Governance, Strategy and Policies

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 global environmental strategy and associated policies enable us to develop key commitments regarding sustainability across our global community, from teaching and research to running our university campuses and facilities.

Climate Action Framework

Sunlight coming through tropical tree tops on a Climate Action Framework poster

Our approach to this is outlined in our Climate Action Framework, which underscores our commitment to mobilising collective efforts towards a net-zero future and demonstrates our ongoing progress.

Our ten institutional commitments are:

Leadership through action

Thought leadership and foresighting

World-leading research, teaching and enterprise

How we will operationalise our commitments

Our Global Environmental Sustainability Strategy has outlined the 10 institutional commitments; this includes the development of our Climate Action Framework (June 2024). Specific actions arising from the commitments are 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:

Governance in sustainability

Our Global Environmental Sustainability Strategy is 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.

The University Committee for Global Environmental Sustainability (Chaired by the Deputy Principal for Global Environmental Sustainability) reports directly into the University Executive on delivery of the 10 commitments (above) and the sustainability objectives set across the whole University. Its purpose is to provide leadership and oversight of the delivery and further development of the University’s Global Environmental Sustainability Strategy.

The membership includes:

  • Deputy Principal (Education and Student Life)
  • Student Union President or Vice President (representing student voice on the Committee)
  • Deputy Principal (Research and Impact)
  • Chief Scientist
  • Global Director of Information Services
  • Global Director of Estates and Facilities
  • Executive Dean
  • Strategic Programme Lead, Global Sustainability
  • Terms of Reference
Flowchart showing the governance process at the University.


Our dedicated Sustainability management team are:

  • Deputy Principal for Global Environmental Sustainability: Prof. Mercedes Maroto-Valer. (Read more about this strategically important role)
  • 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
  • Project Support Officer: Flora Reynolds
  • Sustainability Communication Manager: Lynda-Marie Taurasi

We are also embedding governance responsibilities relating to sustainability within each of the Terms of Reference for the Court and relevant Court Committees. This includes:

  • Court
  • Audit and Risk Committee
  • Donations and Investment Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Global Student Life Committee
  • Governance and Nominations Committee
  • Infrastructure Committee
  • Staff Committee

Find out more about the Sustainability Team