Social Responsibility and Sustainability

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Edinburgh improves standing in University League

The University of Edinburgh was ranked 3rd in Scotland and 34th in the UK in the People & Planet University League table, improving 10 places on its standing last year.

People & Planet’s University League is a comprehensive and independent league table of UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance. It is compiled annually by the UK’s largest student campaigning network, People & Planet.

The University of Edinburgh achieved a 2.1 ranking, holding its score from last year and moving 10 places up the overall UK ranking.

Out of the Scottish universities ranked, Edinburgh was ranked the third most ethical and environmental.

The University was commended for its performance in Education for Sustainable Developmenthuman resources for sustainabilitysustainable food, and workers' rights.

The University published its Good Food Policy earlier this year, which commits the University to higher standards in catering.

The high score in workers' rights comes after the University of Edinburgh became the first UK educational institution to adopt a conflict minerals policy, seeking to help to protect vulnerable communities by avoiding the use of minerals that fund conflict.

The University also hosts the UN Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development, Learning for Sustainability Scotland.

Responsible investments

In 2013 Edinburgh became the first university in Europe to become a member of the Principles for Responsible Investment, a UN-backed initiative which aims to make the global financial system more sustainable.

In May 2015, the University signalled its intention to use its investments and procurement power to support the transition to a low carbon economy and to divest from the most destructive fossil fuel companies.

In December 2015 the University moved investments into the Global Alpha Choice Fund. Like a number of other universities, this filters out companies with any significant interests in armaments, tobacco, gambling and pornography from direct investments.

Changing how we consume energy

Investments are only a small part of a much bigger picture of how the University is tackling issues of sustainability and climate change.

The University is employing many of its world-class abilities to identify the threat climate change poses, particularly to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities, and to develop innovative technologies to help mitigate against it.

It is one of the UK’s leaders in Combined Heat and Power technology. It has invested more than £20m in low-carbon energy to provide the majority of the campuses’ electricity needs. This has reduced emissions by almost 10,000 tonnes annually.