Environmental Policy

As its contribution to achieving environmental best practice in its business operations, the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) will aim to minimise the harmful environmental impacts resulting from all its operations. BSSS will endeavour to do this without compromising our primary goal to promote the study and profession of soil science.


BSSS will adopt the following seven principles of sustainable development in all that it does. That is, it will:

  1. Reduce its use of energy and natural resources – particularly those originating from non-renewable sources
  2. Re-use materials wherever possible to maximise the benefit gained from resources and to prolong their effective working life
  3. Recycle materials that can be recycled effectively – such as organic waste, paper, glass, aluminium, and steel – and use recycled products whenever possible
  4. Use products and materials that, wherever possible, originate from sustainably managed natural sources that cause minimal pollution of the air, soil and water through their full life cycles and from suppliers who operate to high environmental and ethical standards
  5. Adopt practices and procedures that minimise waste and pollution
  6. Avoid materials, products and practices where there is any reasonable doubt concerning their possible environmental impacts
  7. Encourage members and others with whom BSSS interacts (e.g. suppliers, service providers, organisations) to adopt similar policies and principles.

Implementing the Policy

To ensure that BSSS adheres to these seven basic principles (within the limitations noted), BSSS will:

  • Monitor and review BSSS’s environmental performance and policy as a central element of its normal management process, including establishing a baseline performance and setting annual targets for improvement
  • Keep up to date with changes in environmental management practice and the environmental performance of products and materials available for use by BSSS, building knowledge and capability across all staff, volunteers and members through knowledge sharing
  • Produce an annual statement of BSSS’s environmental performance, which will measure the carbon footprint of business travel carried out on BSSS’s behalf by staff, committee members and volunteers. The consumption of power (electricity and gas) and water at BSSS’s offices is monitored by Cranfield University but BSSS will endeavour to monitor and report on these factors.

Practical Application of the Policy

The facilities management of the BSSS office is undertaken by Cranfield University which has its own Environmental Policy.


BSSS will aim to reduce the environmental impacts of its energy consumption by:

  • Encouraging and training staff in the appropriate use of heating and ventilation to not only maintain a safe working environment but minimise the consumption of energy
  • Heaters, lights and other electrical appliances will be turned off when not needed, especially overnight, at weekends and any holiday periods
  • Encouraging staff to boil only the required amount of water when washing cups etc.
  • Using low-energy light bulbs/strips wherever feasible
  • Selecting computers, photocopiers, etc with low-energy features (such as automatic shutdown) when new equipment is being acquired.


BSSS will aim to reduce the environmental impacts of movement associated with its business activities by:

  • Requiring the use of public transport for work purposes by staff and volunteers (e.g. committee members) wherever it is feasible and cost effective
  • Requiring staff and volunteers to avoid flying where reasonable and cost-effective alternatives are available
  • Permitting staff and volunteers to use private vehicles on Society business only as a last resort or where the cost of public transport (either financial or in time required) would be to the significant detriment of the organisation, and ensuring in such instances that staff share private vehicles where possible
  • Holding meetings where possible at locations that are easily accessible by public transport and using teleconferencing/videoconferencing technology whenever possible to reduce the need to travel
  • Only key staff will attend meetings to avoid unnecessary travel
  • Wherever possible/ practical requiring workshops, conferences and training events to be accessible by public transport with start/finish times fixed accordingly. Conference venues will be within walking distance of public transport routes, whenever is possible
  • Publicising public transport access to BSSS’s office. Encouraging staff to use public transport/bike/walk to reach the office or car share where there is no alternative
  • Publicise the availability of BSSS’s car share forum for workshop and conference delegates

Furniture and Office Equipment

BSSS will aim to encourage good environmental practice concerning the purchasing and use of furniture and office equipment by:

  • Acquiring furniture from second-hand suppliers, where appropriate
  • Using only wood and wood products from sustainable managed forests – preferably receiving the Forest Stewardship Council symbol of approval
  • Purchasing the most durable furniture and equipment available within financial constraints
  • Disposing of surplus furniture and office equipment to be re-used or recycled, in preference to dumping it
  • Ensuring any ‘white’ goods are of the highest energy efficiency rating possible and affordable
  • Purchasing efficient printers which use environmentally friendly inks

