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Supporting sustainability

Environmental sustainability is a key OU strategic priority and it is vitally important that The Open University in Scotland makes contributions to the wider debates in Scottish society.

Children at the beach holding up a planet in their handsThis includes supporting the development of policy imperatives on climate change, influencing and informing public opinion and mobilising people to coalesce and act around arguably the biggest societal challenge of our time. 

Climate change has been described as a wicked problem, without a formulaic, quick fix solution.

It requires all of us to bring all of ourselves to get to grips with the issues, if we are to make an impactful change. 

Engagement and outreach

Universities and the people who study, work or partner with them, can help meet the challenges by creating and sharing knowledge, skills and behaviours for a just transition to a low carbon economy.

The OU's contributions in Scotland take many forms and draw on our expertise as a digital educator, and trusted public face which effectively communicates complex ideas to a mass audience.  

Our free informal learning platform OpenLearn has a Sustainability Hub full of free articles, interactives and courses relating to learning about and living more sustainably. With iTunesU and YouTube, these channels reach millions of people beyond our own students. Stephen Peake, Professor of Climate Change and Energy, discusses free resources in this short video clip: 

Activities in Scotland include:  

Study and research

Prospective students can choose from courses and qualifications offered by the OU relevant to climate change and sustainability, including a short skills-focussed microcredential. 

Careers information is available in these areas.

Projects on sustainable seaweed and sustainable fish farming feature among our research and policymaker engagement in Scotland. 

Environmental Systems expert Dr Leslie Mabon is involved with Traction Framework, a tool for helping communities adapt to climate change. In this blog, OU lecturer Dr Mabon explores progress made since Glasgow-based COP26.

Key OU priority

Sir David Attenborough, presenter of Open University/BBC co-production Wild Isles and an OU honorary graduate.The Open University has committed to divestment from fossil fuels by 2023, decarbonising our energy supplies by 2030 and being ‘net zero’ by 2050 institutionally and across our supply chains.

Find out more about our policies, statements, reports and guidance relating to sustainability.

The Open University in Scotland complies with the Climate Change (Duties of Public Bodies: Reporting Requirements) (Scotland) Order 2015. We submit an annual climate change report to the Scottish Government in November.

Learn more about sustainability at the OU.

Sustainability Lead at the OU in Scotland is Kate Signorini