Sustainability at South & City College

At South & City College Birmingham we are committed to fulfilling our role in the global transition to clean energy and more sustainable living. We want to respond to the sustainability values of our students, workforce and local community and have developed several target areas for action.

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is what we can do to help the environment. Small changes to our everyday lives can have a massive impact on protecting our environment from destruction. Being more sustainable is something everyone is responsible for and together we can help make a change.

Watch our video of how we are encouraging students to be sustainable and how you can incorporate it into your everyday lives.


Data on how staff and students travel to college (Collected November 2021)


68% Take the bus
24% Walk
18% Drive or get dropped off
15% Travel by train
2%   Walk
2%   Get the train


59% Drive to work
13% Take the bus
9%   Travel by train
9%   Cycle
4%   Car share
4%   Walk

How South & City College are creating a sustainable environment

Food & Catering

  • Over 70% of our food suppliers are Birmingham based (with some from other West Midlands areas and elsewhere)
  • We prioritise sellers with sustainable accreditations, and strong CSR performance
  • Many of our suppliers are Red Tractor Certified. We source MSC Sustainable Fish from a supplier with various awards in this area
  • We participate in national campaigns such as “plant-based week”
  • We only use recyclable paper bags
  • We predominantly serve chicken rather than ruminant meat with higher associated greenhouse gases
  • Our Catering Management Team have set a target of 3% food waste which is down from the original 5%
  • Daily food waste is regularly recorded and analysed by unit managers to identify food waste and find solutions to prevent it in the future.
  • On Fridays, the Catering Team give out extra food to students who receive free school meals and the remainder goes to staff to ensure no edible food is wasted
  • We cater to all of our students, offering halal, vegetarian and vegan options every day
  • We are aware of the varying carbon footprint of different food and will begin to prioritise ingredients with the smallest carbon footprint, whilst we still provide meat.

IT Systems

  • College computers switch off automatically at 10pm every night and can only be turned on manually
  • Power policies are set to put monitors to sleep and computers into power saving mode after 10 minutes of no activity (this may not apply to older PCs)
  • All photocopiers go to sleep after a few minutes of inactivity and turn on when pressing a key
  • All laptop trollies have internal timers that are configured to charge laptops for a few hours
  • We have been replacing desktop PCs that are 5 years or older and use around 470kWh annually with more modern refurbished PCs and monitors that use only 190kWh annually. This has added savings due to reduced need for air conditioning over heated computers.

Estates & Operations

  • Two college campuses have biomass boilers installed, providing energy for a renewable fuel source, which avoids waste and supplies the college’s heat and hot water
  • Four college campuses have installed solar PV (photovoltaic) to generate our own electricity
  • We’ve installed new high efficiency boilers in two college campuses
  • Replaced old R22 air conditioning units at Handsworth campus
  • Ensured the Bordesley Green construction campus is at least 50% LED lighting
  • Desktop computers are being replaced with more energy efficient computers
  • Dual flush toilets at most sites
  • Starting to replace smart boards with touch screens

What we do as a college

We try to encourage our staff and students to walk or cycle to college by providing equipment, services and participating in schemes so as a community, we can be more sustainable.

We pledge to:

  1. Establish strong sustainability practices in the college
  2. Educate our student body on sustainability issues to create greater awareness of the challenges we face as a society and empower everyone to make a change
  3. Reduce our energy use and emissions throughout estates and operations
  4. Continue to improve our college, follow best practices and work with organisations to become more sustainable

Business Accreditation

South & City College have shown excellence in supporting sustainable travel such as walking and cycling.

EAUC certificate

South & City college are members of the eauc, an organisation providing leadership in sustainability for education institutions.

Students poster

Students created an environmental poster to highlight the prevention of climate change.

Dr Bike Scheme

Dr Bike sessions were held over summer by experienced mechanics to check over staff and students’ bikes, making adjustments if necessary.

Cycle Rack at Handsworth Campus

Installing more cycle racks to provide security and encourage staff and students to cycle to college.

Cycling equipment

We provide cycling equipment to participants who pledge to cycle more to college.