Social Responsibility and Sustainability


Find out about some of the things we are doing to address the University's target to become zero carbon by 2040.


Zero by 2040

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.

Low carbon and renewable energy

The University of Edinburgh uses a mixture of low carbon and renewable technology on campus which includes gas combined heat and power (CHP) and solar photovoltaics (PV).

Adaptation Framework for the University of Edinburgh

Aerial photo of central area
Our vision: The University will become more climate-resilient, creating a sense of place on campuses and promoting well-being and biodiversity, as an integral part of the wider context of the city of Edinburgh.

Carbon sequestration

small tree shoot growing next to larger tree trunk
The University is taking responsibility for unavoidable carbon emissions by direct sequestration rather than participating in carbon offsetting schemes.

The Sustainable Campus Fund

The Sustainable Campus Fund is an internal investment vehicle that provides financing to parties within the University for implementing energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainability projects that generate cost savings.

The £2.75m fund is delivered by the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability in partnership with Estates.

Anyone at the University – staff and students – can propose projects for the fund. Once a project is proposed, we advise and support the development of the project before submitting it to the Utilities Working Group for approval.

Projects are assessed based upon five criteria, including their payback period and how much carbon they will save.

Read the 2017 update Apply for the fund

Sustainability Champion network

Sustainability Champions help promote energy reduction in their school or unit. The University is committed to reducing its energy consumption. Sustainability Champions help to drive energy efficiency locally within their units. Our Department supports each Sustainability Champion, providing them with materials and training so that they can better monitor energy usage in their areas and also so they can add to their skillset.

Staff: Become a Sustainability Champion Students: Become a Sustainability Champion

Switch: energy engagement and communications

Switch is the University's energy campaign. Largely disseminated by the Sustainability Champions network and Sustainability Awards teams, materials have been developed to help educate and encourage positive behaviour change for those who spend time in University buildings. This helps contribute to the University's energy saving targets.

Find out ways for staff to get involved

Sustainable travel

We encourage and support sustainable travel behaviour amongst staff, students and visitors. We aim to reduce the carbon footprint of our vehicles by making environmental performance a high priority when replacing vehicles, and by encouraging fuel-efficient driving practices through training.

Transport and Parking Website Transport and Travel Policy Find out more about what we're doing 

Sustainable IT: Personal Computing Devices

Established in January 2020, this policy is focused on reducing the number of unnecessary personal computing devices. This will contribute positively to the University’s Zero by 2040 carbon ambition and reduce damage to the environment caused by the mining, manufacturing, transport and energy cost of additional devices; and minimise the disposal impact of old devices that cannot be recycled.

Sustainable IT: Personal Computing Devices sharepoint