The University will be climate-neutral by 2045, according to the new Environmental Plan for 2022–2024. Photo: Getty images.2022-12-14
Measurable targets in new Environmental Plan
The University has a new Environmental Plan. The ambition is for the University to be climate-neutral by 2045. An intermediate goal is to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
The Vice-Chancellor has approved a new Environmental Plan for the University for 2022–2024. The new Environmental Plan centres around a long-term goal for the University: “to at least halve the total emissions of greenhouse gases caused by the University’s activities by 2030,” compared with a base year of 2019. After 2030, the plan envisages a gradual reduction of emissions to achieve climate-neutral status by 2045.
Activities and new working procedures
The new Environmental Plan is based on the inventory of the University’s climate footprint for 2019 that was conducted earlier. The climate inventory reveals that the three largest sources of emissions are business travel, buildings and purchases of goods. The goals and activities in the Environmental Plan are linked to the three major sources of emissions.
The Environmental Plan also contains activities aimed at developing the University’s working procedures for environmental and climate action. Important areas include involving the disciplinary domains in the further development of environmental and climate action, disseminating and building on good practice, and developing the University’s environmental representatives organisation.
Concrete measures in coming years
The Environmental Plan now adopted covers a two-year period until the end of 2024. The plan describes long-term strategies for achieving the goals along with short-term activities and measures to begin with in the next few years (see the fact box below). The activities are divided into University-wide measures and measures at department level or equivalent.
The intention is to adopt new environmental plans with new activities on an ongoing basis. The plan notes that “The University assumes that new knowledge, new behaviours, new habits and further progress in certain areas will help us to achieve our long-term goals.”
Environmental Plan 2022–2024 in brief
The Environmental Plan contains three long-term strategies for reduced environmental and climate impact from business travel:
- Reduce business travel by air.
- Improve opportunities for business travel by rail.
- Increase use of digital tools for meetings and conferences.
The goal up to 2024 is to reduce the climate impact of business travel by 30 per cent per annual full-time equivalent employee compared with 2019. The plan presents several activities for 2022–2024, including:
- Identify activities at University-wide level to reduce the climate impact of business travel and student travel financed by the University.
- Develop University-wide conditions for increased use of digital meeting platforms.
- Draw up strategies at department level for reducing the climate footprint of the department’s business travel.
The Environmental Plan contains three long-term strategies for reducing the environmental and climate impact of its buildings:
- Adapt existing premises when needs change for greater efficiency.
- Prioritise use of existing premises rather than new construction.
- Close control of material flows in operations, from purchased goods to material disposed of and waste.
The goal up to 2024 is to reduce energy use by 10 per cent compared with 2019. Some activities in 2022–2024 that will contribute achieving this goal are:
- Document energy use at department level (other than building-related energy use) and draw up a strategy/measures for reduced consumption.
- Develop University-wide energy efficiency efforts, together with the University’s landlords.
- Develop systems support at University-wide level that provides a visual overview and facility for booking available teaching premises and study places online.
The Environmental Plan contains three long-term strategies aimed at reducing the environmental and climate impact of its purchases of goods and services:
- Environmental and climate criteria will be set and evaluated in all procurements where possible.
- Dialogue with the University’s suppliers on reduced environmental and climate impact.
- Strategy for sustainable use of purchased goods.
The goal up to 2024 is to set specific measurable targets for groups of products where this is deemed appropriate. The activities planned to achieve this goal in 2022–2024 include the following:
- Take stock of departments’ purchasing patterns and introduce strategies for sustainable use of purchased goods.
- Draw up public procurement guidelines for addressing environmental and climate impact in accordance with the goals in the Environmental Plan.
- Develop the purchasing process at University-wide level to steer towards environmentally and climate-sound products and services.
- Environmental Plan 2022–2024
- The most emissions come from air travel (news item, 28 October 2021).
- Higher education institutions collaborate for the climate (news item, 24 October 2022)
- Public authorities to save electricity (news item, 27 September 2022)
- More solar cells on the way (news item, 19 October 2022)
- Lower electricity consumption today thanks to previous investments (news item, 16 November 2022)
- Tips for minimising energy consumption by computers (news item, 28 November 2022)