LMS Sustainability Policy

In 2020/21, the London Mathematical Society adopted a new environmental policy statement as it seeks to be a leader in the mathematical community in relation to sustainability.

The Society has continued to work towards a Sustainable Future in 2021/22 by reviewing its own activities, while encouraging others in the mathematical community to do the same, before taking steps towards reducing the negative environmental impact of the Society's activities. 

Examples of Actions for reducing harmful environmental effects of mathematical activities


  1. Encourage conference participants to use the most environmentally friendly modes of transport, where possible, e.g. taking the train, car-sharing, cycling.
  2. When organising a research visit with a collaborator, then the travelling party could also use the most environmentally friendly modes of transport, where possible e.g., if travelling between the UK and one of France/Belgium/Netherlands then the Eurostar could be used instead of flying.
  3. Think about how to minimise the environmental impact of international travel. For example, when selecting speakers, consider the distances that would be travelled, and perhaps offer invitations to speakers who are geographically nearer first. Or, where an invited speaker is travelling a long distance, the visit could take place over a longer period of time. Another idea is where you or your visitor would be travelling long distances e.g. transatlantic flights, then try to combine research activities in the country, where possible, to avoid multiple long-distance trips.
  4. Consider the impact of daily commuting. For example, if hosting a visiting speaker or collaborator, aim to book on-campus accommodation for the visitor so that they could walk to the department. Where cars may be used, consider car-sharing.
  5. Contemplate using carbon off-setting options when booking air travel, where available.

Hybrid meetings/online collaborations:

  1. If organising a conference, consider offering hybrid meetings so that those who could not travel to attend, both speakers and participants, could still participate remotely. Another idea is that, unless an international speaker happens to be visiting the UK anyway, they could be invited to give a talk online.
  2. When managing your research collaboration, think about making most of your collaboration online with in-person visits organised for research-intense visits.

Sustainable catering at conferences and seminars

  1. Avoid using single-use plastic by using washable or recyclable crockery/cutlery and/or encouraging participants to bring their own water bottles.
  2. Consider either offering only meat-free options or prioritising meat-free options.
  3. Explore whether unused food could be donated to those in need e.g., foodbanks/shelters.
  4. Consider working with suppliers who source healthy, sustainable, and ethical food, recycle responsibly while minimising waste, reduce the environmental impacts of their supply chain, and minimise energy and water consumption across their operations.
  5. Think about sourcing locally produced food to reduce food miles.

Energy efficiency and environmental management

  1. When organising conferences, check whether the lecture theatre used energy efficient lightbulbs.
  2. When organising conferences, aim to use lectures theatres where the temperature in the summer could be managed by opening windows rather than relying on air-conditioning systems.
  3. In general, reduce energy waste by switching off monitors.

Digital materials and reducing giveaways.

  1. When organising conferences, instead of printing materials, make them available digitally e.g. on the event website, via a QR code.
  2. When organising conferences, consider no longer offering giveaways e.g. free pens at the conference in an effort to reduce waste from items that may be discarded at or after the conference.
  3. In general, either minimise printing of academic papers (recycling the paper after use) or aim to use digital copies only.

Universities’ sustainability policies

  1. Adhere to your university’s sustainability policies.
  2. Complete any training on Sustainability, if offered by your university.
  3. Check whether your university is looking to switch (or has already switched) to renewable energy sources.