Goldsmiths University of London Bans Beef Burgers; Taxes Plastic Water Bottles

Goldsmiths University of London announced it was banning beef burgers and placing a 10 percent levy on plastic water bottles.
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Cattle feeding during drought Searsie/iStock

Goldsmiths University of London is taking action against climate change, announcing that under new warden Professor Frances Corner the school will ban beef burgers and tax bottled water. 

In a missive announcing the changes which go into effect at the start of the 2019/2020 academic year, the school said the bans are part of an effort by Goldsmith to slash carbon use across the school. Goldsmiths joins other universities and institutions that are taking action to become carbon neutral organizations by 2025.  


Plastic water bottles to face a 10 percent levy 

“The growing global call for organisations to take seriously their responsibilities for halting climate change is impossible to ignore," said Corner in a post. "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."

In addition to banning beef, under Corner the school will introduce a 10 percent levy on bottled water and single-use plastic cups with proceeds from the tax going directly into the school's green student initiative fund; roll out more solar panels across Goldsmiths campus in New Cross and switch to a 100% clean energy supplier.

The school will also continue to invest in identifying new areas where planting can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and review the school's curriculum to ensure it includes climate change and the role individuals, companies and schools have in reducing carbon emissions. Goldsmiths will also work with staff and student unions to create an action plan to meet the net-zero carbon emission goal over the next six years.

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Goldsmiths is no stranger to fighting climate change 

As it stands, Goldsmiths has been making an effort to fight global warming by introducing a recycling program in the student halls of residence with the goods donated to local charities. The school said it emits about 3.7m Kg of carbon emissions each year, which is a number that as been cut by nearly 10% in three years. The school has consistently generated 107k KWh of renewable energy on an annual basis.

In addition to banning beef and plastic water bottles, the school announced that as of 1 December 2019 its endowment fund won't hold any investments in companies that derive more than 10% of its sales from the extraction of fossil fuels. 

Scientists have recently concluded that foregoing meat and dairy is the best way to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change. 

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