Higher education institutions collaborates for the climate
Hello Karolina Kjellberg, Environmental Director at Uppsala University and head of the University’s participation in the new national initiative: ‘Lärosätenas klimatnätverk’ [Universities’ Climate Network].
What will the Climate Network do?
“One of the Climate Network’s aims is to help higher education institutions fulfil their part of the Paris Agreement. By strengthening collaboration and the exchange of experiences via a shared web platform (slu.se) (in Swedish), we hope to gain new perspectives and ideas on how research and education can contribute to the climate transition and how the climate footprint of the higher education sector can be reduced.”
In what ways is Uppsala University already working to reduce its own climate footprint?
“The University is working in many different ways to reduce its climate footprint, for example replacing air travel with train travel and digital meetings, improving the conditions for cycling to campus, and making our premises more energy efficient. We are also increasing internal reuse of different products to reduce the number of new purchases and are setting requirements for products with a lower climate impact when carrying out procurements. We are also trying to reduce the amount of fossil plastics we use in our activities and, in particular, reduce the amount of fossil plastics that go to waste incineration.”
As stated on the climate network’s website (slu.se) (in Swedish), the expected results of the collaboration include research-based recommendations, guidelines and practices, measurable reductions in carbon emissions from the higher education sector and increased integration of sustainability into the study programmes.
What would you say are the main challenges – both nationally and locally – for the Climate Network?
“The biggest challenge facing both climate initiatives generally and the efforts of the Network is that time is short. We need to quickly reduce climate emissions at Uppsala University and across the entire higher education sector in order to play our part in the necessary reduction in emissions.”
How will employees be informed about the Network’s initiatives?
“Information about the network will be disseminated through the usual channels, such as the Staff Portal, but also through the University’s environmental representative. The first conference, called ‘Den hållbara forskare’ [The Sustainable Researcher], was held on Friday, 7 October. The seminar was recorded and can be viewed until 26 October.”