Image by Matthew Smith


Sustainable development is at the forefront of many of Buchanan's recommendations. With issues like climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution becoming increasingly relevant in research and policy, our work in these areas provide a greater insight into moving towards a greener and more circular future.

Democratizing Food Sustainability in Edinburgh

This policy brief seeks to tackle our current disconnect towards sustainable food systems that hinders the societal transformation necessary for a liveable future. Through the lens of democratisation, we examine how Edinburgh can develop a socially just and environmentally sustainable food system predicated on equitable access to and active community participation in our city’s local food networks and initiatives.

The Scottish Just Transition

Scotland has committed to reaching net-zero carbon by 2045. To achieve this goal,
large numbers of green jobs will need to be created. Our vision is a larger and more adaptable Green Jobs Fund, and the tailoring of economic development schemes to specific regional demands, in line with the Just Transition.

SustainLABility: Strategies for Reducing Plastic in our University's Laboratories

The University of Edinburgh's scientific research labs are often overlooked in the reduction of plastic waste on campus; this policy brief evaluates three strategies for improvement, advocating a take-back approach for plastic packaging.

Edinburgh University Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability Strategy Review

The team reviewed the University’s existing policies around social responsibility and sustainability. The review included a comparative study of other British and American universities' and companies' policies. The team highlighted the gaps within Edinburgh University’s policies and the potential for improvement.
In the following semester, the research team was awarded by the Department of Social Responsibility and Sustainability for their work at the SRS Sustainability Awards.

Improving Supply Chains: An Opportunity for Growth at the University of Edinburgh

As part of Buchanan's Summer Research Programme, a team dives into the University’s sustainability plans, how it manages its supply chains and how it works with the local community as an anchor institution. The brief lays out the current policies in place by the SRS department and how the University was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Food for a Wellbeing Economy

How is the cost of food defined? How do you know if the food that is personally 'cheap' for you is not socially and environmentally expensive? This policy proposal focuses on the True Cost Accounting system as a means to a more nutritious, sustainable food security vision that can be foundational for the Scottish wellbeing economy.

10 Big Ideas for Scotland 2025

In 2020, the Buchanan Institute was commissioned by the Scottish Policy Foundation (SPF) to come up with '10 Big Ideas for Scotland in 2025'.
10 young researchers worked together to come up with 10 innovative and unique policy proposals that envision and explore how Scotland can become a better place to live and a leader in innovative policy-making.

SAVOUR: Food Waste Reduction Strategies at University Cafes

While the University of Edinburgh has acknowledged Food waste and sustainability is an issue, in practice there is little done to prevent the waste of food from University sites such as the cafes throughout University owned buildings. These authors set out to fill the gaps in current university policy regarding food waste, outlining the importance of establishing a system of waste tracking across campus.