Sustainable Development Committee

Sustainable Development Committee

Date of Establishment - June 2020 (Sustainability Steering Group) and September 2021 (Sustainable Development Committee)

Chair and Administrative Support Area

  • Chair: Senior Vice-Principal
  • Clerk: Senior Vice-Principal’s Office

Committee Governance

The following points should be noted:

  • The Committee will report directly to the Policy and Resources Committee.
  • The Committee is expected to normally meet once per quarter.
  • The Committee will have the discretion to create sub-groups, as and when appropriate.
  • Paperwork for each meeting will be co-ordinated in advance and circulated by the Clerk, normally at least five working days prior to each meeting.
Purpose, Remit and Approach


The Sustainable Development Committee co-ordinates the development, implementation and review of the activities which underpin our commitment to sustainability as outlined in the Aberdeen 2040 strategic plan.  


  • Oversee the development and implementation of an institutional Action Plan that aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and enables us to fulfil our commitment to sustainability as outlined in the Aberdeen 2040 strategic plan:
    • Encourage everyone within our community to work and live sustainably, recognising the importance of our time, energy and resilience;
    • Educate all our students and staff to be leaders in protecting the environment;
    • Excel in research that addresses the climate emergency, enables energy transition and the preservation of biodiversity; and
    • Achieve net zero carbon emissions before 2040.
  • Monitor and evaluate progress against the Action Plan and associated KPIs, making supportive and constructive recommendations to enhance effectiveness and implement remedial actions as required;
  • Establish and support workstreams as appropriate to fulfil the institutional commitment to sustainability, monitoring their progress and providing oversight, guidance and support as required;
  • Scan the external horizon to ensure the University (i) continues to meet legislative/regulatory compliance requirements and (ii) considers current best practice guidelines in relation to sustainability;
  • Ensure effective communication with the University community and external stakeholders to enhance understanding of, and engagement with, the sustainability agenda and the achievement of the aims outlined within the institutional Action Plan. 


Our approach to sustainability recognises the breadth of the sustainability agenda and the need for a whole-institution approach to tackling the challenges involved.  Our Aberdeen 2040 strategy builds on the foundation of our earlier commitments, and reinforces the need for a programme of actions across all areas of institutional activity. 

We welcome the work of the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) in helping to frame a broad consensus on what a 'whole-institution' approach to sustainability looks like in the HE sector.  We intend to utilise the Sustainability Leadership Scorecard to inform the development of our sustainability approach, building on the SLS's four broad pillars of activity: 

  • Leadership and Communication (Culture)
  • Estate and Infrastructure (Campus)
  • Partnership and Engagement (Community)
  • Learning, Teaching & Research (Curriculum)

By adopting this structure we acknowledge that, alongside estate and campus issues, our approach to sustainability will cut across all aspects our teaching, research, civic and administrative roles.

Composition and Membership




Karl Leydecker

Vice-Principal (Global Student Recruitment)

Alan Speight

Vice Principal (Research)

Marion Campbell

Vice-Principal (Regional Engagement & Regional Recovery)

Pete Edwards

Vice-Principal (Education)

Ruth Taylor

University Secretary & Chief Operating Officer

Tracey Slaven

Dean for Environmental Sustainability Tavis Potts

Director of People

Debbie Dyker

Interim Director of Estates and Facilities

Duncan White

Director of Finance

Mark White

Director of Planning

Hulda Sveinsdottir

Director of Research & Innovation

Liz Rattray

Director of External Relations

Jenny Fernandes

Director of Digital & Information Services

Brian Henderson

Director of Centre for Energy Transition

John Underhill

Director of Centre for Environment & Biodiversity

David Burslem

UCU Representative

Adam Price

Unison Representative

Kenneth Sadler

Unite Representative

Ruth Slater

2 x Elected Senators

Yukie Tanino

Neil Vargesson

Policy Adviser (Sustainability)

Fraser Lovie

Energy Manager


Head of Procurement

Helane Gannicliffe

Qatar Campus Representative

Nadia Degama

3 x AUSA Representatives

Alisa Koester

Camilo Torres-Barragan

Joseph Huttich

PGR Representative

Josefine Bjorkvist


Heather Crabb

If additional information or consultation is required on any aspect of business under consideration, the Committee will co-opt individuals (internal and/or external to the University) as advisory members.  It is anticipated that colleagues involved in key operational areas e.g. energy, transport and waste management will contribute to the Committee’s discussions on a regular basis.


The following points should be noted:

•    The Committee will report to the Policy and Resources Committee via the Senior Management Team.
•    The Committee is expected to normally meet once per quarter.
•    The Committee will have the discretion to create sub-groups, as and when appropriate.
•    Paperwork for each meeting will be co-ordinated in advance and circulated by the Clerk, normally at least five working days prior to each meeting.

Agenda and Minutes








Statutory Reporting

In 2015, Public Bodies in Scotland were invited to submit (voluntarily) a sustainability report as part of a new obligation under statutory Public Bodies Climate Change Duties. In 2016 that exercise became compulsory.

Recent reports

Details of that exercise and all public body reports are available via the Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) reporting page. Our most recent reports as part of this exercise are available below and via SSN online:

These reports provide detailed inventories and full information relating to our efforts to reduce emissions.

Reports prior to 2016

Prior to this reporting regime, the Scottish sector had developed a voluntary annual reporting mechanism that introduced a consistent framework for further and higher education. The reports submitted formed our annual return under the then Universities & Colleges Climate Commitment for Scotland (UCCCfS).

Function specific reports

Details of function specific reports on Waste, Energy and Transport are available in the 'around campus' section.