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7 Dec 2018

Sustainability Team to host lecture on the ethics of gift giving

The University’s Sustainability Team are pleased to announce they will be hosting a public lecture in the build up to the festive period about the ethics behind the exchanging of presents.

‘Giving, receiving, wanting or needing? A discussion on the ethics of gift-giving’ takes place on Thursday 13 December and guests can expect to hear from a number of academics at the University as well as external speakers.

Providing a variety of perspectives, the panel will consist of Dr Thomas Thurnell-Read (Lecturer in Cultural Sociology), Dr Shahin Rahimifard (Professor of Sustainable Engineering) and Dr Petros Vourvachis (Lecturer in Accounting).

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Phil Ball from the University’s waste contractor, Enva, will also be part of the panel, and Loughborough Students’ Union’s Discuss Society will be co-chairing the discussion alongside Sonja Peacock from the Sustainability Team.

If you are looking to find out about sustainable ways of treating your loved ones this Christmas, the event will also have a Q&A where you can ask your questions to the panel.

Dr Thomas Thurnell-Read commented: “At Christmas, giving gifts to family and friends is an important ritual by which we show that we care for others, but we're also increasingly aware of the human and environmental costs of making, transporting and disposing of products and commodities. We see lots of alternative gifts marketed as 'ethical' but it is sometimes unclear if they live up to their claims.”

Sustainability Manager, Jo Shields, added: “At a time of year that can be busy and for some stressful, how much we buy, eat and give is on everyone’s minds! 

“This lecture will provide a moment to reflect on the act of giving. What does it really mean and how can we balance want and need with the true meaning of gifting? This will be a really positive and engaging discussion with some great ideas to take away on how to change the way we buy and give at any time of the year.”

The lecture is free for students, staff and members of the community to attend and takes place from 6:30pm-7:30pm. Places can be booked online here.

For more information about the event, contact Sonja Peacock by emailing

Further information about the University's 2018 Christmas campaign can be found here

The Sustainability Team work hard throughout the year to promote and develop environmentally-friendly initiatives which protect the biodiversity on campus. In addition, they engage with staff and students through a variety of ways to educate them about sustainable alternatives, reducing energy usage and understanding what can and can’t be recycled. To find out more about the work of the Sustainability Team, visit the University’s website