Climate Change

Landscape with a mountain and melting ice

University of Strathclyde is committed to reducing its environmental impact by mitigating carbon emissions and adapting to climate change.

The University's Strategic Plan 2020-2025 commits to Delivering net zero and promoting sustainability.  The University met its strategic carbon reduction target of a 25% reduction of the 2009-10 baseline ahead of the 2020 target delivery point, but significantly greater intensity of action is now required and our milestones and target reflect our determination to increase the pace of change. Our response to climate change and our drive to sustainability is set out in our Climate Change and Social Responsibility Policy.

The Climate Change and Social Responsibility Policy has four main aims.

  1. Tackle climate change and reduce resource use
  2. Be socially responsible
  3. Collaborate with others
  4. Share learning and knowledge to help ensure continuous improvement

All policies, plans and strategies managed within Estates Services will embed the key principles laid out in the University Climate Change and Social Responsibility Policy.


Net Zero Emissions by 2040

The University is committed to being Net Zero by 2040 and to a reduction in it's direct and measurable indirect emissions by 70% by 2025.

A Climate Change and Social Responsibility Plan has been drafted and approved by University Court.  The plan is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals and consists of 25 deliverables aligned to University policy aims and themes.

SDGs and Strathclyde's CCSR Plan

CCSR Plan Deliverables Update January 2022 

Climate Neutral Innovation District

Dr Roddy Yarr, our Executive Lead for Sustainability, talks about our hopes for a Climate Neutral Innovation District.

The Global Goals

The University is a signatory of the SDG Accord, and is committed to delivering Sustainable Development Goals by means of inspiring, reporting and learning from each other.

Summary of University work on promoting the SDGs is available in the Annual SDG Accord Report 2019.

Sustainable Development Goals logo

SDG 2 Zero Hunger

Campus Food Waste

Student Hunger

  • Mature Students Association operates a food bank for those who need it.
  • All University food outlets offer more sustainable options, including vegetarian and vegan dishes.
  • Our conference catering includes a full set of vegetarian and vegan options.
  • We are accredited by the Soil Association and have achieved Bronze 'Food for Life' Award for our catering.
  • Our Technology and Innovation Centre has achieved Green Tourism Gold Award which includes for the provision of organic, local and Fairtrade food.

National Hunger

  • We are a Fairtrade University and have a Fairtrade Policy.
  • The University seeks to procure local food wherever possible within public sector procurement rules.

SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation

Water usage and care 

Ross Priory reedbed system

Water in the community

  • The University works with all its Local Authority partners as part of the Climate Ready Clyde (CRC) initiative. CRC is a 15 strong membership group that tackles climate adaptation across the River Clyde catchment and city region.
  • The University has developed a Climate Adaptation Plan in 2019 that includes issues such as rainwater attenuation and management of rainfall runoff. 

SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy

University Measures 

Energy and the community

  • We have a range of outreach projects that engage with local schools and help to establish an awareness and understanding of energy systems and climate change, such as the Strathclyde-Malawi Programme.
  • The University has a policy to develop all new buildings to be 100% energy carbon neutral.
  • The University's Energy Systems Research Unit carries out paid consultancy in the development of 100% renewable whole energy systems.
  • The University informs and supports government in clean energy and energy-efficient technology policy development.

SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

Support of arts and heritage

  • Several of the University's buildings are freely accessible to the general public, including the Andersonian Library. 
  • Many University buildings are available for hire, including wedding hire at the Ross Priory on Loch Lomond
  • Members of the public can freely access the University grounds.

Sustainable practices

  • The University maintains some housing as available for staff to use, and the University's stewardship policies include a range of hardship funds and these are administered by Student Experience and Enhancement Services Department. 
  • The University engages on a range of development issues in relation to city scale and to local planning and development.
  • We're in the process of seeking planning permission for the pedestrianisation and relandscaping of the Rottenrow Gardens.
  • Our new Learning and Teaching Building is being constructed using an existing building on a brownfield site. Other recent developments that have used brownfield sites include the Strathclyde Business school on Cathedral Street and the Wolfson Building on Taylor Street.
  • The University has previously appointed Campus Cycling Officers through Cycling Scotland and currently has an Active Travel Coordinator, funded through the Smarter Choices Smarter Places open fund.
  • The University measures it's sustainable commuting rates through travel surveys and sets out improvement targets in it's Travel Plan.
  • Travel Plan
  • Flexible Working Policy
  • Guidelines for homeworking 

SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production

Operational Measures

  • We are committed to sustainable procurement and have a Sustainable Procurement Policy.
  • The University has a Sustainable Food Policy
  • We monitor the amount of waste sent to landfill, and have policies on waste disposal, which also covers hazardous materials. 
  • We also have policies around minimisation of use of plastic and disposables.
  • These policies extend to outsourced suppliers and the supply chain.

Proportion of recycled waste


SDG 13 Climate Action

Low Carbon Energy Use

  • The University procures 100% renewable electricity, and we produce our own solar power.

Environmental Education

  • We're a member of Climate Ready Clyde, a partnership of a range of stakeholders in Greater Glasgow area.
  • Each year we participate in Climate Week
  • We host educational events on climate change. For example, the University runs an annual "Engage with Strathclyde" week and Climate Change features heavily in the topics discussed.
  • We have a University Climate Change and Social Responsibility Policy, a Carbon Management Plan, and we are developing a Climate Adaptation Plan
  • We're a member of the local Climate Resilience Group and participate in the 2050 Climate Group
  • Carbon Management Plan (2019 update)
  • Carbon Management Plan 2011

Commitment to carbon neutral university

SDG 14 Life below water

Supporting aquatic ecosystems through action

  • The University is a member of the local Climate Resilience Group, chaired by Glasgow City Council.
  • The University also participates in the 2050 Climate Group, a Scotland-wide network designed to bring together a range of stakeholders to discuss and develop strategies for climate action.
  • The University is an active member of Climate Ready Clyde which is a partnership of a range of stakeholders in the Greater Glasgow area.
  • Sustainable Food Policy

Water sensitive waste disposal and maintaining a local ecosystem

  • At Ross Priory, the University operates a natural reedbed that treats effluent wastewater from the facility.  The discharge is consented by the regulator.  The reedbed is sampled by University staff on a monthly basis and the results are sent to the Scottish Environmental protection Agency.  This discharge consent into Loch Lomond has been in place for a number of years.
  • At Ross Priory, 2016 saw the installation of new settlement tank and in-line filter downstream of existing septic tank, as well as new gravel and replacement reeds.

  • The University has spillage and pollution prevention procedures that are designed to minimise the impact of spilages on the environment:


SDG 15 Life on Land

Supporting land ecosystems through education

Supporting land ecosystems through action

  • We have carried out habitat surveys at our facilities at John Anderson Campus and Ross Priory to establish we have no IUCN Red Listed species present.
  • In line with national legislation, we maintain all of our assets such that they do not encourage or enable alien species to seed themselves. 
  • The University's John Anderson campus is open t the general public and the greenspace land is open to the public to use throughout the year.

Land sensitive waste disposal

  • At Ross Priory, the University operates a natural reedbed that treats effluent wastewater from the facility.  The discharge is consented by the regulator.  The reedbed is sampled by University staff on a monthly basis and the results are sent to the Scottish Environmental protection Agency.  This discharge consent into Loch Lomond has been in place for a number of years.
  • Waste Management Policy
  • Hazardous/Special Waste

SDG 17 Partnership for the Goals

Relationships with NGOs, Regional and National Government

  • We work with partners across Europe through CESAER, where we contribute to discussions around benchmarking and data, including in relation to the SDGs
  • The University and its departments collaborate with a wide range of NGOs, including the International Institute for Environment and Development, United Purpose, Community Energy Malawi, Scotland Malawi Partnership, Practical Action, VSO and Christian Aid.

Sustainability report


  • EAUC - alliance for sustainability leadership in education 
  • Climate Ready Clyde - an initiative to create a shared vision, strategy and action plan for an adapting Glasgow City Region
  • SSN - supporting and accelerating public sector action on climate change 
  • AUDE - promoting excellence in the strategic planning, management, operation and development of HE estates and facilities

Projects and partnerships: