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The Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability was established in 2014 to enable the University of Edinburgh to understand, explain and deliver on its ambition to be a leading socially responsible and sustainable University. By providing high quality advice, support and action, the Department has supported the University to make significant progress on climate change, responsible investment, sustainable procurement and local community engagement.
Main achievements the Department has supported since 2013/14 include: Commitment to become a net zero carbon university by 2040, establishing £4.75 million Sustainable Campus Fund; Commitment to complete its transition out of fossil fuel investments by 2021; 1st University to adopt a formal Conflict Minerals Policy; Launched ‘Edinburgh Local’ community engagement strategy, providing £150,000 in community grants over the next three year; Moved £60 million of its endowment funds to support the transition to a low carbon economy; Secured £8 million for social finance investment, including £1.5 million investment in Big Issue Invest and communicated with 15,000 staff and students in 2017/18 through online or face-to-face engagement.
Top 3 learnings:
1. The communication and framing of social responsibility and sustainability issues is key to them being considered as core business and relevant to staff and students.
2. There is a significant role for Professional Departments to support the student experience and add value to the curriculum by providing experiential learning opportunities.
3. Having a team of dedicated and passionate staff, as well as support from key senior management and enablers is vital to making positive change happen.
The number one resource
for sustainability in post-16 education