Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Governance and reporting

The University's ambitious Social Responsibility and Sustainability objectives are carefully supported and monitored.

Strategy and planning

The University's Social Responsibility and Sustainability Strategy 2010 - 2020 sets out our aspirations, our direction and our first steps on the journey towards 2020.


Find our Department's four-year strategic plan on our 'who we are' page

Annual reports

Stack of Social Responsibility and Sustainability reports
We have published annual reports since 2009/10, detailing our social responsibility and sustainability achievements and progress.

Quarterly reports

SRS Q1 highlights infographic 2018/19
Michelle Brown, Head of SRS Programmes, shares quarterly updates in the form of an infographic and written summary of quarterly highlights.


The University's Social Responsibility and Sustainability committees meet regularly to help deliver our commitments and policies.

Zero by 2040


University activities are governed by a number of social responsibility and sustainability policies.



More information
Accommodation services sustainability


(updated 2013)

Accommodation Services has identified sustainable development that 'meets the needs of current customers and staff without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'.

Biodiversity 2012

We are committed to actively enhancing and promoting biodiversity on our grounds.

Climate Strategy


The University of Edinburgh has committed to become zero carbon by 2040. The University's Climate Strategy 2016 lays out a comprehensive whole institution approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation in order to achieve its ambitious targets.

Conflict Minerals policy March 2016 The University of Edinburgh has become the first higher education institution in the UK adopt a formal conflict minerals policy.
Drinking water


(updated 2017)

The University has adopted a more sustainable and economic policy on drinking water and is dispensing with freestanding bottled water coolers and bottled water.

Energy 2003

The University seeks to maintain its position as an environmentally sustainable institution, and to ensure that the needs of the academic community for a high quality estate are met in the most cost effective manner.

Estates development sustainability strategy 2003 Sustainability is a constant requirement for the University from the inception of a building project.  Key objectives include BREEAM Excellent, Whole Life Costing, the CEC Edinburgh Standards for Sustainable Building Supplementary Planning Guidance with minimum 10% of energy demand provided by on-site renewable energy sources and a minimum 5% reduction in energy consumption.
Fair trade 2013

Our  Fair Trade Policy was endorsed by Court in June 2013. Having a Fair Trade Policy is one of the Fairtrade Foundation's criteria for Fairtrade University status.

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Good Food Policy


Guided by our Good Food Policy, the University takes a whole institution approach to food and its connection to health and sustainability.

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Modern Slavery statement 2016

The University is committed to protecting and respecting human rights and have a zero tolerance approach to slavery and human trafficking in all its forms. This statement is made pursuant to Section 54, Part 6 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and sets out the steps the University has taken and will take in relation to slavery and human trafficking.

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Recycling and waste management 2010

The object of this Policy is to provide guidance to Colleges, Schools and Units on how to manage their Wastes and to ensure that all Waste and Recycling produced as a result of University-related activities, on or off University premises, is stored, removed, treated and disposed of according to legislative requirements and the Best Practicable Environmental Option.

Responsible Investment policy

2005 (updated 2016)

The University of Edinburgh was the first university in Europe to sign the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. Following a consultation in Spring 2014, a working group is considering a number of changes to our investment policy.

Reuse and recycling of computers and other electronic equipment (WEEE)


(updated 2005)

This document provides guidance on University Policy relating to the reuse & recycling of IT and other electrical and electronic equipment but focuses mainly on IT equipment.

Transport and Travel Planning 2010

The University of Edinburgh Transport and Travel Planning Policy supersedes the Integrated Travel Policy which was in place since 2000.