiative has been met with criticism.

Goldsmiths Anti Racist Action (GARA) has suggested that plans for the Green New Deal come at a “suspiciously opportune time”.

The group condemned the College for greenwashing in an attempt to soften the university’s recent position in the media.

GARA were recently taken to court by the university for its BME led occupation of Deptford Town Hall.


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