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There’s a lot of talk about sustainability, but is the University doing anything about it?

The global goals action 13.

After the IPCC report, it’s clear that changes must be made rapidly. A lot of people are wondering whether the University is doing something about it or just talking.

Climate change and sustainability are discussed a lot internationally, nationally and at Lund University. However, it is clear, particularly after the latest IPCC report, that changes must be made rapidly. A lot of people are therefore wondering if the University is just talking, or if something is actually being done.

In fact, there is a lot being done to support work on sustainability in all areas of the University: research, education and the organisation itself.

Within research, new initiatives have been instigated and vacancies have this autumn been announced for twelve doctoral students and ten postdocs. The strategic research areas are also organizing an interesting workshop series on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Within education, many new, exciting courses have been developed at all levels. An interesting example is the interdisciplinary courses developed within the framework of the Agenda 2030 graduate school. In order to enhance and systematises the integration of sustainable development in education Sustainability Forum has employed Terese Thoni as education coordinator.

There is also a lot being done regarding the sustainability of our own organisation. The vice-chancellor has taken a decision to procure an analysis of the University’s climate impact. When we have a clearer picture of our impact on the climate, it will be easier to introduce effective measures to reduce that impact.

Lund University is in the process of developing a sustainability fund. The idea is that the fund will support innovations that can make our activities more sustainable, based on ideas from students and staff. The plan is for the fund to be financed by an internal charge on our sustainability impact.

However, there are some practical aspects to resolve before we reach that point, and the first phase will probably be a charge only on climate impact. This implies that research groups that fly a lot or procure products and services, which have generated a lot of greenhouse has emissions while produced will pay more than groups that travel by train and procure less or more climate smart.

We can all help to reduce our sustainability impact. For example, we need to consider how much we have to travel and how we travel. Choosing the train instead of the plane reduces our climate impact.

/Per Mickwitz

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This text is published in LU News No 4 - 2021