Social Responsibility and Sustainability


Highlights from the first quarter

Head of SRS Programmes, Michelle Brown, shares progress from the first quarter of the 2017/18 academic year.

Infographic of Q1 highlights also available as a PDF


One year ago the University launched its new Climate Strategy, Zero by 2040. The energy engagement and communications programme contributes to these targets and, over the last quarter, there were four new projects approved for the Sustainable Campus Fund. This brings a running total of £690k allocated over the last 15 months estimated to bring annual savings of close to £278k and 1034tCO2e. The team was also busy putting other project proposals together for future funding mechanisms. Roughly £1.32m of potential energy savings have been identified towards a short-term 10 percent savings target. Energy engagement in one pilot laboratory area led to a 12 to 14% drop in consumption. A few new staff energy coordinators were recruited along with student volunteers and our communications team have been working on new materials such as an energy video and the winter shutdown visuals

The waste and reuse portal (Warp It) continues to help contribute to a vision of a circular economy with 45 new users registered in the last quarter. An estimated £25k has been saved and over 2000 kg of waste avoided. 

The Sustainability Awards teams are in full swing with audits supported by students taking place over recent weeks. The number of student residences registering to take the awards has increased substantially from previous years. The number of office awards teams has dropped slightly (25 down from 30) and lab-based teams remains the same at 12-13. The awards programme supports participants to find new ways to conserve resources, save energy, streamline research practices, fundraise for good causes and build links with the local community.

Our fairness in trade and sustainable procurement programme has focussed on the drafting of the modern slavery statement, updating the conflict minerals policy, preparing for the November supplier engagement event as well as the ‘Make ICT Fair’ research project. We are recruiting for a new supply chains coordinator post with applications due in early January. 

The community engagement programme saw the successful launch of the new Edinburgh Local website along with the small grants project. The Digital Ambassadors project had over 50 students recruited and 15 indicated and active at the end of the first quarterly. The first 6 week course at Charteris Centre was completed along with drop ins at the Central Library.  

The Our Changing World series and other events brought a total of 2,617 attendees. 

Through the programmes that we run we seek to catalyse action and collaboration across campus. It is through the efforts and hard work of staff and students around the University that makes change possible. Get in touch. Get involved. We look forward to working with you in the months ahead.


View the highlights graphic as a PDF:


Michelle Brown

Head of SRS Programmes

Contact details


  • Michelle is responsible for the organisation, planning, management and delivery of comprehensive and effective social responsibility and sustainability programmes in line with the publicly expressed ambitions of the University.