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Sustainable development strategy

The University of St Andrews have approved a Sustainable Development Policy and Strategy for the period 2012 to 2022.

View the Sustainable Development Policy and Strategy 2012-22 (PDF, 202 KB) for 2012 to 2022.

‌‌The Sustainable Development Strategy outlines the commitments made by the University towards continuous improvement of its environmental, economic and social performance and includes a formal University Sustainability Policy Statement together with the governance structure, policy commitments, objectives and actions.

The purpose of the Strategy is to reduce the University's sustainability impacts by influencing day-to-day working practices and by incorporating the principles of sustainable development into the longer-term plans of the University.

There are 7 key objectives with annually updated targets to help deliver these objectives.  Performance is tracked by the Environment Task Group, which receives reports from the various governance groups responsible for delivery of the Sustainable Development Commitments.

Climate Change Progress Report 2011 (PDF, 886 KB) has also been produced which outlines the various ways the University is responding to the threats of climate change. 

Carbon Management Plan & Energy Strategy

Full details fo the plan are Carbon Management Plan 2012 (PDF, 746 KB) and Energy Strategy (PDF, 447 KB)

To tackle energy issues and the carbon emissions associated with the use of fossil fuels, the University has adopted a 3-part Energy Strategy.  This strategy sets out a Carbon Management Plan with the ultimate aim of becoming carbon neutral for energy by 2016.  Efforts are being made in the following 3 areas: 

  1. Influencing a change in behaviour by giving every new staff member environment awareness training.  We have also developed a ‘Passport to Environmental Excellence’ 18 month training program for staff with a support network of over 45 environmental facilitators.
  2. Investing £2.5M on a rolling cycle of energy efficiency measures for the University estate’s buildings.  The University is investing capital in the form of a Carbon Trust SALIX fund that enables it to fit more efficient energy technology in its buildings to reduce carbon emissions. Commissioned spend is the largest of any public sector SALIX fund in the UK.
  3. Implementing micro and macro renewable solutions.  The University is actively fitting micro-renewable systems on many of its buildings to make them more self-sufficient in energy terms.  This includes its two award-winning BREEAM Excellent (Medical and Biological Sciences Building opened in 2010) and BREEAM Outstanding (Biomolecular Sciences Annex) buildings.

Other sustainability commitments

The University has strengthened its commitment to sustainability by signing the Universities and Colleges Climate Commitment for Scotland UCCfS (PDF, 2,190 KB)

In 2008, the University was awarded the Carbon Trust Standard (PDF, 571 KB)

The University is working to improve the sustainability of its existing buildings, whilst also ensuring that any new buildings are designed to be environmentally sustainable. Sustainable Design Guide (PDF, 379 KB)


Environment and Sustainability aspects are managed by a range of working groups co-ordinated by the Environment Team.

The Sustainability Development Working Group (SDWG) is the lead group responsible for delivery of the University's Sustainability Strategy and overall Environment and Sustainability compliance and governance. The SDWG reports to the University's Planning and Resources Committee.

Residential and Business Services have a dedicated Environment Group which meets bi-annually to discuss environmental isses such as waste compliance and looks after the University's Green Tourism accreditation.

The Fairtrade Steering Group is another committee which works to promote ethical and fair trade procuremnt practices across the University. The group meets four times per academic year and anyone - staff or student - is welcome to join the discussion. For more information please email


The University is committed to ensuring compliance with all relevant environmental legislation.


The University of St Andrews is at the forefront of the sustainable development movement, both through practice within the university estate, and through the curriculum. In recognition of this, the university was awarded the first ever award for Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development (PDF, 43 KB)in the Times Higher Awards 2006.

In addition to offering a BSc and an MA in Sustainable Development, the university has recently launched the St Andrews Institute of Sustainability (SASI). This is an interdisciplinary body that provides the impetus and support for sustainable development research, as well as postgraduate teaching and training.

One of the modules from the Sustainable Development degree is called "Sustainability: ensuring our common future". The Case Studies on the Higher Education Institution can be downloaded in PDF format.

  1. Making institutions sustainable: drivers for sustainable development (PDF, 180 KB)
  2. Making institutions sustainable: towards sustainability (PDF, 945 KB)

Working with Others

The University of St Andrews is working with a range of key stakeholders to promote Sustainable Development across the Higher Education sector.

As a member of the Environmental Association for University and Colleges (EAUC) the University shares learning across the Higher Education and Further Education sector. The University is part of the newly formed Campus Sustainability Programme.

Key stakeholders also include Fife Council, The Scottish Executive, SEPA, The Carbon Trust and a wide range of other public

Environment and Sustainable Development


Blog: Environment Team News

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Twitter: @EnvironmentStA