Guild Sustainability Policy Update

Alongside lobbying the University to do more, this year we have updated some of our policies to show how important sustainability is to the Guild.

New Sustainability Policy 

This policy builds on current practices, looking at potential improvements that could be made with the aim to set long term targets and aims. Building on the success of our 2017 policy, it is more specific in the action, standard procedure and targets it initiates. It is made to be a long-term document, with progress reported on to the board of trustees on an annual basis, to allow for adaption of targets and procedures as the organisation changes.  

Headline Commitments:

  1. Establish a baseline of waste to inform a waste reduction target  
  2. Get a baseline understanding of the carbon emissions within the Guild’s control and work to match the University’s Net Zero target  
  3. Create a Procurement Policy and guidelines for staff and students  
  4. Create a detailed Action Plan to support the implementation of this policy 

Alongside this policy, we are working on an action plan with short-term goals that work towards the bigger targets set out within the policy. The Action Plan is a more adaptable and changing document than the policy itself. It will consist of short-term action points with SMART goals. This action plan will support the overall policy by ensuring the Guild makes progress and improves sustainability across the organisation, but also by breaking down the policy and making the targets achievable and adaptable. 

Changes to the Ethical Investment and Exclusions Policy 

Fast fashion brands have been added to the Guild’s exclusions list, meaning they will be screened before the Guild works with them. This comes as a result of fast fashion companies being called out for their unsustainable and unethical practices causing environmental and social degradation. The last 20 years have changed the fashion industry with the increase of mass production and unmanageable amounts of waste. Retailers increase the number of fashion lines produced, have reduced costs, and in doing so, decreased the quality of garments. Clothes now often have a shorter life cycle with higher profit margins. This shift of model has caused a decrease in the sustainability of the industry with throwaway fashion causing massive amounts of waste and pollution. The screening of brands allows the Guild to uphold its messaging around mindful consumption, as well as encouraging companies to improve their impact.  

Brands are excluded if they have the two worst ratings on ‘Good On You’. These rands disclose little to no information on their sustainability practises or at most they disclose some information in one or more areas and consider some material issues but do not yet adequately address the impacts across their supply chain. 

If brands score a medium rating, or are not listed on the site, they must adhere to four of the following criteria: 

  1. Brand must demonstrate they are working to decrease the unsustainable rapid fashion consumption by hosting events that promote: 
  2. Repairing and re-wearing 
  3. Reducing textile waste  
  4. Encouraging people to reduce the amount of clothes they buy 
  5. Encouraging people to stop sending clothes to landfill 
  6. Having transparency in their supply chain, and or actively working to be transparent in the supply chain 
  7. Workers being paid at living wage, or actively working to achieve this 
  8. Working to reduce the companies impact on the planet and having targets for:  
  9. Emissions 
  10. Pollution (including water pollution) 
  11. Waste reduction 
  12. Increasing their use of natural and recycled materials to replace primary plastics 
  13. Be actively against modern slavery