Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Learning and teaching

Students want to learn about sustainability. A national survey has highlighted that around 60 per cent of students want to learn more about sustainability.

Learning and teaching top banner 2017-18 SRS reporting

The National Union of Students asks students about their attitudes towards learning for sustainable development. This has been completed every year since 2010. Results have remained constant, despite changes in higher education and society, the demand for students to learn about sustainability has remained constant.

Over the last year, the University has provided students with further opportunities to engage with social responsibility and sustainability issues through the formal and informal curriculum.

Global challenges for business course

The first cohort of students completed the Global Challenges for Business course, a new innovative approach to the University’s Business School first year core requirements. All of the students, and those on a joint programme,  take this course where they critically engage with global challenges businesses face. Students study topics such as digital disruption, globalisation and environmental disruption.  Over three hundred students take this course. 

Students learn how to think, rather than what to think, and students are prepared for the complex world they will face when they graduate, with the skills that will help them to understand and cut through that complexity.

WHSmith Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Clarke launched the new Global Challenges business course in September 2017. He delivered a lecture on the changing nature of business in an uncertain and globalised world.

Edinburgh launches new Global Challenges Business Course

European university social responsibility

Edinburgh is one of three universities involved in the Erasmus + funded ‘European Students Sustainability Auditing’ Project. The project is piloting an approach to support universities improve their social responsibility practices, which in turn provides students with a learning opportunity on how universities implement these practices and a platform for academic and professional staff to share best practice.

Students from Edinburgh, the University of Porto and Kaunas University of Technology have participated in two week long audits of institutions in 2017/18. 70% of student participants reported back that they felt very confident in completing their role as an auditor following completion of the training, and all participants feel their university could learn from the approach to student learning adopted by the project.  

Looking ahead, students will participate in two further audits, University of Porto in 2018, and Kings College London in 2019.

European Students Sustainability Auditing Project

Climate change scholars begin online studies

Students from countries at high risk from climate change started new charity funded scholarships at Edinburgh. The inaugural cohort of Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation Climate Change scholars took part in a ground-breaking distance learning programme.

The 20 students, from 12 nations including Ghana, Chile and Sierra Leone, are enrolled on the University’s online MSc in Carbon Management. The programme, which is led by the School of GeoSciences, provides knowledge, skills and training in the business, economics, policy, and the science of carbon management.

The programme won the PricewaterhouseCoopers award for Teaching Employable Skills. It was also ranked in the top five sustainable development and environmental management Masters programmes in the UK by university ranking firm, Eduniversal.

Climate Change Scholars

Related links

Sustainable Development Goals Index