City partnership set to boost climate action 

​​​​​​​The University has joined forces with five leading employers to help Edinburgh reach its target of net zero emissions. 

Edinburgh city rooftops
Edinburgh city rooftops

On Friday 18 December, Principal Peter Mathieson signed an agreement that outlines commitments organisations will adopt to contribute to a green recovery and reach Edinburgh’s target for net zero emissions.  

Joining forces

The five other signatories of the Edinburgh Climate Compact are Baillie Gifford, NatWest, NHS Lothian, Robertson Group and the City of Edinburgh. 

It is the first time in Scotland that employers spanning the education, health, finance, construction and public and private sectors have come together to agree a change in their working practices in order to address climate change. 

As a University with a deep-rooted sense of internationalism, we are deeply concerned by the climate crisis and are committed to making a positive difference both globally and locally. Using our excellence in research and teaching, and by adapting how we operate as an institution, we are playing our part in helping combat the effects of climate change and finding innovative solutions to tackle the challenges it poses. By working with our civic partners, and taking our own practical steps to make more sustainable choices, I believe we can encouraging others to do likewise.

Professor Peter Mathieson Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Accelerating action

The signatories have agreed to 16 actions which will lead to clear change in their business practices in order to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Actions include: prioritising sustainable travel and investing in a switch to zero-emissions vehicles; retrofitting buildings to become more energy efficient; and training staff to increase awareness of issues around climate change and encouraging a change of behaviours.

Each organisation will also publicise what action is currently taken to address climate change including the disclosure of current emission levels and plans for how they plan to reduce their carbon emissions further.  

World-leading expertise

 The Edinburgh Climate Compact is the latest output of the Edinburgh Climate Commission, a cross-sector network established in February 2020, which is co-sponsored by the University and City of Edinburgh Council.

Co-sponsored by the University and City of Edinburgh Council, the Commission is part of the Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN), which works to translate climate policy into action on the ground in Edinburgh, Leeds and Belfast.  

PCAN aims to accelerate action and impact on climate change in the city, and provides independent, expert advice to enable and support the best choices being made for Edinburgh. 

The ESRC-funded research project is hosted in the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, within the School of GeoSciences.   

Related links 

Zero by 2040 – the University’s climate strategy 

Edinburgh Climate Commission 

Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) 

Place-based Climate Action Network