Governance, Strategy and Policies
What is our approach?
Environmental sustainability is one of the Strategic Performance Indicators of our Strategy 2025, which sets out our commitment to delivering statutory environmental requirements and enhancing sustainability outcomes across the full breadth of the University's activities. Our approach is outlined in our global environmental strategy and associated policies, which will enable us to develop key commitments regarding sustainability across our global community.
Our global sustainability strategy will be community-based, data-led and influenced by science-based targets as we seek to reduce our environmental impact, enhance our climate mitigation and contribute to sector-wide efforts. We are proud to have contributed to a new tertiary education sector-led proposal on ‘Accelerating towards Net Zero’, an ambitious roadmap for reducing CO2 emissions across the tertiary education sector. You can read or download the full report on this link at the Royal Anniversary Trust.
Our 10 institutional commitments are:
Leadership through action
We will inform, empower and support our global community in taking personal and collective action to assist in delivering the SDGs.
We will commit to achieving NetZero carbon emissions by a suitably ambitious date, between 2030 and 2035 depending on outcome of detailed planning.
Thought leadership and foresighting
We will utilise the convening power of Panmure House to promote discussion and debate to encourage fresh thinking on how to achieve the SDGs.
We will challenge ourselves, industry and national governments to achieve progress towards the SDGs.
World-leading research, teaching and enterprise
We will map and align our global presence in educational excellence and world-leading research with the UN SDGs.
We will create a Global Research Institute in NetZero aligned with an international Skills Academy for “green jobs”.
We will demonstrate and quantify the potential global impact of the radical innovations in research and policy.
How we will operationalise our commitments
The Global Sustainability Plan will move to actions through the ongoing annual planning process, setting actions and targets in a timely and suitably ambitious but practical manner. Specific actions arising from the commitments will be the responsibility of Heriot-Watt University Executive and the governing body, The Court, working with the whole University community.
The strategy and policy documents below, and in development, detail the pathways to attaining these commitments:
- Global Environmental Sustainability: Environmental Policy Statement
- Net Zero Plan - our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint to Net Zero between 2030 and 2035
- Biodiversity Action Plan - our commitment to protecting and promoting biodiversity on our campuses
- Strategic Travel Plan – Edinburgh Campus - our commitment to reducing the impact of travel associated with university operations on our largest campus
- Dubai Campus Sustainability Policy - our commitment to supporting the sustainability of our Dubai campus
- Malaysia Sustainability Policy - our commitment to supporting the sustainability of our Malaysia campus
- Strategy 2025 - shaping tomorrow together
Governance in sustainability
Our Global Environmental Sustainability Group and associated sub-groups meet regularly to help evolve our strategy and policies and to deliver commitments set out within them. These include staff and student representatives led by Chair, Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, our Deputy Principal of Global Sustainability. Read more about this strategically important role.
Our sustainability team also includes:
- Strategic Programme Lead for Global Environmental Sustainability: Dr Lindsay Wilson
- Environment and Energy Manager: Chris Larkins
- Sustainability Strategy Coordinator: Anna Clark
- Community Engagement Coordinator for Sustainability: Caitríona Buggle
- Net Zero Support Officer: Emily Stone