Carbon sequestration

The University is taking responsibility for unavoidable carbon emissions by direct sequestration rather than participating in carbon offsetting schemes.

The University generates carbon emissions during many of its activities, such as when heating our buildings, using non-electric vehicles and flying for business travel.

In order to become net zero carbon by 2040, the University is:

  • reducing its emissions where there is a technical possibility to do so; such as by electrifying our vehicle fleet where possible; improving the way we power and heat our buildings; and by replacing non-essential travel with alternatives where available
  • sequestering carbon from unavoidable emissions, such as essential flights.

When emissions are unavoidable, such as from flying, it is important that the University calculates the amount of emissions produced and then takes action to ensure an equivalent or greater amount of carbon emissions are removed from the atmosphere.

Our carbon sequestration plan

In October 2021, the University announced a multi-million-pound, long-term commitment to capture and store its unavoidable carbon emissions, and benefit nature, through restoring peatlands and expanding forests in Scotland.

University commits to sequester over one million tonnes of unavoidable C02 emissions

Rullion Green Wood

Rullion Green Wood November 2023
Rullion Green Wood is a 26-hectare site, next to Flotterstone, in the Pentland Hills Regional Park that is owned by the University of Edinburgh. We want to enhance biodiversity on the site by creating woodlands and improving habitats for plants and animals.


Drumbrae view by Tom Wade, Airborne Research and Innovation Facility, University of Edinburgh
Drumbrae is the first of several sites where we will create woodland and improve open habitats. We are doing this to mitigate our carbon emissions from unavoidable travel while benefitting nature. View maps, check the timeline and find out more.

Barvick Burn Wood

Barvick Burn Wood
Barvick Burn Wood is a 431-hectare site in Crieff, Perthshire that is owned and managed by the University of Edinburgh. We want to enhance biodiversity on the site by creating woodlands and improving habitats for plants and animals. 

Volunteering opportunities

Throughout the year there will be opportunities to volunteer at the University's Forest and Peatland sites. Local residents, community groups, students and staff are welcome. Opportunities can be found on this page, which will be regularly updated.

Learning, teaching and research strategy

Tree planting at the Big Dig, May 2021, credit to Andrew Perry and Sport & Exercise
Creating woodland and restoring peatland across Scotland opens up exciting opportunities for student engagement, learning and teaching, and research.

Branching out, an interview with Yvonne Edwards

Find out more

For more information on carbon sequestration, to seek guidance, or speak about ways staff and students can get involved, please contact the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability. 

Please state that you wish to speak with the Forest and Peatland team in your message.

General enquiries

  • Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Contact details



Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability
The Boilerhouse
High School Yards

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