Writing an Environmental Impact Assessment - Draft

This guide is published as a supporting text to one of the Net Zero Motions.

What are environmental impact assessments for?

Anything the JCR supports needs to have an environmental impact assessment that has been approved by the E&E Officer/s. This means all events, projects or activities that in anyway make use of JCR property, income or assistance. If you feel this negatively impacts your ability to meet the JCR's objectives you can of course submit a request for exemption. 

What does an environmental impact assessment look like?

It has three sections: “Environmental Impact:”; “Mitigations:”; and “Future Alternatives:”.

Environmental Impact:” should contain a brief summary of how different parts of the event or project could impact the environment. Taken the example of a Welfare tea we could have,

  1. Production, packaging and transportation of the 2 boxes of tea bags we need.
  2. Production, packaging and transportation of the 4 boxes of biscuits.
  3. Electricity usage due to boiling a kettle multiple times.

Mitigations:” should contain the steps taken to limit the environmental impacts identified above. So, continuing the above example, we could have,

  1. Selecting sustainably sourced or fair-trade tea options.
  2. Opting for locally produced or organic biscuits.
  3. Ensuring everyone brings their own cup instead of single-use ones.
  4. Only heat the water in the kettle to 70 degrees.

Finally, “Future Alternatives:” should look ahead and consider alternatives to the event or project or specific parts of it to see how the environmental impact could be diminished even further. So the future alternatives of our example could be,

  1. Cold beverages instead?
  2. Reducing the amount of food waste at the end?
  3. Bake the biscuits ourselves?

In our EIA it is clear that we have thought about our impact and mitigations. This is everything that the E&E Officer/s would have to witness to be able to approve it in good faith.

How should you prepare and submit an assessment?

What researching an environmental impact assessment entails varies from event to event and project to project. For the most part it should be as simple as the example above; achievable in about 3 minutes. However, if in doubt the E&E Officer/s will be able to provide advice on what exactly you should be doing for your specific event or project.

If you have already made an EIA that you think is very similar to the one you would make for an upcoming event or project then you can just ask the E&E Officer/s and they will probably approve the event on a recurring basis. The lesser the environmental impact the easier it should be. If you have already thought a lot about how to minimise the environmental impact then it will make your job very easy.

EIA have to be submitted to the relevant matrix room. You can simply paste it as text. Try to give it a sensible title so that people know what it is for. Here the E&E Officer/s can then almost instantly grant approval. Everyone in the JCR who wishes can then look at the assessment. If they want helpful suggestions can be given, please do this using the threads function to keep everything organised.

What help is available?

You only have to ask for help and then you shall receive it. Anyone on the Climate Action Subcommittee would be more than happy to answer any questions or queries you might have. Just get in touch or pop them a message. 

You will also have a wealth of previously approved examples to look at in the relevant matrix room. These can inform how you go about your own EIA.