Environment and sustainability

The University of Stirling is committed to playing its role in addressing the global climate crisis. Our researchers are at the forefront of efforts to develop innovative responses to climate change, enabling adaptation and resilience, and driving forward carbon neutral prosperity. 

As an employer and a place of learning, we are taking ongoing steps to lower our institutional carbon footprint, and support cleaner, greener ways of working. This is why we have committed to achieving net-zero by 2040.

Find out more about our Sustainability Policy

Sustainability Plan (2022-28)

Our Sustainability Plan details the actions we need to take to address the many environmental and sustainability challenges we face as a university.

Find out more about our plan and its key themes.

Our key sustainability agreements

Sustainability information

Public Bodies Climate Change Duties

Read our Public Bodies Climate Change Duties reports.

This report complies with the statutory duty placed on public bodies in Scotland to report activity on sustainability, climate change adaptation and carbon reduction. It contains summary information on the University estate, carbon emissions, governance, procurement, adaptation and wider sustainability activity. Information and data contained in the report will be based on past or recent information and data pertaining to the respective reporting period.

More up to date information and data will be published in the next Public Body Climate Change Duties (2022) report and within the University Sustainability Plan, both of which will be published later in 2022.

Biodiversity policy

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.

Estate and Campus Services, July 2022

New policy is being developed and is due to be published soon. For more information on Climate Adaptation and Biodiversity targets please see Theme 6 in our Sustainability Plan 2022-28.

Recycling

Please refer to our recycling targets in our Sustainability Plan 2022-28.

Water

Please refer to our water targets in our Sustainability Plan 2022-28.

Sustainable travel

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

Cycling

Staff cycle scheme

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. Find out more about the staff cycle scheme.

Nextbike

The Nextbike cycle hire scheme which provides hire bikes throughout the Stirling Area including three locations on Campus (Cottrell Building - Logie Entrance, Willow Court Residences and Alexander Court Residences) 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 30 minutes of every ride is free, with every 30 minutes thereafter just 50p.

Nextbike sign-up for staff

Nextbike sign-up for students

Forthbike

Forthbike ebike hire scheme station is located next to the Cottrell Building - Logie Entrance. Students can receive a discounted annual membership.  

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.

Public transport

The University of Stirling has excellent bus links from Stirling city centre, and some from Bridge of Allan. Young people under 22 who live in Scotland are entitled to free nationwide bus travel

Food

The University’s Catering has an ongoing plan to enhance menus, providing healthier and more sustainable options. We are signatories to the Peas Pledge and we commit to increasing the availability and servings of vegetables across our range of grab and go and sit-in food and beverage outlets on Campus. Building on the success of our grab-and-go vegan retail offer and dedicated V-go brand, we have extended our sit-in offering to include an additional two varieties of vegetables with all plated and kids meals. We have also extended the vegetable grab-and-go offering across our outlets to include a range of crudité pots. Our menus have been developed to include at least 30% vegetarian and vegan options with 160g (2 portions) of vegetables in them, so providing and highlighting healthier choices. 

To support sustainability in catering we also: 

  • Eliminated single-use disposable cutlery and straws and reduced the use of plastic cups across our outlets, incentivising the use of re-useable cups for hot drinks. 
  • Banned plastic carrier bags from all catering outlets and offer biodegradable alternatives. Paper takeaway bags are in use at all outlets.
  • Made available our coffee grounds to the University for usage on the grounds and composting.
  • Collected all our used cooking oil and turned in to biofuel.
  • Used fresh seasonal food to reduce packaging.
  • Use local suppliers to reduce food mileage.

Community

City Region Deal

The Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal is a £214 million investment in the future of the region, unlocking potential to drive economic growth, productivity and prosperity.

The City Region Deal provides an investment package of more than £46 million in University-led research. A £17 million investment from the UK Government will build on the University’s internationally-renowned Institute of Aquaculture to develop a National Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Hub, reinforcing the UK’s position at the forefront of this expanding sector. As the world seeks out cleaner, greener ways of working, Scotland’s International Environment Centre, funded through £22 million from Scottish Government and £5 million from the UK Government, will create a global exemplar of sustainable and inclusive models of growth.

Forth Valley for Net Zero

The University is a key signatory to the ‘Forth Valley for Net Zero’ campaign which commits Stirling to sharing best practice with our strategic partners and to help the region achieve net zero status by 2040. We have also recently signed an innovative Sustainable Growth Agreement with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

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.

Clubs and societies

There are a variety of student environmental groups run by students at the University.

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.

Steering groups

Corporate Sustainability Steering Group

The Corporate Sustainability Steering Group (CSSG) meets 4 times a year and 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
  • sustainability policy and related environmental policies
  • embedding sustainability in learning, teaching and research
  • student engagement and Green Champions

Chair

Senior Deputy Principal (Operational Strategy and External Affairs)

Members

Head of Safety Environment Security and Continuity

Head of Procurement

Director of Estates and Campus Services

Environmental Adviser

Head of Policy and Planning

Sustainability Development Co-ordinator (Students' Union)

Sustainability Officer (Students’ Union)

Students’ Union President

Students’ Union Vice President (Communities)

Internal Communications Officer

Lecturer, Faculty of Natural Sciences (Learning, Teaching and Research Rep)

Professor, Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Trade Union Rep)

Planning Support Officer

Green Champions

The Green Champions Group, essentially a working group, is represented by academics from across different faculties, key directorate staff and the Students Union. The role of the group is to take forward the University’s sustainability objectives through actions and initiatives across the whole of the organisation.

It will also form a link between the University’s Corporate Sustainability Steering Group , staff, and students for the exchange of information, ideas and feedback.

Green Champions Group meeting minutes

Embedding Sustainability in Learning, Teaching and Research working group

The Embedding Sustainability in Learning, Teaching and Research working group is co-chaired by academics and representatives from the Students’ Union and includes academics from across Faculty and student Faculty Officers.

The working group facilitates the sharing of ideas and best practice on embedding sustainability in learning and teaching including the use of UN SDG’s and Education for Sustainability.

New initiatives on embedding sustainability in research for staff and students, including reducing single use plastics and energy use, are overseen by this working group. Ideas from the working group are communicated to the Corporate Sustainability Steering Group, in events during the Festival of Learning and Teaching and online Faculty discussion forums. 

Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Gerry McCormac on the how the University is tackling the challenges of sustainability.

Contact us

Amy Gove-Kaney is the Environmental Advisor and leads on sustainability, behavioural change and environmental and carbon regulatory compliance. You can contact her at amy.gove-kaney@stir.ac.uk.

Alison Morrison is the Head of Safety, Environment and Continuity and can be contacted on alison.morrison@stir.ac.uk.

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