Environment and Sustainability

The University of Stirling benefits from its location in the heart of scenic Scotland, and we’ve always taken our commitment to environmental sustainability seriously – both on campus and around the world.

The introduction of our Combined Heat and Power Plant (CHP) in 2014 has reduced the University’s carbon footprint by around 2,800 tonnes per year, and generated an annual reduction in utility costs of over £500,000. The CHP provides 70% of campus electricity and 61% of campus heating.

We’re also helping to influence sustainable practices across the globe through our aquaculture research and the Centre for Sustainable Practice and Living – a collaborative initiative between the University and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency. The centre has conducted research for Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group, the Soil Association and Confederation of Forest Industries. 

Read on for more information about our policies on recycling, biodiversity and more.


Reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2021 on a 2007/8 baseline

Read our Public Bodies Climate Change Duty Report

Read our Carbon Management Plan

The University of Stirling recognises the environmental impacts arising from energy consumption and waste and is committed to tackling climate change by embedding sustainability at the core of its business practices. We are working on putting sustainability and carbon reduction at the heart of our policies, strategies, plans and projects. Examples where this has been applied include the Estate Strategy, Sustainability Policy, Campus Active Travel Initiative and a range of practical energy saving projects as part of general maintenance, capital projects and dedicated energy projects.

We are looking to specifically focus on carbon reduction through a University wide initiative and enhance existing practices.

The success of reducing our Carbon footprint depends on everyone doing their bit. There are already a number of projects underway to reduce carbon emissions such as improved heating controls, lagging of pipework, improved energy efficient campus lighting, and more ideas are being evaluated.

If you have any ideas on how to reduce our Carbon footprint please let us know by emailing the SEC team.

The BS8555 Environmental Management System implementation programme is coordinated by the Head of Operational Risk and Environmental Sustainability, and commenced in 2011. The University was audited and certificated to Phase 1 in December 2011, Phase 2 in December 2012 and Phase 3 in September 2014. Phases 4 - 6 of BS8555 lead on to ISO 14001 certification, however, achievement of Phase 3 is the point where the EMS implementation is seen as fully functioning.

Additional details can be found below:

  1. Phase 1:
  1. Phase 2:
  1. Phase 3:

Please contact the Head of SEC if you require any further information.

Commitment: Sustainability is a process of ensuring the wise use of resources within a framework in which economic, environmental and social factors are integrated and balanced. It is a corporate value and the University aims to meet its commitment to continually improve its sustainability through research, teaching, the services it provides and in the way it operates as an organisation.

Responsibility: The corporate responsibility for this policy is shared by the entire University population, at every level and across all Departments. The University Court, Principal and senior management team are committed to its success.

Policy statement: The University of Stirling operates as a place of research and learning, as a business and as a key member of the local and wider community. It has a role to play in shaping a sustainable future. The University is committed to integrating sustainable development into everyday practice by minimising environmental impact wherever possible, maximising economic performance and supporting beneficial social and community opportunities.

Aims: In satisfying this commitment the University aims to:

Environmental responsibility: -

  • Promote energy efficiency and responsible energy management and use.
  • Promote the responsible use of water.
  • Promote waste minimisation and reduce the environmental impact of waste to landfill through beneficial reuse and recycling activities.
  • Reduce atmospheric pollution by encouraging more sustainable travel alternatives to, from and between University sites and on University business.
  • Avoid the unnecessary use of hazardous materials and processes and take all reasonable steps to prevent damage to the environment where such materials are essential.
  • Take all steps to ensure the refurbishment and new build of University buildings and structures are implemented in a sustainable way.
  • Where possible, integrate the principles of biodiversity in the management of the Estate.
  • Support research and development activities aimed at the continual improvement of environmental performance.

Business, legal and economic responsibility –

  • Embed sustainability within the University’s core strategies and business processes.
  • Communicate and consult on sustainability performance through the relevant committees e.g. Safety, Health and Environment Committee.
  • Carry out monitoring to ensure that the University complies with all current environmental legislation, regulation and other requirements e.g. those set by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council.
  • Support the use of products and services from suppliers whose own sustainability policies are in accord with the University and promote an ethical approach to procurement.
  • Provide sufficient human and financial support to allow the implementation of the policy commitments.
  • Adopt a sustainable approach to the financial viability of the University by taking a long-term view of the financial and social costs and benefits of any development.

