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Embracing Sustainability at NTU Careers Fairs

We have a longstanding commitment to address sustainability during the planning and delivery of our careers fair series.

This year we are exploring even further how this action can be improved.

NTU is the 2nd Most Sustainable University in the World and has ranked as a first-class university in the People and Planet University League for over 10 years.

Embracing Sustainability is a strategic priority across the university. The Employability team holds an influential position to drive the change to fulfill this priority, curating “an intergenerational conversation with our students, colleagues, and stakeholders”.

NTU Chief Operating Officer and Registrar, Steve Denton, explains:

"Our Employability team puts significant effort into working with both students and employers to collaborate in finding sustainable solutions to global challenges. The team encourage our students to share with employers their commitment to and understanding of sustainability, and how it can contribute to improved productivity as well as sustainable practices within a range of sectors. There is a growing demand from employers for sustainability experience and skills in today's evolving job market, and it’s great to see our employability team - and NTU students - leading the change.”

Sustainable Recruitment Alliance pledge

Sustainable Recruitment Alliance logo

Earlier this year, NTU Employability became signatories of the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance (SRA). Working together, we are committed to championing sustainable practices with our students, graduates and their future workplaces, throughout the recruitment journey.

We recognise the business imperative for employers to act on sustainability, not only to help their business succeed, but also to help them attract and retain early careers talent. Our Employer Toolkits enable hiring managers to consider, as well as implement, sustainability when they are attracting, selecting and keeping their talent.

For students, undertaking the Sustainability Employability Award can uncover the alignment of their academic discipline to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whilst promotion of Green Jobs gives students the opportunity to make informed decisions around their future careers.

Sustainable action at careers fairs

Here are some examples of how we are addressing sustainability at our careers fairs:

  • Where possible, hospitality for exhibitors is provided through NTU catering, who source and use local producers.  Food and drink is ordered based on delegate numbers to minimise waste.  Food is served in recyclable cardboard containers and cutlery (which used to be plastic) is now wooden and recyclable. At present, water is provided in plastic bottles. Any leftover food is offered to staff and students to limit waste.
  • The Sustainable Restaurant Association recently awarded NTU 'Three Star Food Made Good Sustainability Award' status. This is accredited to all of NTU's catering offers, including our catering outlets, hospitality and conference catering.
  • We no longer use paper banqueting roll to cloth tables.  We use reusable, NTU branded, tablecloths for our own stands and advise employers they are welcome to bring their own cloths if they wish to do so.
  • Stand numbers, lunch vouchers and internal signage are all reused as much as possible, we only print/re-print when necessary.
  • We no longer provide printed Fair Guides, instead we use an electronic dashboard with employer profiles for each exhibitor.  Students can use this to research organisations attending, view vacancies and link directly to employer websites and LinkedIn pages.
  • Students attending events sign in electronically using QR codes.
  • We no longer supply exhibitors with NTU branded merchandise.

New actions for 2023/24:

  • Embracing Sustainability statement has been added to key communications for careers fairs, including invitations and joining instructions.
  • As part of the careers fair booking process, exhibitors will be asked to share details of any sustainable actions they are working on. This might include policies, accreditations or reporting. A Green Leaf icon will be added to the online Employer Profile of participating businesses as a visual tool to communicate to students that employers are addressing sustainability within their organisation.
  • Exhibitors to the Autumn Careers Fair, STEM Careers Fair and Life Sciences and Environment Fair, will be asked to take part in an Eco-Survey, designed to assess the carbon impact of their attendance to the event. The three fairs have been chosen to capture insight across three NTU campuses.

Top tips and toolkits

Considering recent research conducted by the SRA, revealing that 93% of students think employers should take action on environmental sustainability, we’ve put together some top tips to help you on your sustainability journey:

MerchandiseThe use of environmentally friendly merchandise is a great way to demonstrate your company values and commitments to sustainability best practice. Look at how you can reduce the merchandise you bring to fairs and review what you do decide to bring, ensuring it is eco-friendly.
Brochures and resources

Set up a QR code that can be shared with the people who visit your stand, directing them to your careers page to promote your company. When using promotional banners, consider excluding event-specific information (e.g. event names and dates), so they can be used repeatedly to exhaust the full life cycle of the product. When using paper, only use recycled paper and not coated in plastic.

Refreshments and foodWe encourage you to bring reusable cups and water bottles when attending careers fairs.  There are areas to refill water on site at the events.
Waste99% of our waste does not go to landfill as it can be used for fuel if not recycled. Try to avoid contamination with liquids and food on packaging, so we can continue with our efforts.
TravelWhen attending the event, consider the most sustainable and feasible travel option for your business.  If you can use public transport, this has the lowest emissions.  We understand there are times when businesses need to use cars to accommodate the transportation of event equipment. See how you can car share on these occasions to reduce emissions and travel costs.
Sustainability commitmentMany companies are making good progress towards becoming more ethical. This is something students and graduates like to see when researching future career opportunities. Look at how you can share with them your commitments.  This could be access to your sustainability policy, the work you do with local communities and charities, sharing any pledges you have made or sustainability accreditations you are a member of.
Useful resources

You can also learn more about our university-wide approached to Embracing Sustainability in an article featured in The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) Phoenix Journal, July 2023 edition.

Get in touch

For more information about our commitment to Embracing Sustainability across the careers fair series, contact