Q4 highlights for 2018/19

The Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability (SRS) facilitates programmes to catalyse action and collaboration across campus for impact. Our infographic summarises some of the highlights over the year and provides our fourth-quarter report for the 2018/19 academic year.

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18-19 Q4 Social Responsibility and Sustainability Highlights

Sustainability Awards and Be Sustainable

The Sustainability Awards have drawn new interest from around the University by offices and labs who are looking for tools and approaches to implement actions in their areas. 38 teams were awarded in 2018/19 and we have 46 teams signed up for 19/20. Over 1,200 Staff and Students took the online ‘Be Sustainable’ induction so far in the year with 6,000 sustainable behaviour pledges made this year. Our learning and development course for staff (Be Sustainable Advanced) developed with Learning for Sustainability Scotland, was piloted last year and a second intake started in June.

Energy Engagement and Communications

Over the last year, the Energy Engagement and Communications programme has sought to ensure that all staff and students have access to information and tools to reduce their energy impact at the University. 22 location audits were carried out identifying local savings and opportunities. 176 Energy Coordinators supported to identify savings in their areas. 83 projects have been approved for funding from the Sustainable Campus Fund estimated to bring annual savings of over £520k and 1,600 tCO2e.

Sustainable Travel

The Sustainable Travel Programme faced some challenges in the implementation of the planned pilots but significant progress was made in building links with other universities. We launched the Roundtable of Sustainable Academic Travel and further refined our data collection and analysis and approach to reporting. We are now working on developing next steps for University action.

Resource Efficiency and a Circular Economy

On Resource Efficiency and a Circular Economy, we continue to work with others around the University. The introduction of the latte levy in 2018 resulted in a c37% reduction in single-use coffee cups in the last academic year. We launched the new campaign #ZeroWasteUoE in Q3 which continued to reach new audiences in Q4. The waste and reuse portal (Warp It) saved £289,000 in the year (£88k in the quarter). The IT Reuse Project resulted in close to 1,000 items reused (c50% with our community partner). 

Fairness in Trade and Sustainable Procurement

For our work in Fairness in Trade and Sustainable Procurement, a review was undertaken in relation to evolving international standards and benchmarks. The research Project ‘Make ICT Fair’ project progressed with supply chain country research scoping visits by lead researcher in SSPS. A new University-wide Palm Oil policy was approved and communicated. Student placements undertook research on approaches to modern slavery due diligence, soya risks and supply chain monitoring. 

Community Engagement

The Community Engagement Programme (Edinburgh Local) has supported 47 projects around Edinburgh with the financial support of £180,654. Over recent months there has been a range of engagement events including a mixer with grant recipients, a community showcase as well as stalls around the University to seek feedback and ideas in the further development of our strategy. A review of the Digital Ambassadors project and the Educate Edinburgh project was completed and new projects will be launched in the autumn. New social investment projects are in development.

Sustainability at the Festival

The Festival Sustainability Hub was a key project in the last quarter of the year. This has helped to ensure there is a sustainability presence at the Fringe and provide a focal point for collaboration with partners on sustainability. An intern has been further investigating plastic waste and collaborative opportunities to address this. 

Sustainability in the curriculum

Building on the success of the Student Pathways project whereby 50 students completed their Edinburgh Award on Climate Leadership or the SDGs we are now working to develop further opportunities for the Circular Economy. A PhD intern is undertaking a mapping exercise to look at the SDGs in the curriculum.

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The efforts and hard work of staff and students around the University make change happen. Get in touch. Get involved. We look forward to working with you in the months and year ahead.

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Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability
The Boilerhouse
High School Yards

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