Sustainability Framework

The Sustainability Framework will support University Schools and Departments to take practical action to embed social and environmental sustainability across their day-to-day activities.

Our vision is to make the world a better place, so we will ensure that our actions and activities deliver positive change locally, regionally and globally.

Strategy 2030
A collage of photos: University staff member standing by a tree, laughing students graduating, Old College, Staff working in an office, Estates team member with a hard hat onsite, researchers in a greenhouse, a community mural

Why do we need a Sustainability Framework?

The Sustainability Framework will support each School and Department to take practical action to improve social and environmental sustainability across their sphere of influence and embed sustainability values across business-as-usual activities. 

The Framework has been designed to support the delivery of our Climate Strategy, Strategy 2030 and the Social and Civic Responsibility plan.

Strategy 2030

Climate Strategy

Waste Strategy

Social and Civic Responsibility Plan

In addition to our moral, social and civic responsibility to act on climate and sustainability challenges, we have a statutory duty under Section 44 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act to set out how we will reduce emissions and report on our progress. This legal obligation requires us to: 

  • set a target date for eliminating direct (scope 1) emissions 

  • reduce our indirect emissions (scope 2 & 3)

  • report how we will align our spending plans and use of resources to achieve our targets

Public sector leadership on the global climate emergency (external)

Drive and monitor change

The Framework is intended to be used by senior leadership to drive and monitor our transition towards a sustainable University. It creates a standard for everyone to work to and is structured to allow continuous progression.

Staff will be able to input their School or Department's data via a digital platform, which will:

  • identify where each Department/School can deliver the greatest impact across six key areas (see below)
  • create a bespoke action plan, designed to align with each School and Department's priorities and commitments 

  • guide the implementation and delivery of this action plan 

  • report against progress and evaluate  

This will provide a consistent, ambitious standard and create an evidence base to help us deliver our climate and sustainability commitments. 

Six themes

There are six key areas which provide clear actions, detailed explanations, and supportive resources, to direct schools and departments on their sustainability journey: 

  • Leadership and governance 

  • Operations 

  • Student curriculum and experience 

  • Student and staff engagement 

  • Research 

  • Community engagement 

Pilot and timelines 

To ensure the Framework is practical and appropriate for our needs we are running pilot projects to gather feedback from Schools and Departments.  

The pilot projects will consider the usability, content and impact of the Framework for different areas of the University and will help shape future versions of the tool. 

The Framework will be rolled out more widely in September 2024.

Find out more 

Click here to view a PDF version of the Sustainability Framework:

If you would like to find out more please contact the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability.

General enquiries

  • Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Contact details



Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability
The Boilerhouse
High School Yards

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