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

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.

Research, learning and teaching

We support a range of research, teaching and training activities around social responsibility and sustainability-related issues.


Labs use many times more energy and water per square metre than office spaces and can produce large quantities of waste including hazardous, clinical and single-use plastics

Sustainability Awards

Sustainability awards logo
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

Responsible investment section image - white sign post on red background
The University of Edinburgh was the first university in Europe to sign the UN Principles of Responsible Investment, and has committed to avoid investments in fossil fuels, controversial weapons, and tobacco.
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.
Biodiversity seedling icon
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.
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