University invests £5 million in green projects

The University has invested £5 million in green projects after becoming the first university in the UK to sign up to HSBC’s new green deposits programme.

Young plants sprouting from pound coins

HSBC's Green Deposits programme is used to finance businesses and projects that promote the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient and sustainable economy, such as renewable energy, efficient buildings, sustainable waste management and clean transportation.

Investing in the programme is the latest action taken by the University to make its investments more socially and environmentally responsible, and Edinburgh is the first University to invest in the programme.

As of September 2020, 100% of the University's investment in HSBC's Green Deposits fund was financing renewable energy businesses.

Investing in organisations that promote the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient and sustainable economy is a key way in which the University can act on evidence from our own world-class research. The University has invested more than £150 million in low carbon technology, climate-related research and businesses that directly benefit the environment since 2010. Through our investments we intend to deliver multiple benefits for society, the economy and the environment.

Dave GormanDirector of Social Responsibility and Sustainability

What is responsible investment?

Responsible investment is an approach to investing that aims to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment decisions, to better manage risk and generate sustainable, long-term returns. Examples of factors include climate change, working conditions in supply chains, and board diversity and structure.

In 2013, the University of Edinburgh became the first university in Europe to sign the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, an internationally-recognised initiative seeking to build a more sustainable financial system. Signatories commit to following six Principles for Responsible Investment and report annually to the PRI on their progress, who issue signatories with a scorecard and benchmarking against past performance, peer performance, and industry standards.

University scored "A" for responsible investments

In July 2020, the University of Edinburgh received an overall score of A in an annual assessment by the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, the world's leading proponent of responsible investment. The University also maintained its "straight As" score from the PRI's 2019 report.


Overall score 2020 A
Strategy & Governance A+
Listed Equity A
Fixed Income - SSA A
Fixed Income - Corporate Financial A
Fixed Income - Corporate Non-Financial A
Fixed Income - Securitised A
Property - Indirect A
Property - Direct & active ownership A


For more detailed information, read the University of Edinburgh's PRI Report 2020.

Note: Assessment Reports are the intellectual property of PRI. Third party organisations who have accessed assessment reports outside of the Data Portal and intend to use assessment reports require the prior written consent of PRI (other than for internal use or research or for the sole benefit of the organisation whose report this refers to).

Since the University became a signatory of the Principles for Responsible Investment in 2013 we have taken many positive steps to ensure our investments are a force for good, such as our commitment to transition out of fossil fuels investments by 2021. We continue to invest in sustainable and low carbon companies, and in line with Strategy 2030, we are ​committed to human rights and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This latest report from the PRI is confirmation that we're using our investments wisely; not just for the benefit of the University, but for the benefit of society as a whole.

Lee HamillDirector of Finance

Find out more

Read the University's 2020 PRI Report

Read a summary of responsible investments in 2018/19