Goldsmiths bans beef in bid to go carbon neutral

New warden of London institution also announces levy on single-use plastic

August 12, 2019
Frances Corner
Source: Ben Queenborough

Goldsmiths, University of London has banned the sale of beef products from campus food outlets in a bid to become carbon neutral within six years.

The removal of beef products, which will be completed by the start of the new academic year, was one of several measures announced by Goldsmiths after it joined other universities in declaring a “climate emergency”.

The institution is also introducing a 10p levy on bottled water and single-use plastic cups to discourage their use, with the proceeds going into a fund supporting student-led environmental initiatives, and the installation of more solar panels at the New Cross campus.

Frances Corner, Goldsmiths’ new warden, announced the changes in one of her first actions in her new role.

“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,” Professor Corner said.

Goldsmiths emitted around 3.7 million kilogrammes of carbon in 2017-18, the most recent year for which data is available, although this has reduced by 10 per cent in three years.

The university said that its endowment fund would, from December, no longer hold investments in companies that generated more than 10 per cent of their revenue from extracting fossil fuels. It is also switching to a 100 per cent clear energy provider, and planning planting to help absorb carbon dioxide.

Curriculum options will also be reviewed to ensure that all students can learn about climate change and how to reduce emissions.

Joe Leam, the president of Goldsmiths Students’ Union, described Professor Corner’s actions as a “brilliant start” to making the university carbon-neutral.

“In the words of Greta Thunberg: ‘Our house is on fire.’ I believe Frances Corner and the university management are realising this and making these changes to put their part of the house fire out,” Mr Leam said.

Goldsmiths is not alone in its aim of becoming carbon neutral: the American University in Washington reached that goal last year. The University of Florida also aims to become carbon neutral by 2025.

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Reader's comments (4)

Will she still be jetting off to holidays and conferences using diesel planes, will she be encouraging overseas students to use planes to get to Goldsmiths, or will she suggest other forms of transport? Basically this looks and smells hypocritical. Will she actually get out of her office and try growing food or is she going to continue acting as she is the saint of the well what exactly? This looks like senseless headline grabbing advertising, and it looks so obvious . Beef, and lamb produced locally is the only food which has low carbon emissions and lives well along side the natural environment. Vegetables that is root crops and grain crops are flown in or carried in by fossil fuel transport over very very long distances where mass industrialised use of pesticides and herbicides are used. If they are not used the 'organic' system is used which means acres and acres of plastic cover this food and wipe out the natural habitat of insects and everything that feeds on them. This is the context of this U.N. report not anything else. The only plant which grows well in desert regions is grass, grazing animals convert that grass to protein which is then something people can eat. Even in England the majority of land and our inclement weather conditions only allows grass to grow with certainty. Oh please Goldsmiths employ a farmer who can clearly spell out how food is produced to feed a population, as opposed to a half thought through oh look at me lets get a vacuous headline approach. I was a professional researcher to the previous Chair of The Environmental Audit Select Committee. I truly lament at the destructive headline catching narrative which is so blatantly used to attract vulnerable young people. The university sector should know better.
Will Frances Corner stick to her principles and cease flying to fashion events in Beijing, Seoul and other long-haul destinations? http://francescorner.com/category/travel/
On the face of it, grade A virtue signalling... but hopefully it will make students think about how they interact with the environment. It's just as well I work elsewhere, though, I often have a hamburger for lunch!
Banning beef and lamb products from campus to protect the environment... what the blazes!! So why hasn't FC banned milk, butter, yogurt, cheese, cream, ice cream, dried milk - I'm sure these are produced from the animals FC is trying to wipe out and why not ban beer and spirits as the by products of some alcohol goes to animal feed. Then why she's at it stop all staff and students using cars, planes and public transport to travel back and forth to campus, stop recruiting international students and staff, stop staff and students attending or presenting at conferences, remove work placements from the University's agenda if students need transport. Instead on staff and students incurring a levy charge for water in plastic bottles install water points around all the University campus and provide staff and students with an environmentally friendly reusable drinks container and remove plastic bottles all together. Or teach staff and students how to make a paper drinks cup which could then be recycled https://web-japan.org/kidsweb/virtual/origami2/exploring01_02.html.

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