QMU Net-Zero Strategy: Scope 3 Emissions

While the University reports on wider aspects of scope 3, particularly related to travel and transport, a full screening exercise for scope 3 upstream and downstream activity is required to establish robust scope reporting boundaries for this going forward. 

Reporting in 2021-22 has been expanded to include F-gas emissions alongside travel emissions which have been previously collected, calculated and reported. Procurement emissions require further analysis to avoid double-counting with existing reported streams. 

Waste & Recycling

The University does not dispose of waste to landfill and has a well-established segregated waste management system. Food waste utilises an anaerobic disposal route, dry mixed recycling is sorted via the providers material recycling facility and general waste is disposed of via a waste for heat plant. 

All treatment and disposal facilities are situated within 5 miles of the campus, minimising the carbon associated with transportation in this activity. 

Actions will be focused on reducing waste and improving circularity aligned with the implementation of the Scottish Government Deposit Return Scheme. 

Travel and Transport

The University has since relocation to the current campus is 2007 implemented travel planning which focuses on encouragement of sustainable and active travel. In additional to a travel plan, annual surveys are conducted to monitor behaviours, attitudes and trends. Historically the University reports around 50% of travel via active and sustainable means. 

Considerable investment has been made in facilities and resources to support active travel and this is continually reviewed with opportunities to access associated funding streams utilised. The University is a Cycle Friendly Campus. 

The key areas for action on behaviour change will focus on daily commuting, business travel and term time relocation. 

The University has no directly owned fleet, however the replacement of fossil fuel vehicles with electric vehicles (EV) has implications for the demands on the campus university electrical network. 

An increase in provision of on-campus EV chargers is planned for commuting and local logistics. This will be designed to take account of development plans to ensure that the infrastructure is installed where any impacts would be avoided or minimised. Due to the potential demands, a smart grid network which diversifies loading is envisaged which would also allow for re-charging and appropriate allocation of associated emissions. 

Case study-Active Travel

Queen Margaret University was an early adopter or reporting on travel and transport emissions to commuting, business travel and student relocation. The university has dedicated sustainable travel team who work to engage staff and students in sustainable travel options and improve facilities and service for those travelling activity or by public transport.


Cycle Connections was set up in 2018 as scheme to offer events, maintenance, training, and advice to the university community, enabling more people to cycle. Since its inception it has seen rates of walking and cycling increase from 17% in 2018 to 26% in 2022. The scheme has been managing party by Cycling Scotland funding to improve services and to effectivity change behaviours, creating lasting shifts away from single occupancy fuelled vehicles.


Initiatives relating to active travel included a Cycle Confidence Module, Cycling Festival Webinars, Led Rides, Active Travel Breakfast, and monthly Dr Bike sessions. The team also partnered with Wellbeing Advisor team to create Wellness walks for staff and students.


Since 2017 the university has successfully secured funding to introduce a fleet of hire bikes, run Dr Bike Sessions, fund staff roles, and funding events. The active travel initiatives at the university are also supporting by the universities Parking Policy, with cardon-based permit charges re-investing in sustainable travel.


The Universities active travel mode share for staff is already above the local and national, however more and will need to be done in order to reduce emissions relating to transport.


Going forward, the active travel team are planning a range of events to promote cycling in enjoyable ways to promote active and sustainable travel among student and staff members and support the shift away from single occupancy vehicular travel. 

Procurement and Circular Economy 


Procurement of good and services represents a significant element of our scope 3 emissions.  

We are committed to carrying out all of their operations in an environmentally, socially, ethically and economically responsible manner. This commitment extends to their procurement and supply chain management, which is a vital part of our and activity.  

In relation to climate change, the supply chain is seen as a key focus for early attention to significantly reduce carbon emissions from our needs for goods and services, wherever these emissions are generated in the supply chain.  

Circular Economy 

We recognise the significant role that the circular economy has in reducing use of primary resources and encouraging reuse. The cycle of reuse, repair, remanufacture and recycle will form part of our procurement process. 

We will continue to support, encourage and develop campus-based initiatives which encourage reuse and recycling of consumer products to reduce consumption. 

We will ensure that disposal routes for end of use and end of life products ensure optimum opportunities for re-use and recycling. 

Within our catering operations we will seek to ensure that produce is sustainably sourced, using seasonal and local produce where practical.