Students in Sheffield have been active at each and every global climate strike so far and the Students’ Union is clear in its intention to continue to protest and act. University leaders recently announced their commitment to educating the ‘change makers of the future’ by embedding teaching about sustainability across all of its courses in response to the climate emergency.
The University of Sheffield is bold and unequivocal in its commitment to tackling the global climate emergency. ‘Step Up Sheffield’ is a BetterPoints challenge incentivising staff and students to make active and sustainable travel choices is just one of the many actions it is taking.
President and Vice Chancellor Professor Koen Lamberts said that he believes that the large research university is in ‘a truly unique and powerful position to help tackle climate change and make a positive impact on the world we live in.’
So the University and SU teaming up and working with BetterPoints to encourage green travel choices makes perfect sense. And students are getting on board - fast! Over 1,000 people have signed up in the first three weeks.
Step Up Participants can earn rewards in the form of BetterPoints and BetterTickets for active (walk, cycle) and sustainable (bus, train, tram) journeys over half a mile to and from the university campus. Extra rewards are on offer for participants who want to go the extra mile and be even more active and there are prize draws galore with a variety of prizes - big and small.
There are a whole range of supporting activities on offer around the Step Up challenge - from refurbished bike sales and an e-bike loan scheme to organised campus litter picks. BetterPoints can be exchanged for a variety of rewards - including hot drinks at campus outlets.
Talking about the importance of travelling sustainably, the University said that ‘Transport makes up 33 per cent of UK carbon emissions - more than any other activity. Reducing our reliance on polluting transport methods is vital to tackling the climate emergency and improving air quality. We’re committed to making sustainable and active modes of transport the easiest option when getting to and around campus. This will not only reduce our Scope 3 emissions associated with travel, but also help to improve the health of staff and students.’
“However, there is much more to be done if we are to significantly improve the air quality in our towns. We are currently working on ways to make this improvement, which will encourage even more people to walk or cycle.”
Drawing upon Green Angel Syndicate's expert specialisation, the GAS Climate Change Fund will invest exclusively in early stage companies which contribute to the fight against climate change, and which can generate positive investment returns from doing so.
For investors, this is an opportunity to diversify their unquoted investment portfolio; to spread the risk across 10-15+ investments over a year; to benefit from SEIS or EIS tax relief (1); and to enable their money to make a return for themselves at the same time as making a return for the environment. See Risk disclaimer below.
Since 2017, GAS has invested in 24 companies, building a diversified portfolio of innovative businesses across a variety of sectors. Collectively, these companies are already having a large and rapidly growing impact on greenhouse gas emissions (2). The launch of the fund will enable to increase the amounts of money that are put to work into such innovative companies tackling climate change - accelerating their impact in cutting harmful emissions.
Nick Lyth, CEO of Green Angel Syndicate, said: "Climate change is a threat to all of us. Untold damage is already being done, with global warming of only 1°C. As temperatures continue to rise and feedback loops accelerate, these disasters will get worse. It is easy to see what we can do about climate change: stop putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But it is difficult to do: we need to change how we live our daily lives, the way we heat ourselves, the way we travel, clothe ourselves and consume food - and we need grassroots entrepreneurial innovation and investment in order to achieve that."
Antoine Pradayrol, Chief Investment Officer, said: "The complete transformation of all sectors of the economy that is required to tackle global warming represents a massive collective challenge, but also an enormous opportunity. A growing number of early stage companies are rising to the challenge and developing innovative solutions. By investing in the GAS Climate Change Fund, you will support the growth of these companies - enabling your money to make a return for you at the same time as helping safeguard our common future on the planet."
Green Angel Syndicate's remit includes cutting greenhouse gas emissions, absorbing carbon dioxide, and preserving or rehabilitating the natural environment. The Fund will look at all relevant sectors including, but not limited to, energy, transportation, buildings, agriculture, food and industry. It will do that in the simplest possible way, by co-investing in every deal that GAS Angel Syndicate members will make during its investment period. For more information, please visit www.climatechangefund.co.uk
Risk disclaimer - Investment in early-stage companies involves risks such as illiquidity, lack of dividends, loss of investment and dilution. Even when diversified within a fund, investing in early stage companies carries a higher risk than investing in more established companies. Investment in EIS and SEIS funds should be considered as part of a diversified portfolio.
(1) EIS and SEIS tax relief subject to individual circumstances and subject to change