Aberdeen city at night

Sustainability at RGU

Our Sustainability Statement

We are committed to playing our role in a more sustainable future by building economic growth, addressing environmental challenges, and promoting an inclusive society that improves quality of life and creates equal opportunities for all. The University’s Strategy drives our activity to create a more sustainable future both for our own community and wider society.

Sustaining People, Place and Planet

We are committed to playing our role in a more sustainable future by building economic growth, addressing environmental challenges, and promoting an inclusive society that improves quality of life and creates equal opportunities for all. Through our teaching, research, partnerships, and services, we are focused on driving activity that creates a more sustainable future both for our own University community and wider society.

Our strategic commitment is underpinned by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to protect the planet, end poverty and ensure that all enjoy peace and prosperity. We have adopted these goals across our activity, informing and supporting governmental agenda, contributing to economic, social and cultural development and delivering on our own organisational net zero ambitions by 2040.

As a leading UK university for graduate employability, we continually evolve our curriculum to meet the changing needs of learners and workforces and extend access to higher education. We strive to ensure that our graduates possess the expertise, attributes, agency, and ethical understanding that enables them to be valued, socially responsible global citizens with the ability to influence and assist in the climate change emergency.

We are innovating and applying collaborative interdisciplinary expertise to bring solutions to society’s most complex problems and deliver sustainable solutions for business and industry. We place a particular strategic focus on the areas of energy and health and social care, underpinned by leading expertise in collaborative research, enterprise and innovation, digital modelling, and data analytics.

Located in Aberdeen, the centre of the European oil and gas industry for some 50 years, we are working with partners regionally and nationally to sustain the status of the North-East of Scotland as a global energy leader in the transition to a low carbon economy. Equally, through partnering with governments to support international economic development, we recognise the fundamental importance of engaging with the differing contexts that exist internationally in working towards our common goal of a Just Energy Transition.

As an international community, RGU recognises that while global objectives are shared, sustainability is not universally interpreted, and sees dialogue, discourse, and collaborative learning as being vital in the creation of a fair, just, and sustainable future for all.

University Energy Transition Vision Statement

Robert Gordon University is drawing on 50 years of globally recognised experience in teaching and research in oil and gas, coupled with unparalleled industry partnerships, to be an international leader in the just transition to a sustainable and resilient future energy supply. Our Energy Transition Institute, and roles as a partner in the National Energy Skills Accelerator (NESA) and National Subsea Centre (NSC), position RGU as a leader in strategic sector analysis, skills development, and research and innovation in the field.

Through its academic offer, we will serve the skills demand through equipping new graduates for the future of energy and upskilling the workforce, delivering a distinctive suite of innovative courses developed in partnership with industry. Through applied, interdisciplinary research, we will help advance transition nationally and internationally, as well as make powerful contributions to other global challenges.

Rapid energy transition is of pivotal importance economically and socially at regional, national, and international levels, and in achieving governmental commitments to carbon reduction. Moreover, sustainability in energy is dependent on the future consideration of consumption as well as generation. Alongside the central place of engineering and technology, its success requires the support of a broader range of expertise and RGU’s approach adopts this holistic perspective. Disciplines that have a key role include management, economics, finance, governance, law, and computing and digital technologies. We are also harnessing our significant expertise in design and construction to reduce demand in our environment whilst helping address issues of health and well-being.

We are building on these strengths to support the global imperative.

Statement on Divestment from Oil and Gas

The University’s Management Treasury Policy is that our long-term investments will exclude holdings in equity stocks that generate more than 10% of revenues from the following categories: alcohol, gambling, tobacco, armaments, adult entertainment, thermal coal and tar/oil sands.

The Investment Policy provides that the university will actively seek to divest itself of all investments in companies engaged directly in fossil fuel extraction. It is currently expected that this will be completed by 31 December 2025.

In practice, as at May 2023, the University currently has less than 0.01% directly invested in oil and gas companies.

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