A PROJECT aimed at helping businesses become more sustainable with the help of students has been launched at the University of Southampton.

Southampton University Students Union (SUSU) beat off competition from more than 100 unions to win £175,000 of funding to champion sustainability practices in local businesses.

The project will be aimed at all aspects of sustainability, including ensuring that the decisions made now do not prevent the public from living the way they want to in the future.

There will be particular focus on student life with areas including the environmental aspect; remembering to switch your lights off to save energy, the social aspect; deciding whether to buy clothes from a shop that has been accused of using child labour, and the economic aspect.

As well as helping businesses address ethical issues such as living wage, investment, and supply chain management, the Business Ethics and Environmental Studies (BEES) programme is equally committed to helping students gain invaluable skills for their personal development.

By taking part, it is hoped students will gain confidence and communication skills, improve their employability and make fantastic contacts. But most importantly they will be part of an innovative plan to change our city.

SUSU’s vice-president of welfare, Beckie Thomas, said: “BEES is an amazing opportunity for a student studying any subject. It provides students with the chance to develop analytical skills, confidence, communication skills and professionalism.

“Students will be working together with businesses to improve sustainability in the workplace across Southampton.

“I am privileged to be working on the BEES project. Where else can you tackle important ethical and environmental issues, gain experience working with businesses, and develop your own skills to prepare yourself for the world of work?

“Of course, we’re also offering a fantastic service to the organisations that will be provided with tailored interventions to improve sustainable practices."