Sustainability Policy

Our sustainability policy is working towards achieving the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to align our strategic ambitions with the wider international sustainability agenda.

You can also find out about our plan for implementing our sustainability policy.


It is recognised that action is urgently required to address the Climate Emergency. Increasingly extreme climatic events not only impact the physical  environment and the balance of sensitive biological systems but also the biodiversity of the planet. In response to these serious challenges, the University is committed to playing a key role in tackling climate change through the way it operates, its research, teaching, and the services it provides. As evidence of this commitment, the University has signed up to the Global Climate Letter for Universities and Colleges ‘Race to Zero’, which commits the University to achieving net-zero carbon status by 2040.


Ownership of this policy is shared by the entire University community (both staff and students) and at all levels across academic and professional service units. The University Court, Principal and senior management team are committed to addressing the challenges posed by climate change.

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. It is working towards achieving the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - a global framework encompassing all aspects of sustainability - to align the organisation’s strategic ambitions with the wider international sustainability agenda.


In satisfying this commitment the University will:

Environmental responsibility

  • Drive forward energy efficiencies via the responsible management and use of energy.
  • Ensure  the responsible use of water.
  • Reduce  waste and minimise the environmental impact of waste to landfill through beneficial reuse and recycling activities.
  • Eliminate the use of plastics where possible in place of more environmentally friendly alternative materials.
  • Use products such as palm oil from sustainable sources which have been certified through a recognised verification scheme.
  • Promote fair trade products, local and seasonal food produce, and increase the offer of more vegan and vegetarian options in catering outlets.
  • Reduce atmospheric pollution by promoting more sustainable travel alternatives to, from and between University sites, and on University business.
  • Eliminate the unnecessary use of hazardous materials and processes and take all reasonable steps to prevent damage to the environment where such materials are essential.
  • Ensure where possible that new builds and the refurbishment of existing buildings and structures are implemented in a sustainable way.
  • Integrate the principles of biodiversity in the management of the Estate.
  • Support research, teaching 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. Corporate Sustainability Steering Group.
  • Ensure that the University complies with all current environmental legislation, regulation and other requirements, e.g. those set by the Scottish Government and the Scottish 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.
  • Resource activities to ensure the implementation of the policy commitments in line with the University’s Sustainability Plan.
  • 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

  • Practice responsible investment through the avoidance of, and where applicable the divestment in, unethical sectors in accordance with the University’s Socially Responsible Investment Policy.
  • 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 local authorities, businesses and local communities in order to achieve the University’s sustainability targets.
  • Work in partnership with other sector bodies including universities and colleges, Universities Scotland, Universities UK, and the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC) to develop and integrate the principles of sustainability within Higher and Further education.

Approved by University Court, March 2021
(Updated October 2021)

The University’s Corporate Sustainability Steering Group is responsible for monitoring and updating this policy on an annual basis.