Social Responsibility and Sustainability

What we do

The Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability works to enable the University to understand, explain and deliver on its ambition to be a leading socially responsible and sustainable university.


We deliver high quality and impactful programmes to catalyse action and collaboration across campus and support the University in achieving its Social Responsibility and Sustainability strategy and related commitments.

Find out what staff can do Find out students can do Find out what academics can do

Climate change

Zero by 2040
The University of Edinburgh has committed to become zero carbon by 2040. The University's Climate Strategy 2016 lays out a comprehensive whole institution approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation in order to achieve its ambitious targets.

Circular economy

Recycling bins: paper and card, dry recycling, other/food. Cute illustration with mouse and trees growing out of the bins
The Circular Economy is about transitioning from a ‘take-make-dispose’ linear approach to resource use, to systems that encourage reuse and extraction of maximum value before returning resources to the biosphere.

Supply chains

fair trade
Fairness in trade and sustainable procurement means calling for responsible practices in relation to workers, environment and society to be followed by our suppliers.

Sustainable labs

Illustration of fume cupboard being pulled down with sustainability symbols for recycling, water and energy
The Department of Social Responsibility and Sustainability can help you make your lab more sustainable through training, funding and advice. We also run an awards scheme to recognise your good practices in lab sustainability.

Learning and teaching

Teaching and learning illustration SRS hands holding a book
We support a range of research, teaching and training activities around social responsibility and sustainability-related issues.

Sustainability Awards

Green star held by three hands
The Sustainability Awards offer an opportunity for staff and students to make a difference and contribute towards the University becoming more socially responsible and sustainable.


Globally, travel is one of the three biggest causes of climate change along with food and energy. As part of Zero by 2040, we have committed to work with staff, students and other organisations to reduce our impact.

Responsible investment

The University increasingly uses its investments to support environmentally and socially positive activities, thus contributing to a more sustainable global financial system.

Good Food Policy

SRS Good Food green on white banner
The University of Edinburgh takes a whole-institution approach to food and its connection to health and sustainability.


Hand holding seedling
Nature's variety of organic life is important to human health. Biodiversity not only contributes to wellbeing, but also provides vital ecosystem services for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Community engagement - Edinburgh skyline
We help deliver Edinburgh Local, the University's main point of contact for community engagement.
Sustainability Festival Hub icon: Tent with leaves growing out of the top, with sustainability icons surrounding it
The University is committed to sustainable and socially responsible practices throughout the year. Find information and guidance to promote a great festival experience for you, the city, and the environment.
The University has a legal obligation to tackle discrimination and is committed to embedding equality and diversity across all its work.
Widening participation aims to address the discrepancies in the take-up of higher education opportunities between different social groups.


View our annual social responsibility and sustainability reports

Sustainability in the Festival Fringe

The University is the largest landlord of the Festival Fringe. Find out what we're doing to promote social responsibility and sustainability throughout the Festival. 

Sustainability in the Festival Fringe