Sustainability

As the department responsible for running the wide range of commercial services on campus, YCL has the potential to significantly impact on the environmental impact of the University both on campus and across the city. 

Each section is responsible for working to improve their sustainability, alongside initiatives across every section to improve the sustainability of YCL as a whole. 

Please see below details on the sustainability work carried out by each section. 

York Science Park 

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York Science Park is an entrepreneurial ecosystem at the heart of the University of York campus. We offer fully managed and services office and laboratory space to startups, spinouts, spinins and SMEs. 

What are we doing?

We are constantly working to make York Science Park more sustainable and reduce our impact on the environment. Our current work towards improving our sustainability includes:

  • We source our catering and refreshments from the University's dedicated on-site caterers, using seasonal and local ingredients whenever possible.
  • We actively encourage residents, staff and visitors to consider alternate forms of transport to driving, including providing information about public transport and secure bike storage.
  • We are currently working towards fitting all our buildings with low energy lighting and gaining the NUS Green Impact Bronze Award which includes: reducing waste, energy awareness, travel, procurement, green teams and communication, water and biodiversity and community.
  • We are also working towards ensuring our own office and processes are paperless.

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Eat at York

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Commercial Services Catering and Hospitality plays a key role in the provision and support of more sustainable choices for our customers. We are constantly striving to incorporate environmental and social considerations when choosing our suppliers, during production and the delivery of our services. 

What are we doing?

We are constantly striving to make our operations more sustainable.

  • Our menus are prepared using fresh, and where possible, seasonal ingredients by our kitchen teams on campus.
  • We are actively working to source food and drink locally and regionally (we define this as Yorkshire and Humberside region) and, where appropriate, reflect the food of our region.
  • Our suppliers are nominated and regulated through our membership of TUCO (The University Caterer’s Organisation) or via local University contracts.
  • Replaced plastic straws with biodegradable paper straws in all of our outlets across campus.
  • Ended the use of non-recyclable black pastic coffee lids across campus in collaboration with the Department of Biology.
  • Encouraged all of customers in catered halls to use alternative methods to transport takeaway foods from our outlets. 
  • In 2018 we launched our new sustainability and social responsibility strategy for the catering team. As part of our plans we have already;
    • Introduced a Latte Levy across campus to decrease the number of single use coffee cups being sent to landfill and raise funds for sustainability initiatives across campus. 
    • Launched the YORCUP scheme, encouraging staff, students and visitors to campus to 'choose to reuse'.
    • Spent more than £20,000 (raised through the Latte Levy) on a wide range of sustainability programmes and initiatives across the campus and the city. 

You can find our more information about our sustainability on our web page

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Retail

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The retail team are responsible for operating three Nisa outlets on the University campus, along with the University of York merchandise and gift store. 

What are we doing?

We are continually looking for ways to improve our environmental impact, often working alongside our suppliers to improve our collective sustainability throughout the full supply chain. Our current projects and work to improve sustainability within retail includes:

  • Our Nisa Supermarkets are stocking a greater variety of organic and locally sourced produce.
  • The recent merger of Nisa with the Co-operative has significantly increased the focus on environmental impact in their supply chain.
  • The Clothing and Gift store have recently introduced branded University of York merchandise, including sweaters, made with Fairtrade cotton.
  • All hot drink vending machines across campus now accept reusable cups.
  • Working in collaboration with the University of York Department of Biology and Upton Group Ltd, we have ended the use of non-recyclable coffee cup lids in vending machines across campus. 

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Design & Print Solutions

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Design and Print Solutions offer a wide range of design and print services to departments of the University, students and external clients. Our design team work on challenges including branding, illustration, web design, brochures, and more. Our print team produce a huge range of printed products including flyers, banners, posters and more. 

What are we doing?

We are keen to support the University’s growing focus on sustainability. The nature of our business means that we work with a large variety of paper and print materials; because of this we have put the following measures in place to improve our environmental impact:

  • We reuse and recycle all of the paper used in-house.
  • We order only the amount of paper that is needed for print jobs to ensure there is no wastage.
  • After a customer’s roller banner is no longer needed, we offer them the option of returning it to us to recycle appropriately.
  • We reuse poster tubes and packaging as much as possible.
  • We have recently changed our business card boxes from plastic to more environmentally friendly cardboard.
  • We use only water based inks on our posters and banners.

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York Conferences

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York Conferences are responsible for managing and coordinating conferences, meetings and event across the university campus. 

What are we doing?

We are proud of our work towards improving our environmental impact, which includes:

  • Successfully being awarded the National Union of Students (NUS) Green Impact Awards Gold standard for more than two years.
  • Working to support the diverse wildlife and biodiversity on the university campus through projects including owl nesting boxes, bug hotels, tern rafts, sand martin nesting boxes, a wildlife hide, bee garden and wildflower meadow. 
  • Encouraging our 15,000 students, 3,500 staff and more than 37,000 conference guests each year to consider a wide range of public transport options for their travel through work with our Travel and Transport team. 
  • Working with our colleagues in the catering team to ensure all university catering outlets and services serve Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance tea and coffee as standard. 
  • Working closely with conference organisers to ensure a minimum of waste for every event, including food, refreshments and printed materials. 
  • Following the University guidance within our own office to meet their target of a minimum of 60% of our waste being recycled or composted, with the majority of the rest being used to create energy, resulting in less than 1% of waste actually ending up in landfill.  
  • Many of our iconic venues have a BREEAM 'Very Good' accreditation or better, and all new buildings on campus bust be built to this accreditation.

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