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Environmental Sustainability Strategy


The climate crisis is one of the biggest challenges we face today. It impacts not only our own students, colleagues and wider Edinburgh Napier community, but those in other communities in our city, our country and around the world. We all have something at stake, and we all have a part to play.

Our overall University Strategy, Driving Distinctiveness, sets out how we will enhance and strengthen our impact and play our part in the recovery, success and sustainability of Scotland and beyond. The new objectives within the strategy are underpinned by a commitment to sustainability, and it is this commitment that will drive our actions and initiatives over the coming years.

A group of staff attending a strategy engagement session, looking at some collected post-it notes on a boardIn 2019, colleagues from across the University took part in a series of workshops to share and discuss their thoughts, ambitions, hopes and fears surrounding the University’s work around sustainability. Out of those conversations grew actions and commitments, which over the past few years have evolved into what is our new Environmental Sustainability Strategy.

This strategy is not the beginning of our work; it is a beginning and recognises that we stand at a pivotal moment. It will provide opportunities for our entire University community to work together, building a culture of change and providing a platform for individuals, teams and wider community-led groups to take ownership and responsibility of key actions that will enable us to meet our commitments.

In our strategy, we commit to:

  • Taking progressive action to achieve net zero carbon in our operations by 2030 at the latest, while also seeking to minimise both our wider and legacy carbon footprint and influence sustainable practices within and beyond our campuses.
  • Combining the expertise and motivation of our community to enhance environmental sustainability within and beyond the University through our curriculum, research, operations, partnerships and engagement.
  • Aligning and building academic excellence focused on Wellbeing & Sustainability, underpinned by the themes of: Health; Environment; AI & Technologies; and Culture & Communities.
  • Demonstrating delivery against Scotland’s National Performance Framework and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by signing the Sustainable Development Goals Accord.

The document itself sets out the tangible opportunities and goals we will be pursuing to meet our commitments. Along with an Actions & Projects Register, we will collate and encourage a live and adaptable action list highlighting projects that will enable the delivery of these. The strategy will be reviewed and updated annually to ensure all opportunities listed are aspirational, relevant to our work and look ahead at least three academic years in time.A group of staff attending a strategy engagement session, sitting around desks and having a discussion

However, we also recognise that in order to make an impact, a strategy document alone is not enough. The Edinburgh Napier community and all the individuals, departments, organisations and teams it encompasses must be empowered and supported to lead on actions which will drive change and build a culture where sustainability is at the heart of everything we do.

All of us are accountable, from leadership within spaces with significant environmental impact such as laboratories to personal impact such as waste management and the day-to-day commute. We must continue to identify areas where we can make a difference, take responsibility and work collaboratively with those around us.

In early 2022, we aim to reach out to groups of Edinburgh Napier staff and students to facilitate discussion around the strategy and the opportunities it provides. We hope these sessions will encourage feedback around what the University can do to support action, both on an individual level and around larger projects. We’ll be providing more details of this in January.

In the meantime, our Environmental Sustainability Strategy document is available below for members of our University community to read and reflect on. If you have any ideas you would like to contribute, please do not hesitate to get in touch by emailing environment@napier.ac.uk​.

Download the Environmental Sustainability Strategy (Word)​

Environmental Sustainability Strategy Group

The Environmental Sustainability Strategy Group (ESSG), representing our student and staff community, will lead and support our sustainability work. The group is chaired by Professor Gary Hutchison of the University's Senior Leadership Team and sponsored by Andy McGoff, who sits on the University Leadership Team. Heloisa Fyfe, President for Societies and Community for the Edinburgh Napier Students' Association, also sits on the group.

To formalise, share and promote our plans, we have developed a new Environmental Sustainability Strategy. Our actions, commitments and progress throughout our 2020/21 academic year are highlighted within our Environmental Sustainability Actions, Commitments & Progress Working Document. The document references our key University Strategy commitments.

If you have any ideas you would like to contribute, please do not hesitate to get in touch by emailing environment@napier.ac.uk​.

Sustainable Development Goals

We have made a commitment within the University Strategy to demonstrate delivery against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Scotland’s National Performance Framework​. We will use both frameworks as best practice guides and we will embed the principles and practice of both within our ESS.  We will measure our success through a range of key performance indicators that will be discussed at the ESSG and reported to the University Leadership Team and publicly.