Universities and Colleges Climate Commitment for Scotland

Scotland’s universities and colleges have publicly declared their intention to address the challenges of climate change and reduce their carbon footprints by signing the Universities and Colleges Climate Commitment for Scotland (UCCCfS).

To date, 57 institutions have signed the Commitment, constituting 95% of universities and colleges in Scotland. Signatories are committed to producing and publishing a 5-year Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) which will include measurable targets and timescales to achieve a significant reduction in emissions from all business operations and activities, including:

• energy consumption and source
• waste reduction, recycling and responsible disposal
• sustainable estate development
• sustainable travel planning
• responsible procurement of goods and services

Institutions will incorporate work on climate change into established improvement processes and will publish annual results on progress, detailing outcomes achieved and further actions required.

The UCCCfS was developed with financial support from the Scottish Funding Council and through collaboration between the following organisations:

UCCCfS Advisory Board

Environmental Association for Universities & Colleges
NUS-Scotland
Scottish Association of University Directors of Estates
Scottish Climate Change Impacts Partnership
Scottish Colleges
Scottish Environment Protection Agency
Scottish Funding Council
Scottish Further Education Unit
Scottish Government (Climate Change Policy)
Scottish Government (Higher Education & Learner Support)
Scottish Trades Union Congress
Universities Scotland

Underpinning the UCCCfS is a package of support facilitated by the EAUC, which includes our ongoing Continual Professional Development (CPD) programme, our Sustainability Leaders Programme, the Campus Sustainability Programme (CaSPr) and our Topic Support Networks, all of which provide CPD and networking opportunities for institutions plus opportunities for sharing good and best practice.

In addition the EAUC has also undertaken a major resource mapping exercise to facilitate partnership between institutions and the organisations that promote sustainable development and provide the necessary support to implement change. Details of our strategic partners’ services and support is available on our Scotland pages.

Universities and colleges have a key role to play in improving Scotland’s natural and built environment:

• through their primary role as educators, skills trainers and researchers, institutions have the potential to make an invaluable contribution to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development;

• as owners and operators of large and complex estates, universities and colleges can lead on the delivery of sustainable low carbon 21st century campuses; and

• as the focus of many local communities, institutions can influence and lead on wider community and social initiatives.

In recognition of these key roles and the sectors’ leadership in tackling climate change and in support of the UCCCfS, Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary of Education and Lifelong Learning, said:

Scottish Ministers welcome this timely and proactive initiative by Scotland’s universities and colleges to tackle climate change. Delivering these commitments will lead to positive benefits, as well as raising Scotland’s profile as a leading, learning nation, determined to make a positive contribution to one of the greatest global challenges.

Ownership and accountability is critical to the success of the UCCCfS and will be vital if the sectors are to make a meaningful contribution to the Scottish and UK Governments’ ambitious climate change targets. Signatories committed to publishing their climate change action plans from February 2010 and the UCCCfS Advisory Board is considering ways in which longer-term monitoring and reporting procedures can be implemented, details of which will be finalised in 2010.

For further information please contact Sarah Lee, UCCCfS Programme Manager, Tel: 0131 474 0000, email: slee@eauc.org.uk.

Updated April 2010