Skip navigation to content

Sustainability at the University of St Andrews

The University of St Andrews has sought to place sustainable development at the heart of its operations along four integrated fronts: governance, teaching, research and sustainable Estates Management. The idea has been to integrate sustainability into day to day thinking and decision making processes of the University. SASI acts as a source of advice to the University as it seeks to align its operations with the principles of sustainable development as well as providing the mechanism for academic staff to work with estates in order to bring about change in the impact of the University.

Towards a Sustainable University

The Environmental and Sustainability aspects of the University are managed by a range of working groups coordinated by the  . The Environment Task Group is the lead group responsible for delivery of the University's Environment Strategy and overall Environment and Sustainability compliance and governance. The Environment Governance reports to the University's Planning and Resources Committee.

The University achieved Fairtrade status in April 2006, and St Andrews itself was declared a Fairtrade town on St Andrews day (30th November) 2005.

The initiatives undertaken by the University across the board (and in partnership with the Student's Association) resulted in St Andrews University being awarded the first ever award for Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development in the Times Higher Awards 2006.

As well as this, the university was commended for outstanding achievements on  waste, life cycle analysis and climate change in the second (2009/10) Universities that Count Annual Report 2009-10 (PDF, 13,216 KB).  Not only this but the undergraduate sustainable development programme won an award in the Green Gown Awards 2009 (PDF, 1,255 KB).


The University offers an undergraduate BSc and MA in sustainable development, and a master's level MSc programme.  Several PhD students are researching their theses on sustainability themes.


In the most recent UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008 (RAE), the University of St Andrews was placed top in Scotland and in the top 10 in the UK for research, with internationally leading research recognised in all academic disciplines.

The St Andrews Sustainability Institute provides a focus for existing interdisciplinary research and a spark-point for new collaborations across the whole breadth of sustainability topics. Researchers are drawn from almost all academic Schools in the University, including Biology (biodiversity, ecosystems, population biology), Chemistry (fuel cell and solar panel technology), Geography & Geosciences (earth systems, natural resources), History (environmental history), International Relations (multilateral diplomacy), Management (sustainable consumption, social & environmental accounting), Mathematics (population dynamics), Medicine and Psychology (changing behaviour).

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.