An education in sustainability

Supported by their colleges and universities, students across the country are demonstrating the positive effect young people are having in fighting climate change. Beyond their own campuses, their achievements are being recognised by national bodies such as the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) who run the annual UK-wide sustainability Oscars for academic institutions.

One initiative that has grabbed the attention of the EAUC is the Swap and Reuse Hub (Shrub, for short) run by students at the University of Edinburgh. Shrub began as a one-off solution to a problem familiar to generations of students.

Its founders were frustrated by the amount of waste generated by the continuous cycle of students moving into halls of residence, filling their rooms with the essentials of student living and inevitably leaving some of it behind amid the practicalities of moving on. Much of what was left behind ended up in the bin, destined for landfill.

Their solution was to collect, sift and store this material and to redistribute it through a free shop at the start of the next term. Shrub is now a community hub for sustainable living and has just announced plans to open Scotland’s first ever “rescued food” shop aimed at reducing the 27 tonnes of food the organisation calculates goes to waste each week in central Edinburgh alone.


On the other side of the country, Ayrshire College has earned recognition for a scheme that saw student volunteers working alongside conservation staff at Dean Castle Country Park.

The students planted new native trees, created wetland habitats and improved access for park users by helping to build additional paths and walkways. According to the project’s organisers, the legacy for wider Scottish society is a body of young people going out into the world as environmentally conscious citizens and who know that they are capable of bringing about change.

At Perth College, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, £20,000 is made available to fund new green projects each year. This has already contributed to a 4.7% reduction in carbon emissions and a 75% recycling of campus waste. The college has also installed an energy monitoring system invented by Tanya Ewing, a former student and British Female Inventor of the Year.

Across Scotland, similar success stories are showing what can be achieved through innovation,
collaboration and hard work.


The Herald’s Climate for Change initiative supports efforts being made by the Scottish Government with key organisations and campaign partners. Throughout the year we will provide a forum in The Herald newspaper, online at and in Business HQ magazine, covering news and significant developments in this increasingly crucial area.

If you are interested in contributing editorially or interested in becoming a Climate for Change
partner, please contact Stephen McTaggart on 0141 302 6137 or email

In association with . . .



A non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government oversees environmental regulation, monitors and reports on the state of the environment, raises awareness of environmental issues, and resolves environmental harms.



Organiser of conferences and events aimed at addressing the current carbon reduction position, enabling those leading and driving policies and proposals to share their vision, and highlighting Scotland as the best place in which to invest in low-carbon businesses.



The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is helping make Scotland the best place in the world to educate, to research and to innovate. Investing around £1.8 billion of public money each year, SFC’s funding enables Scotland’s colleges and universities to provide life-changing opportunities for over half a million people.



A Scottish Property Factor with nationwide coverage. Newton have ambitious plans to help future proof their customers’ properties, making them greener, cleaner and more energy efficient resulting in significant savings in running costs.


The Conferderation of Passenger Transport - Scotland

The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT) is recognised by Government as the voice of the bus and coach industry, and the focus for consultation on national and international legislation, local regulations, operational practices and engineering standards.