People and social sustainability

We aim to implement progressive work practices to support a better work-life balance and embed the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion.

Objectives and targets

Key objective: to implement progressive work practices to support a better work-life balance.

Response lead: Human Resources and Organisation Development

How we will achieve this

  • Embedding sustainability principles within our approach to working by 2025
  • Continuing to lead on the widening access agenda.
  • Developing progressive work practices to support good physical and mental health, underpinned by our Mental Health Strategy.
  • Continuing to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion across everything we do in line with our published Equality Outcomes.
  • Playing a key role in delivering local, regional, and national sustainability objectives through active participation in external partnerships and campaigns.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 logo - Good Health and Wellbeing Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 logo - Gender Equality Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 logo - Decent Work and Economic Growth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10 logo - Reduced Inequalities Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17 logo - Partnerships for the Goals


We recognise that our staff and students are key to the success of our Sustainability Plan – not only in terms of the personal choices we make about how we work and study but also how sustainable choices can be facilitated and supported beyond work and study by our processes and policies.

Education and enhanced awareness are key drivers of behaviour change. We, therefore, proactively champion sustainability as a priority for all our communities. This is an ongoing process achieved through the leadership provided by the Principal and Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Gerry McCormac and the senior management team of the University, to the creation of awareness campaigns and the activities of our Green Champions network, through to our partnership working with staff and Trade Union representatives and engagement with our students and Students’ Union. Both Trade Union and Student Union representatives are members of the Corporate Sustainability Steering Group which has oversight of our progress against our sustainability targets. We also regularly review our core processes for the management of staff and external partnerships to ensure that responsible environmental behaviours are supported and prioritised.

As part of our commitment to sustainable development, we recognise our responsibility to support socially progressive outcomes through our employment arrangements and procurement decisions. We support the principles of the real living wage and work closely with regional Local Authority partners and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Stirlingshire, Clackmannanshire, and Falkirk to support a just transition to a green economy.

As a major employer in the region, we believe it is important to lead by example. We prioritise mental health and well-being in our staff and students. We have delivered Mental Health Awareness sessions for line managers and staff; a well-being programme for staff that focuses on developing mental well-being and resilience; provided additional rest days to support health and well-being; and an Employee Assistance Programme that gives free, confidential advice 24 hours a day, 365 days for all employees and immediate family members.

People are at the heart of all these activities. We have recently developed progressive work practices that enable staff and students to work and learn in agile ways. Most recently, we have implemented an Agile Working Framework which provides a means of achieving a better work- life balance while at the same time ensuring that institutional goals and targets are met. This new way of working has, for some staff, lessened the need to make commuting journeys on a daily basis, thereby contributing to a reduction in Scope 3 emissions. Agile working will be subject to review as we respond to changing business and staff needs.

We have been sector-leading for many years in the promotion of women’s careers. We were instrumental in the development of the influential Aurora programme which has subsequently been rolled out across the UK to support women’s career development. We also hold an institutional bronze Athena Swan award which attests to the importance we attach to equality, diversity, and inclusion. We are committed to supporting care students and students from lower socio-economic backgrounds and provide funded studentships and a research fellowship for refugees through the CARA scheme.

Our Sanctuary scholarships are awarded to postgraduate, access and undergraduate students who are in the UK and have applied for asylum or are staying in the UK as refugees or on humanitarian grounds.

Our sustainability strategy seeks to encourage active travel and a modal shift to greener forms of transport. These measures not only support our carbon reduction targets but enhance the health and well-being of our staff and students.