This UK University Banned Beef From its Campus

This is part of Goldsmiths plan to meet a net zero-emissions target in 2025.

Aug 28, 2019

(Pressmaster /

Going out for burgers or beef bangers, in cafes has been a part of the university experience for students on Goldsmiths University's London campus. But the 10,000 students will have to choose chicken or vegetarian entrees because the sale of beef has been banned at the university beginning with the September 2019 academic year.

The move which will affect all cafes, canteens and food outlets on campus was declared in order to help fight the climate crisis and to enable the university to join other universities in declaring a climate emergency according to a news release. Goldsmiths said this was part of a goal to meet a zero-emissions target set for 2025.

Why has beef been singled out? While lamb, beef, and dairy products account for 58 percent of the greenhouse gasses emitted from UK farms according to a government report on climate change, the beef industry is the worst polluter.

Another measure is an additional 10P levy on bottled water and single-use plastic cups to discourage their use according to the release. The proceeds of the levy will be given to green student initiative fund.

"Declaring a climate emergency cannot be empty words," the university's new warden Frances Corner said. "I truly believe we face a defining moment in global history and Goldsmiths now stands shoulder to shoulder with other organizations willing to call the alarm and take urgent action to cut carbon use."

A psychology undergraduate, Isabelle Gosse, 20, told The Guardian that  she thought the move was “a really good start to being more environmentally friendly.”

“Banning the sale of beef meat on campus, phasing out single-use plastics and the other pledges that the new warden has made highlights the current climate emergency that the world is facing,” Grosse said.

Other measures that the university is taking include installing more solar panels across the New Cross London campus, adding more plants to absorb CO2, and committing to switching to a 100 percent clean energy supplier as soon as it is practical according to the release.

Another important change is that the university's endowment fund will no longer invest in companies that generate more than 10 percent of their revenue from fossil fuels.

“Though I have only just arrived at Goldsmiths, it is immediately obvious that our staff and students care passionately about the future of our environment and that they are determined to help deliver the step change we need to cut our carbon footprint drastically and as quickly as possible,” Corner said in the release.

Other UK universities are also working to reduce their own carbon footprints. The University of Sheffield opened a zero-waste shop in 2018 that sells bulk spices, food, and even laundry detergents according to The Guardian.

Cardiff University no longer provides single-use plastic cups at drinking fountains, all take out coffee cups are recyclable, and all smoothies cups are combustible. Manchester Metropolitan University holds a student clothing and book swap every year to encourage the re-use of items. Every little bit helps.

One university's efforts may not make a big difference, but adding additional universities across the UK and beyond, will certainly get the ball rolling to reduce carbon emissions.

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Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.