Social Responsibility and Sustainability

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Survey results: 95% of University of Edinburgh students are interested in climate change

In our latest survey of University students and staff, we found high levels of interest in climate change, sustainability, and social responsibility.

This article will cover:

  • Key findings from the 2019 Social Responsibility and Sustainability student and staff surveys
  • Progress the University has made on the 10 topics that matter most to staff and students
  • Past surveys: you said, we did!
  • How our survey was conducted

Key findings

Interest in climate change, sustainability and social responsibility are high amongst University of Edinburgh students and staff. The majority of those who interacted with our department found it helpful.

Survey article student results
Student results: Eight out of ten students found their interaction with our Department helpful. 95% of students interested in climate change, 93% interested in sustainability, 86% interested in social responsibility.
Survey article staff results
Staff results: Nine out of ten staff members found their interaction with us helpful. 96% staff interested in climate change, 94% interested in sustainability, 90% interested in social responsibility.

Top 10 priority issues

Staff and students were asked to rank 10 social responsibility and sustainability issues in order of importance. Using renewable energy was the number one priority for students, and improving the energy efficiency and sustainability of our buildings was the number one priority for staff.

Student priorities Staff priorities
Renewables survey icon
1. Using renewable energy
Energy survey icon
1. Improving the energy efficiency and sustainability of our buildings
Recycling survey icon
2. Improving recycling, increasing reuse and reducing waste
Renewables survey icon
2. Using renewable energy
Energy survey icon
3. Improving the energy efficiency and sustainability of our buildings
Recycling survey icon
3. Improving recycling, increasing reuse and reducing waste
Investment survey icon
4. Improving the sustainability and social responsibility of the University’s investments
Investment survey icon
4. Improving the sustainability and social responsibility of the University’s investments
Active travel survey icon
5. Support for walking, cycling and public transport
Active travel survey icon
5. Support for walking, cycling and public transport
Fairtrade survey icon
6. Increasing sustainable and responsible purchasing (such as fair trade and ethically-sourced products)
Fairtrade survey icon
6. Increasing sustainable and responsible purchasing (such as fair trade and ethically-sourced products)
Biodiversity survey icon
7. Improving biodiversity and the number of green spaces on campus
Business travel survey icon
7. Encouraging low carbon business travel options (e.g. taking the train to London instead of flying)
Business travel survey icon
8. Encouraging low carbon business travel options (e.g. taking the train to London instead of flying)
Biodiversity survey icon
8. Improving biodiversity and the number of green spaces on campus
Curriculum survey icon
9. Embedding social responsibility and sustainability into more courses
Curriculum survey icon
9. Embedding social responsibility and sustainability into more courses
Veggie survey icon
10. Providing more vegetarian/vegan/locally sourced products on campus
Veggie survey icon
10. Providing more vegetarian/vegan/locally sourced products on campus

Progress the University has made on the 10 topics that matter most to staff and students

Past surveys: you said, we did!

drinking water fountain
Drinking water fountains have been installed throughout the University after staff and students ranked it as a high priority in past surveys.

We read every response you give in our survey and ensure your comments are taken into consideration.

In the last few years, the results of our previous surveys and suggestions from staff and students have helped build the case for:

  • The Estates Department to plan to install over 200 water points across the campus to increase access to drinking water and make it easier to use a reusable bottle.
  • One volunteer day a year has been made available to every member of University staff.

Progress has been made to address staff and student demand to tackle waste issues:

  • The Edinburgh University Students’ Association was the first in Scotland to offer a 'Zero Waste Corner' in David Hume Tower campus shop.
  • University of Edinburgh cafés have started putting food that would otherwise go to waste on the Too Good To Go app for reduced prices.
  • Terracycle recycling points set up by staff and students around the University allow items that aren't normally recycled, like crisp and biscuit packets to be collected and recycled.

How our survey was conducted

The 2019 Social Responsibility and Sustainability (SRS) staff and student surveys were distributed by Communication and Marketing’s Market Insight team from April to July 2019.

Our survey now runs once every two years, but previously ran two years in a row, in 2016 and 2017.

The online survey was emailed to 11,778 staff, with 1,857 responses (16% of those it was sent to). It was emailed to 38,509 students and had 2,589 responses (7% of those it was sent to), and is considered to be a representative sample of the University population.

Social Stories Club boxes were offered as prizes for participants.

We always want to hear from you

Remember, you can always contact us at SRS.Department@ed.ac.uk or message us on our social media channels.

General enquiries

  • Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Contact details

Address

Street

Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability
The Boilerhouse
High School Yards

City
Edinburgh
Post Code
EH1 1LT