Green Impact in the Department of Economics

The University of Sheffield is committed to improving our impact on the environment. Green Impact is an important part of the University of Sheffield's Energy Strategy; a simple, rewarding and fun sustainability accreditation scheme run by the National Union of Students (NUS) in over 50 universities across the UK.

Bringing together staff and students, it helps universities to improve their impact on the environment by providing a workbook filled with well-explained and straightforward actions to implement in departments.

It was first implemented at the University of Sheffield in 2009/2010 and there are now Green Impact teams in around 70% of University departments. Teams work through different levels of criteria to gain awards, which are presented at the end of the academic year when staff and students can celebrate the achievements they have made.

The Department of Economics first joined the Green Impact scheme in the 2014/2015 academic year. We gained our Bronze award in May 2015 and our Silver awards in May 2016 and May 2017. For the 2017/18 cycle, we are aiming to achieve a Gold award.

Improving impact

Our recent refurbishment has gone a long way in making the department more sustainable – all our lighting is motion sensitive and turns off automatically, we have an improved ventilation system which negates the need for air conditioning units, and our heating is controlled centrally to ensure we are not over-heating workspaces unnecessarily.

In addition, we have also adopted the My Sustainable Print scheme, whose machines are managed by Sharp, who collect and recycle empty print cartridges and toners. We use 100% recycled paper and envelopes where available, print double-sided as default, and have cut down on the use of paper by moving to online submission of assessments.

In terms of waste and recycling, we have adopted the Estates & Facilities Management co-mingled recycling scheme for general waste. All staff and students are using a two-bin method (one bin (grey) for non-recyclable waste and one blue bin for all recyclable materials - glass, paper, card, tin etc.). These are placed in shared offices/rooms for the student support staff and PhD students, and in corridors, resource/print rooms and the kitchen/social space for use by academic staff and students/visitors in the building.

Signs on how to use the waste/recycling system are placed on the bins themselves so the process is easy to follow. Information on recycling non-standard items is available on the Green Impact noticeboard for staff to refer to.

We only purchase Fairtrade sugar for staff and visitor use, we use tap water for staff meetings, and our catering is ordered with sustainability in mind – requesting local, seasonal produce, the majority of which being vegetarian, MSC certified or free range.

In 2016/17 we supported various charities through fundraising events. Our first event, a bake sale in support of Red Nose Day campaign raised a few pence short of £90 for the charity.

Green Impact logo

Bake Sale 2017

How can I help with this? What are my individual responsibilities?

  • Turn off your computer monitor if you are going to be away from your desk for more than half an hour.
  • Turn off your computer and other electronic equipment at the end of the day when you leave the office.
  • Make sure you turn off Multi-function Printer devices if you use them out of hours.
  • Keep double-sided printing and copying as your default setting.
  • Follow the University’s co-mingled recycling scheme guidelines when disposing of waste.
  • Encourage people to use the stairs instead of the lift if they can.
  • Make sure to have a look at the departmental Green Impact noticeboard (located in the fourth floor staff common room area in 9 Mappin Street) for recycling guidelines, green travel tips and more information regarding the scheme.


The Green Impact scheme in the Department of Economics is run by Bev Rawson, Polina Ganeva and Emily White. Please email if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.