L-R Derek Mackay, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work visit to University of Stirling to view flood damage and meet climate change student group 7/10/19

Stirling Students’ Union first in UK to go carbon neutral

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The University Of Stirling Students’ Union has announced that it has become the first of its kind in the UK to go carbon neutral.

Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by balancing carbon emissions with carbon removal, or eliminating carbon emissions altogether.

Marking the announcement as part of Scottish Climate Week, which began yesterday (October 7), the Students’ Union’s Sustainability Officer Hannah Dry said: “I am so proud to be involved in a Students’ Union who are so committed to reducing their environmental impact.

“Climate change and ecological breakdown is happening faster then anyone predicted, so becoming carbon neutral is such an important step in the right direction and a rare win for our environment.”

Carb Neutral
The sabbatical officers celebrated the announcement with Principal Gerry McCormac, environmental co-ordinator Matthew Woodthorpe and MSP Derek Mackay. Credit: Stirling Students’ Union

The Scottish finance secretary Derek Mackay MSP visited campus yesterday to celebrate the achievement.

VP Education Amy Smith added: “The Students’ Union has taken an important step, by turning words into actions and becoming carbon neutral.

“However there is a long way to go for the institution as a whole, and we should not forget that higher education institutions have a responsibility not just to educate students on significant global matters, but to directly act to mitigate against environmental damage.”

In order to become carbon neutral, the Students’ Union analysed its carbon footprint from a number of sources, including energy and water use, sports teams and staff business travel, as well as waste management.

The results showed the Students’ Union’s main activities released 138.58 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2018/19.

It has managed to offset these emissions through campus projects, such as Fair Share which reuses or recycles 6 tonnes of donated household goods each year, and through purchasing gold standard carbon credits that support climate and social development projects in East and West Africa.

The announcement also comes on the back of Scottish Parliament passing the new Climate Change Bill which sees Scotland committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 75% by 2030, and becoming carbon neutral by 2045.

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