University of Glasgow: Developing an Adaptation Plan for Action

Case Study On-going
Date added: 10/05/2019

Stewart Miller is the Sustainable Environment Officer (Estates & Buildings) at the University of Glasgow. A new Climate Change Adaptation Plan is embedding climate ready thinking into the way the University manages its estate.

‘Along with managing and maintaining our historic buildings, the University is redeveloping our Gilmorehill campus, and developing a new campus at the Western Infirmary site. Planning for climate change adaptation will help to ensure that these new developments, along with existing buildings, campuses and infrastructure, are resilient to shifting weather patterns and remain safe and comfortable spaces for students and staff.

In late 2018 we released our first Adaptation Plan, which outlines a vision for a resilient and adapting University. This vision is supported by a clear and actionable framework that provides a roadmap for implementing short, medium and long term actions to increase the University’s resilience to climate change.

The Adaptation Plan was developed by working closely with staff working across different departments. We spent time working with diverse internal stakeholders, ensuring that key performance indicators were assigned to the right person and that people understood why adaptation is important and their role in implementing the plan. Along with sustainability officers, managers, directors and heads of services are identified as owners of short, medium and long term goals. This ensures that the push to adapt to climate change comes from the top, and our senior management team have clear goals and obligations. Creating this buy-in at the senior level is helping to embed adaptation into the way the University operates.

The Adaptation Plan works to embed climate into the University’s risk registers, and creates processes to manage and respond to risks. The plan identifies ‘what does good look like’ for short, medium and long term objectives, assigns responsibility and contains internal progress reporting requirements. Responsibility is spread across the University, and adaptation objectives overlap with design standards, health and safety, energy and waste, travel, human resources and asset management.

To make sure the Adaptation Plan is effective in achieving our objectives, we’ve created an extensive review process that will help us understand our strengths and weaknesses as we implement the plan. This includes a review by our organisation-wide Sustainability Working Group, as well as a six monthly review to assess progress on adaptation across the University.

We’re taking action to become climate ready across our organisation to ensure that the University remains a thriving educational and cultural hub for our 26,000 students and 8,000 staff.’

On 14th August 2019, Adaptation Scotland held a webinar to introduce the capability framework. As part of this, Stewart Miller introduced participants to the University's Climate Change Adaptation Plan:

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