Paper Products

BSSS will aim to minimise the environmental impacts associated with its use of paper products by:

  • Encouraging staff and volunteers to only print where necessary, for example, accessing meeting papers electronically where possible
  • Encouraging staff to print/ photocopy as few copies of a document as necessary
  • Printing/photocopying all documents double-sided where possible
  • Purchasing unbleached paper made from 100% D-grade (post-consumer) recycled waste
  • Re-using all waste paper that has been printed or written on one side only as scrap notepaper
  • Re-using incoming envelopes where possible by attaching re-use labels
  • Recycling all used paper and cardboard
  • Purchasing unbleached, 100% post-consumer recycled toilet paper and kitchen roll
  • Looking into the possibility of using Near Field Communication transfers and download options at events instead of handing out paper copies.

Non-Paper Products

BSSS will aim to minimise the environmental impacts associated with its use of non-paper stationery by:

  • Reducing the use of and re-using paper clips, elastic bands, treasury tags and other small “consumables”
  • Purchasing recycled products where possible e.g. pens made of recycled plastic
  • Minimising printing and especially colour printing to reduce use of toners and fluids
  • Recycling all used printer cartridges and all other used office appliances where feasible and appropriate
  • Avoiding packaging as far as possible and re-using or recycling any that is acquired as far as is practicable

Food and Drink

BSSS will aim to adopt high ethical and environmental standards when providing food and drink to staff, volunteers, members, visitors and to others attending Society events by:

  • Purchasing/ requesting “fair trade” tea and coffee
  • Using/requesting organic, fair-trade, locally produced and predominantly plant-based food and drink as far as practical (to reduce embedded carbon and support the associated enhanced environment)
  • Encouraging sustainably produced food purchase by outside catering services and providing individual choice to meet delegate preferences, for example (but not limited to): vegan, specified allergen-free, vegetarian food options for all event attendees possible
  • Avoiding, as far as possible, the use of products containing genetically modified organisms
  • Recycling food packaging wherever possible
  • Avoiding waste through over-ordering
  • Endeavouring to work with sponsoring organisations that support our approach
  • Encouraging staff to recycle any packaging from food and drink consumed at BSSS’s offices
  • Ensuring that compostable waste from food eaten at BSSS’s office is disposed of appropriately

Cleaning Products

BSSS will aim to reduce the environmental impacts of keeping its office and equipment clean by:

  • Encouraging staff, volunteers and cleaning contractors to be sparing in their use of cleaning products whilst achieving sanitization
  • Encouraging staff, volunteers and cleaning contractors to use cleaning products that have the lowest possible environmental impact

Purchasing Policy

Wherever practicable BSSS, when purchasing goods or services, will endeavour to identify suppliers and contractors with a demonstrable and auditable commitment to environmental good practice. For example, we will procure goods from suppliers who use minimal and biodegradable/ recyclable plastic packaging and use external printers who use environmentally- friendly practices wherever appropriate.

Financial Services and Investments

BSSS will aim to improve the environmental and ethical performance of its own financial arrangements by banking and investing in financial service providers where possible with a demonstrable commitment to environmental and ethical performance.


While our primary aim is to reduce our carbon emissions, we have committed to offsetting the residual emissions (for example from our offices and from governance meetings). We will do this through an annual payment to a restoration project in the UK or Ireland.

We will also investigate setting up an annual BSSS secretariat ‘carbon offsetting day’ which involves voluntary activities such as tree planting or bog restoration.

Encouraging Others

BSSS will encourage members and others with whom it comes into contact to adopt similar or equivalent policies and practices and to commit to reducing their effect on the environment and their carbon footprint. BSSS will put the Environmental Policy prominently on its website and publish the outcomes of its monitoring of this environmental policy in the Annual Review.


September 2020