Sustainability Working Group

Appointed by SMG, the Sustainability Working Group (SWG) is responsible for overseeing the development and delivery of the University’s Sustainability Strategy (“Glasgow Green: Towards a Climate Strategy and Action Plan for the University of Glasgow”).  The University’s main goal is to achieve ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2030. 

A central theme of the strategy is the need to engage the University community more effectively in this developing agenda. There are huge opportunities in this respect; people at all levels are treating the issue of climate change with a renewed sense of urgency and are willing the University to go further and faster.

A second theme relates to the University’s place in the world; rather than being inward looking, the strategy seeks to use our influence and expertise to address key challenges and inspire others to action.

The SWG will approve and oversee implementation of a delivery plan and timeline associated with the strategy and action plan.

Board remit

The mandate for the SWG is as follows:

Strategy and Policy:

  • Improve the focus, visibility and effectiveness of the University’s sustainability commitments
  • Develop and implement an institutional strategy to address the climate crisis
  • Develop and recommend policies regarding sustainability to SMG and Court
  • Ensure the University’s sustainability ambitions are understood and embedded across the University
  • Ensure the University’s contribution is solution focused and impact orientated, mobilising knowledge and using all its capabilities as a leading anchor institution for sustainability in the city of Glasgow and on a global platform
  • Ensure that the Board's membership includes the skills and experience necessary to address its remit effectively.  To this end, the Board membership may rotate depending what aspect of the sustainability agenda is under development. Small working sub-groups may be formed from time to time.

Delivery and Operations:

  • Oversee the University’s Sustainability Action Plan and the associated delivery plan and timeline, ensuring full alignment to the 2025 University Strategy and related strategies
  • Ensure that sustainability engagement is effectively co-ordinated and leveraged across University
  • Work with other bodies to broaden the University sustainability ambition to staff and students
  • Ensure that outcomes are monitored and reviewed and, where appropriate, linked to performance measures
  • Ensure that sustainability engagement activities are profiled effectively through the communications channels of the University and its partners
  • Report periodically to Senior Management Group and Court (via Estates Committee) on the performance and progress of the Sustainability Action Plan

Scheme of Delegation

The following details the delegated authority for the SSDB and shows how it is placed in the overall University Scheme of Delegation with escalation to Senior Management Group, Finance Committee or Court:

Area of Responsibility


Decision Making Delegated Authority

Escalation To

Approve Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan




Approve delivery plan and timeline


Chief Operating Officer

Finance Committee/Senior Management Group

Board Membership

This is a joint executive and non-executive chaired Board with the following membership:

  • Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary (co-Chair)
  • Academic lead (co-Chair)
  • College representatives
  • University Services representative
  • Head of Procurement
  • Two representatives of the Students’ Representative Council
  • Representative from Estates
  • Trade Union Representative

In attendance

  • Director of Sustainability
  • Sustainable Environment Officer
  • Communications and Public Affairs Officer (as required)

Board Member Responsibilities

The Board has final accountability for the production and governance of the annual and 3-year investment plans.  Each Board member has a responsibility to:

  • Assess and publicly support the outcomes from the Sustainability Action Plan including providing insight into impact
  • Provide challenge on the Sustainability Strategy delivery timescales including cost and resource constraints
  • Identify, assess and mitigate sustainability risk at an institutional level as well as horizon scanning at a sector level
  • Take ownership for specific actions and risks in the SSDB Action and Risk Logs. All actions and risks must have a board member as overall owner
  • Ensure that activities align with the University’s values (click here for details)

Format and cadence

The meeting schedule will be every 4 months tying in with annual budgeting cycle. 


  • UofG strategy and plan
  • Sustainability Strategy and Roadmap
  • Sustainability related policies
  • Management information provided by Planning Insights & Analytics


  • Papers as required to SMG or Court (via Estates Committee)
  • Action Log
  • Delivery Plan and updates
  • Minutes

Substitutions and Quorum

Substitutions may be made with prior notice given to the clerk.  There must be a minimum of 4 from the core group (excluding clerk in attendance for decisions or approvals. In the event of a consensus not being reached, the Chair will have the casting decision.

Conflict of Interest

The SSDB will follow the UofG procedure for the management of any conflicts.  The procedure defines declaration of conflicts as a standard agenda item at the start of the meeting, the maintenance of a register of conflicts, and a process for managing all conflicts which are declared.