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The University of Southampton
Sustainability Action

Southampton business to benefit from BEES

Published: 7 September 2013

A partnership between the University and its Students’ Union (SUSU) has won £175,000 funding to champion ethical and environmental practices in local business. Having beaten competition from over 100 other student unions, the project will place students at the forefront of transforming the practices of local business, by championing the importance of sustainability to the local community.

Known as BEES, the Business Ethics and Environment Students programme, it will see students working with Southampton businesses to audit the sustainability of their actions, creating a plan to help them change their practices in the future. The project will see the partnerships addressing ethical practices such as living wage, investment and supply chain management, as well as resource consumption, carbon emissions and transport.

Julia Kendal, Sustainability Action Officer at the University, says: “Southampton has a legacy of innovation in student-staff partnerships for sustainability and the BEES programme is an opportunity to extend this successful relationship towards the local community. Through supporting local businesses and organisations in improving their business ethics and environmental practice, our students and staff will be a positive force for change in our city whilst simultaneously further developing their sustainability skills and understanding.”

By focussing on a broad range of sustainability issues, the project will avoid the limited appeal of issues typically labelled as ‘green’. The BEES programme is aiming to change the nature of business practice throughout Southampton, whilst developing sustainability knowledge in students, staff, and the wider community. It will also equip graduates with skills to help build a more sustainable future.

SUSU’s Vice President Welfare Beckie Thomas adds: “I’m really excited to help students work with local organisations in this way; it could be transforming for the city and its people. BEES is a great opportunity for student-led action, putting students at the forefront, where they will tackle sustainability issues both now and in the future.”

BEES is a partnership programme between SUSU and the University’s Sustainability Action Programme. It builds on a legacy of successful collaborative projects such as Southampton Blackout, the University’s innovative energy audit event, which has gone on to be adopted by universities around the country. The project is scheduled to begin in September 2013.

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