Social Responsibility: -

  • Provide information and training to staff and students on sustainable practice and related issues.
  • Foster behavioural change by encouraging participation and consultation by staff and students on sustainable initiatives.
  • Work in partnership with the local community and authority towards sustainable improvements in the local area.
  • Work in partnership with other Universities and Colleges to develop and integrate the principles of sustainability within the Higher and Further education sector. 


Policy implementation: Sustainable development issues will be discussed and consulted on at the University Safety, Health and Environment Committee which will lead to objectives and specific targets.  A process of monitoring, auditing and reporting of progress on these objectives will be considered by the SHE committee.

Professor Gerry McCormac


Implementation date: February 2007

Policy reviewed: Annually

Minor update December 2011

There is a formalised way of reporting environmental incidents i.e. uncontrolled events that have or could have had an impact on the environment, such as chemical or oil spills; contamination of land, the Loch, flora or fauna; damage to a listed building etc. Environmental incident reporting is in addition to any reporting required for Health and Safety reasons (which are reported using the on-line accident reporting system).

The form can be completed digitally and forwarded to Head of SEC once complete. You should also retain a copy for your own records. Click Environmental Incident Report form to report an environmental incident.

The environmental objectives 2014 – 2018 are to:

  • Implement key objective action points of the University Biodiversity Plan.

  • Reduce the University’s CO2 emissions by 40% by 2021, based on its 2007/08 baseline.

  • Aim for the highest practicable BREEAM rating for all new construction projects and ensure that a minimum of 10% of the value of materials used on construction projects over £1m is derived from recycled and re-used sources.

  • Embed the principles of sustainable procurement within the University to ensure that the University meets its sustainable procurement duty.

  • Promote the minimisation of waste and provide an infrastructure for re-use and recycling to achieve a 30% reduction in overall waste generated by the University and 90% recycling of waste by 2018.

  • Promote the responsible use of water on campus through better monitoring of water usage patterns and targeted campaigns to reduce water consumption in identified areas of high usage.

Endorsed by the Safety, Health and Environment Committee May 2014

Full details can be read here.

The University of Stirling recognises the quality of its setting and campus landscape as being of significant value to University students, staff and visitors, as well as the wider community. The campus is recognised as a valuable asset both in terms of its general amenity and as an academic resource. The campus extends to 135ha (334acres) and is subject to two designations – it is a Historic Garden and Designed Landscape and is also within an Area of Great Landscape Value. As part of the development of its Estate Strategy, the University commissioned an Ecological Baseline Report in 2007 to establish the ecological baseline conditions on the campus and inform the development of this policy and a Biodiversity Management Plan. The campus is recognised as a priority habitat, both managed and natural.

The University has stated its commitment to minimising environmental impact in its Sustainability Policy and is committed to protecting, maintaining and improving the biodiversity of its estate. In satisfying this commitment the University aims to:

  • Ensure that it is complying with current legislation relating to the conservation of biodiversity and habitats on campus, and where possible set its own higher standards.
  • Maintain and update the Ecological Baseline Report for the University campus.
  • Develop a Biodiversity Management Plan which sets objectives for maintaining and improving biodiversity on campus whilst recognising the importance of the Historic Garden and Designed Landscape.
  • Where appropriate, create new habitats on campus.
  • Work with local and national partners to promote and enhance biodiversity on the campus and in the wider region.
  • Encourage consultation between relevant academic staff and management on biodiversity issues.
  • Enhance staff, student and community awareness of biodiversity issues on campus, and promote the campus as an educational and recreational resource.
  • Set and review targets for maintaining and improving biodiversity on campus, and report these annually to the Safety, Health and Environment Committee.

E and CS
December 2008

The Corporate Sustainability Steering Group (CSSG) was established in November 2015 and meets around 4 times a year. The group is chaired by our Senior Deputy Principal (Operational Strategy and External Affairs), who is responsible for the strategic direction of sustainability at the University of Stirling.

