Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Top 10 highlights from our Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2018-19

We're excited to reveal our top 10 highlights of the great work students and staff have been doing to make Edinburgh a more socially responsible and sustainable university in 2018-19.

About the report

New reports are published each year, and cover the previous academic year from the start of August to the end of July. We have published annual reports since 2009/10, detailing social responsibility and sustainability achievements and progress from across the whole University.

 View the full Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2018-19

Social responsibility and sustainability topics are also integrated into the University's Annual Reporting and Accounts, which received the Green Gown Award for total reporting in 2019.

Top 10 highlights

1. 2025 carbon emissions target met

As part of its commitment to become carbon neutral, the University has returned its carbon emissions to 2007-08 baseline year levels.

Read more about climate change in the report

University Keepcup
In a bid to encourage students and staff to use reusable cups, the University and Students’ Association introduced a charge for disposable cups in their cafes and announced that they would accept all reusable cups.

2. Disposable cups reduced by 37 per cent

The introduction of a levy on single-use coffee cups has been very effective, leading to an average reduction in disposable cup usage of 37 per cent in University-owned cafes over the past year.

Read more about sustainable estates in the report

3. 10 per cent of new students from Scotland came from the most deprived areas

The University was delighted to meet the Commission for Widening Access targets of 10 per cent of our intake to come from the 20 per cent most deprived areas in Scotland 3 years ahead of schedule.

Read more about widening participation in the report

4. Centre for Homeless and Inclusion Health launched

Through the University’s Social Impact Pledges, the Centre for Homeless and Inclusion Health was launched in 2018.

Read more about community engagement in the report

Solar panel
Solar panels on the side of David Hume Tower generating renewable energy.

5. 3,400 tonnes of carbon predicted to be saved with energy efficiency projects

Energy efficiency projects valued at £7.2 million approved, delivering annual savings of over £1.1 million and 3,400 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Read more about climate change in the report

6. University established the Roundtable of Sustainable Academic Travel

The University established an international network of global institutions in a bid to address the growing emissions from business travel within higher education.

Read more about sustainable estates in the report

7. £180,000 given to local community projects by the University

The University has awarded £180,000 to more than 40 projects across the city since its inception in October 2017.

Read more about community engagement in the report

Geosciences researchers, making observations on how tundra vegetation is changing, adding to the vast body of research the University of Edinburgh undertakes on climate change. Image © Jeffrey Kerby, National Geographic Society
Geosciences researchers, making observations on how tundra vegetation is changing, adding to the vast body of research the University of Edinburgh undertakes on climate change. Image © Jeffrey Kerby, National Geographic Society.

8. University of Edinburgh academics contribute expertise to IPCC report

Academics from Edinburgh contributed to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report.

Read more about research and public engagement in the report

9. The University has committed to invest up to £8 million in social investments

By May 2019, the University had already invested £2.5 million with Big Issue Invest via its Social Enterprise Investment Fund (SEIF) II and Power Up Scotland, and Social Investment Scotland via its Social Growth Fund 2.

Read more about responsible investment in the report

10. Students completed the Global Challenges for Business course

This is a new innovative approach to the University’s Business School's first-year core requirements. Students study topics such as digital disruption, globalisation and environmental disruption.

Read more about learning and teaching in the report

 

Other themes

Sustainable procurement Fair employer