Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh places sustainability principles at the heart of all its activities. At RBGE, we have been developing an environmental management system (EMS) and actively running five environmental working groups since 2007. We also have 20 'Area Champions' across all four sites who give information to staff in their area and ensure that waste is recycled and lights are switched off.
We have taken action over the last three years to become more systematic in the way we address the environmental impacts of our activities by adopting an environmental management systems approach modelled on the international standard ISO 14001. This means that we have developed a comprehensive, high-level Environmental Policy for the whole organisation, have identified our significant environmental impacts and have set objectives and targets to reduce these.
We are also taking seriously the growing demand being placed on non-departmental government bodies by the Scottish Government and its Greening Government strategy. The public sector is expected to play a leading role in improving its environmental performance and it is assumed that agencies like RBGE will be in the forefront. We are proud to have recycling bins for visitors to use throughout the Edinburgh garden. Since early 2011 we have been working with Keep Scotland Beautiful to improve our recycling provision and provide guidance for other organisations wishing to do the same.
Our first annual Environmental Report, published in June 2008, summarises our progress in reducing the environmental impact of our operations.
Since then our annual environmental reports have grown in size along with our activities and are published with full colour images. The most recent is the Environmental Report 2011/12 which gives details of news, staff activities, our carbon footprint and the progress of the Group targets.
We first began to gather data on our carbon footprint when we joined the Carbon Management programme run by the Carbon Trust As a part of the Programme we produced a Carbon Management Plan which gives details of the target to reduce our emissions – 13% by 2015 – and carbon saving projects which we hope will achieve this.
In late 2008 a group of staff members from across the organisation wrote our Sustainable Development Policy. This policy highlights our aims with respect to the impacts that the RBGE activities have on the economic, social and natural environment.
The Policy resonates with three of the five Scottish Government Strategic Objectives to create a Scotland which is Smarter, Safer & Stronger, and Greener.