Greening Business

Group Projects

Students can carry out projects on many different ‘greening business’ topics.  Carrying out projects provides students with the opportunity to research a topic independently (or in groups), gaining greater insight into key issues and developing an awareness of practices occurring elsewhere.  Projects can be based around their own educational institution providing links between the curriculum and campus, and where the outcomes are communicated to senior management, also providing an opportunity for students to drive change in their own institutions. Below is a suggestion for a structure of a project and suggestions for topics that can be carried out.  Through presentation of their project findings through a report and poster (and short summary oral) presentation students have the opportunity to practice and develop a range of skills including: observation and recording; data handling, analysis and presentation; researching and evaluating secondary resources; designing effective posters; oral presentation; and report writing, which all lead to further development of core research, writing, numeracy and ICT skills.

Project requirements

The project can be carried out in a group or independently. Where it is run as a group project it is suggested that the report is completed individually and the poster as a group submission, with everybody present at the poster presentation session to answer questions on their work.

1) 1,500 word report of project findings and recommendations

2) Poster presentation and short oral presentation summarizing report findings

Project topics

These are suggestions of topics to be carried out by groups.  Please adapt them to suit your needs and include more or less background information and guidance as appropriate.

Topic 1) Sustainable campus and corporate cars

Universities need to use cars and vans, for Estates and grounds use, for postal transport and many other uses, including transport of senior management to University sector events.  These different uses have competing requirements which include university image, practical use, economics and environmental factors.  In order to show its commitment to sustainability what vehicles should the university buy for corporate travel and for campus estates use and what other considerations should they make?

You must produce a report researching different potential options and justify your conclusions and recommendations, and should consider (as a minimum):

  • Transport of materials
  • Life span
  • Miles per gallon
  • Fuel type and related issues
  • Materials used

Topic 2) Building environmental audit and action plan

The University is interested in auditing the environmental impact of its operations.  It would like you to produce an audit report focusing on the impacts caused by campus buildings and the activities that go on in the buildings (students should choose a building in discussion with the tutor). 

You must produce a report covering good and bad practices and include recommendations for improvements, including costs and savings (both energy/carbon and financial).  You must look at the following areas (as a minimum):

  • Energy
  • Water
  • Transport
  • Waste
  • Purchasing

Topic 3) School office environmental audit and action plan

To help establish a better environmental management system on campus, the University would like you to carry out an investigation into how sustainable the School/department offices are in terms of the control and management of waste and energy.  Choose an office in consultation with your tutor.

You must produce a report covering the list of topics below (as a minimum) and produce an action plan to help the office reduce its environmental impact in the areas discussed.  You will need to discuss opportunities for reducing, reusing and recycling, and the cost (financial and carbon) of different strategies

  • Printing (paper, ink, energy)
  • Photocopying (paper, ink, energy)
  • Waste disposal (paper, ink etc…)
  • Lighting and heating requirements

Topic 4) Recycling

To help establish better waste disposal and recycling facilities on campus, the University would like you to conduct a recycling audit of the different practices occurring around the campus.

You must produce a report addressing the issues below and devise an action plan for improving and monitoring recycling on the University campus.

  • The types of materials that can be recycled on campus (and the location of recycling facilities)
  • Recycling practices of different academic schools/buildings on campus
  • Evidence of difficulties in managing recycling schemes on campus
  • See if you can find out where materials disposed in recycling bins on campus actually end up
  • The extent of recycling associated with bars and restaurants and halls of residence on campus
  • The energy and raw material saving associated with recycling different materials

Topic 5) Increasing Cycling

The University is developing a new campaign to encourage students and staff to cycle to and around the University in order to reduce emissions and congestion on campus.  They are keen to address many of the barriers to cycling.

You must produce a report which addresses the issues below and devise an action plan for encouraging cycling at your university (including students and staff).

  • Examples of successful initiatives to increase the amount of cycling in other companies and/or countries
  • National schemes to encourage cycling as a form of transport
  • Benefits of cycling (as quantified as possible)
  • Barriers to cycling (as quantified as possible)
  • Possible solutions to overcome barriers supported by research on their effectiveness

Topic 6) Alternatives to single-occupant cars

The University is developing a new campaign to reduce single-occupant car use to get to the University.  They want to investigate a number of different strategies including (at least) walking, car sharing and use of public transport. 

You must produce a report which addresses the issues below and devise an action plan to reduce car use (including students and staff).

  • Examples of a range of different strategies for decreasing car use in other organizations and/or countries
  • Barriers to the implementation and take up different transport options
  • Benefits of different transport options (as quantified as possible)
  • Development of strategies for reducing car use at your University
  • Cost (financial and energy/carbon) of different solutions (e.g. carbon implications of increasing frequency of buses). 

Topic 7) Water management plan

The University would like to become more sustainable through reducing the amount of water used on campus.   You have been asked to carry out an audit of water use and devise a water management plan for the campus.

You must produce a report which addresses the issues below and produce an action plan to minimize water use across the University.

  • Amount of water used by the University for different purposes
  • Current examples of rainwater use and low water use appliances across campus
  • The potential for rain water harvesting (amount of rain, building area for rainfall collection)
  • Financial cost/savings for rainwater harvesting
  • Financial cost/saving for alternative strategies for reducing water use
  • Water savings for different strategies

Topic 8) Energy-saving devices and strategies

The University wants to significantly reduce the amount of energy used by electrical appliances on campus, particularly office equipment such as computers, laptops, printers and photocopiers, and is investigating the potential for the application of energy saving devices such as the ‘ecobutton’.  You have been asked to research which energy saving devices would be the most appropriate for the university or alternative strategies for reducing energy consumption through applicances.

You must produce a report of your findings considering the issues below and devise an action plan for the use of energy-saving devices in areas of the University’s activities. 

  • Type of equipment used on campus suitable for energy saving devices
  • Financial cost/savings of application of different products
  • Carbon cost/savings of application of different products
  • Life Cycle Analysis and lifespan of different products
  • Alternative strategies for reducing appliance energy use

Topic 9) Green purchasing policies – cleaning products

The University is looking into the possibility of using more ‘environmentally-friendly’ cleaning products.  You have been asked to research the environmental impacts of different cleaning products and to make a case for alternatives.

You must produce a report in which you synthesize existing research about the environmental and health impacts of cleaning products and make a case (financial and environmental) for alternative products.

Topic 10) Carbon footprint of fieldcourses

The University wants to investigate the carbon footprint associated with the field courses that it runs and to devise ways of reducing the environmental impact of its field courses.

You must produce a report detailing the investigation into the carbon footprint of all the field courses associated with one degree course using a field course carbon calculator developed at the University of Chester.  You must also present a well-researched strategy for addressing the environmental impacts of field courses.

Download worksheet to structure initial group activities


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