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Green Impact turns 15!

Joanna Romanowicz
August 8, 2023
Photo credit: Green Impact Award winning team at the University of Birmingham

Green Impact, our UNESCO award-winning programme designed to support environmentally and socially sustainable practice within organisations, is turning 15 this year! Starting as a humble excel spreadsheet back in 2008, the framework has been adopted by nearly 2,000 organisations, amounting to more than half a million positive sustainability actions taken in the past 15 years. The programme has been constantly adapted to make it bespoke and fit for purpose for all participating organisations, and we are particularly excited about our new and improved toolkit software that was launched this year.

SOS-UK is student-led charity and much of our work naturally happens in the education sector, however since 2011, Green Impact has also been adopted by organisations across the healthcare sector, research institutes, and cultural heritage sites, not only in the UK, but across the European continent and Australasia, who see the invaluable expertise and support that SOS-UK offers.

It is very important to us that through every campaign and programme that we run, students can develop the knowledge, values, skills, and competencies required to make them great sustainability leaders. Through Green Impact we have two opportunities for involvement. Students can become Green Impact Project Assistants supporting teams across organisations to embed sustainable actions, giving them invaluable experience of ‘the real’ world, building their communication and leadership skills at the same time.

Another unique feature of Green Impact is student-led audits of participating teams to recognise their achievements in making their workplaces more environmentally and socially sustainable. We are delighted that over the past 15 years we have trained over 7,700 students to become Green Impact auditors, enabling them to have real life experience, learning what different organisations are doing on sustainability, and hopefully inspiring them along the way. We are proud to have worked with the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) to create this worthwhile and invaluable training programme (as fed back by students!), recognising the skills that they gain as a result. As part of this collaboration, the audit course is approved by IEMA, and students that complete the Green Impact programme are entitled to a discount on IEMA student membership.

In addition, IEMA sponsors our student leadership award, offering the winning student a year’s free membership. Sarah Mukherjee MBE, CEO of IEMA, said:

“We're thrilled to collaborate with SOS-UK; as both our organisations work hard to take actionable steps towards a sustainable future. Students form our talent pipeline, and it’s vital that they are equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge to be able to drive change in their future roles. IEMA membership supports students to expand their network with like-minded individuals, provides training, resources to help them continue their professional development.”

If you are a current UK student and would like to undertake our free IEMA-approved sustainability auditing, we are currently taking applications for Autumn 2023. You’ll complete the online training course, before completing an online audit of a primary care provider. Find out more and register here (by 30th September 2023)

Collaboration with other organisations is crucial to us; collaboration helps us be more creative, bring more people on the sustainability journey, and address the climate and ecological crisis more holistically. Thank you to all those who have worked with us over the last 15 years and made Green Impact what it is today!


If you’re interested in how Green Impact can support you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on Rachel.soper@sos-uk.org