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 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.The Sustainable Development Policy highlights our aims with respect to the impacts that the RBGE activities have on the economic, social and natural environment. We have developed a Sustainable Procurement Action Plan in line with Scottish Government strategies which guides our procurement choices.
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.
It is important to encourage our many visitors to consider the environment as well as our staff, students and volunteers, and three of the four gardens have the Green Tourism Scheme gold or silver awards. These awards reflect our consideration for the environment not only in managing the visitor facilities and catering, we were among the first public attraction to provide recycling bins for visitors, but also looking after the gardens as a whole and pursuing our research and conservation work. Each year our Environmental Management Groups set targets which help to reduce this impact.
Our latest annual Environmental Report summarises our progress in reducing the environmental impact of our operations.
We also produce a Sustainability Report each year which provides details of our energy, travel, waste and water impacts. This year our carbon footprint increased by 20% due to changes in the carbon conversion factors and increased accuracy of our recording mechanisms.
The Policy resonates with three of the five Scottish Government Strategic Objectives to create a Scotland which is Smarter, Safer & Stronger, and Greener.