The purpose of CSSG is to provide leadership and oversight for sustainability.  It supports the development of sustainability targets and goals and the embedding of environmental values into all parts of University activity and operations.  Some of the key areas that CSSG considers include:

  • Carbon emissions and emissions targets
  • Sustainable procurement
  • Sustainable travel
  • Embedding sustainability in learning, teaching and research
  • Student engagement and Green Champions

Group Members:

Deputy Principal (Operational Strategy and External Affairs)

Malcolm Macleod



Head of Safety, Environment and Continuity

Alison Morrison

Head of Procurement

Colin Elliott

Director of Estates and Campus Services

Colin McNally

Environmental Adviser

David Jordan

Office Manager, Estates and Campus Services

Louise Cowie

Head of Policy and Planning

Graeme Duff

Sustainability Development Co-ordinator (Students' Union)

Johannes Schamp

Students’ Union Vice President (Communities)

Josh Muirhead

Internal Communications Officer

Wendy Bailey

Lecturer, Natural Sciences

Eileen Tisdale

Planning Support Officer

Tom Collins

Updated December 2020

The University is committed to the sustainable management of waste that minimises any environmental impact and promotes resource efficiency whilst ensuring legal compliance.


  • To significantly reduce the quantity of waste sent to landfill by reducing the volume of waste produced and increasing reuse, recycling and resource recovery;
  • To manage residual waste in accordance with best practice;
  • To ensure that waste is considered a resource by staff, students and other key stakeholders.


  • To reduce the level of residual waste to landfill to 10%, by December 2016
  • To reduce the overall volume of waste produced to <900Tonnes per annum, by December 2016

To reduce the consumption of bottled water by staff and students, the university provides free water fountains throughout the campus. Bottled water coolers have been replaced with mains-fed water where possible

Green Champions

The Green Champions are a network of staff throughout the university who take an active role in raising awareness of, and supporting environmental sustainability in their faculty or professional services directorate.

The role of a Green Champion is to:

  • Promote and encourage support for initiatives to reduce energy consumption/ carbon emissions within their faculty/ professional services directorate
  • Take an active role in the implementation of the Environmental Management System, in particular by helping to identify and evaluate environmental aspects and impacts.
  • Act as the focus for communicating green awareness issues within their Faculty/ Service area and provide feedback on faculty/ professional services directorate opinions/ new energy saving projects at review meetings.
  • Undertake periodic monitoring within their faculty/ professional services directorate on the use of/ change towards green initiatives and provide feedback to review meetings.

If you are interested in becoming a Green Champion or would like more information, contact: GreenChampions@stir.ac.uk

Centre for Sustainable Practice and Living

The Centre for Sustainable Practice and Living (CSPL) is a collaborative initiative between the University of Stirling’s Management School and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

As a new interdisciplinary research centre it aims to become one of the leading research and knowledge exchange centres globally studying the many dimensions of sustainability.

 Find out more here

Students’ Union: Green + Blue Dream Team

The Students’ Union environmental team strive to make life here at the University of Stirling more environmentally friendly and build a stronger community as they do this. The Environmental team’s base, the Green + Blue space, is located in the Atrium. Find out more about the Students’ Union Environmental team and their activities.

The University is committed to reducing atmospheric pollution by encouraging more sustainable travel alternatives to, from and between University sites and on University business.

To support this the University has introduced:

  • A salary sacrifice scheme for staff which provides an Income tax and National Insurance efficient way to pay towards the hire of a bicycle and associated safety equipment for 12 months (Cycle scheme).
  • A cycle hire scheme which provides c.100 hire bikes throughout the Stirling Area including approximately 30 bikes at three locations on Campus and various other locations throughout the Stirling Area. Additionally, the University has funded a corporate subscription with Nextbike which allows staff and students free use of the scheme and free rental of a bike for the first 1 hour of every ride (Cycle Hire (Nextbike).

Abandoned Bikes

The University removes abandoned bikes from University grounds in order to maintain adequate, safe, and accessible bike parking. This exercise is usually carried out in May and September in a given year and notice is provided through the Staff and Student Roundups.

Any bikes suspected of being abandoned are recorded and tagged. If they remain tagged for 14 days or more, they are put into storage where they will be held for 6 months. Thereafter they will be donated to Recyke-a-bike to recycle.

If you suspect your bike may have been tagged as abandoned and uplifted, please contact the Tanya Cairns (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) who can check our Abandoned Bike Register on 01786 467102.

Contact us

David Jordan, Environmental Advisor, leads on sustainability (including transport), promotes behavioural change through the Green Champions Group and ensures environmental and carbon regulatory compliance. You can contact him on david.jordan@stir.ac.uk.

You can also get in touch through the Safety, Environment and Continuity team’s dedicated telephone number and mailbox.