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Systematic sustainability work

Lund University strives to be a sustainable organisation and a driving force for sustainable development. As support in this work, there is an environmental management system that provides a systematic way to prioritise, implement and continuously improve our sustainability work.

According to the Ordinance on Environmental Management at Public Authorities (SFS 2009:907) we are obligated to have an environmental management system. This includes Lund University’s entire organisation and is based on the principle of continuous improvement:

  • plan
  • do
  • check
  • act/adjust.


Lund University’s Policy for Sustainable Development states the University’s determination and ambition to be a driving force for sustainable development and to contribute to the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals in the UN’s Agenda 2030. The daily activities at Lund University are to be characterised by the principle “practising what we preach”, working preventively, continuous improvement and compliance with legislation in the area of sustainability. 

The University has adopted a long-term Strategy for Sustainable Development 2019-2026 that is to permeate all the University’s activities and involve all staff members. The aim of the Strategy is to provide a direction and establish a number of visions, but not to point out how implementation is to be carried out. The faculties and other organisational units within the University develop their own specific strategies and plan and conduct their own activities based on the Strategy for Sustainable Development.

The overall visions of the Strategy are:

  • Lund University integrates sustainable development in its education, research, external engagement and organisational development, and the University’s employees are well aware of their roles in this work. 
  • Lund University is involved in local, regional, national and global social arenas in order for scientific knowledge to provide leverage in society’s striving for sustainability, in both the short and long term. 
  • Lund University is a prominent voice in the field of sustainability within research and teaching as well as in public debate and cultural life. 
  • Lund University communicates its sustainability-related work within the organisation and to wider society in ways that make it easy to both reach out and gain access to its activities. 

Lund University’s policy for sustainable development (PDF 33 kB, new tab)

Lund University’s strategy for sustainable development (PDF 510 kB, new tab)

Climate Framework for higher education institutions

Lund University has adopted the Climate framework for higher education institutions (HEIs). The Climate Framework provides a structure for climate strategies with an aim to engage HEIs in Sweden in continuing their contributions to counteract climate change through education, research and external engagement. By 2030, all HEIs that have joined the Climate Framework are to have carried out measures in line with the 1.5-degree goal, which means that our climate-affecting emissions need to be considerably reduced. 

Read more about the Higher Educations’ Climate Network on the SLU website


Environmental and sustainability work within Lund University is to be a part of daily operations and include all organisational units, staff and students. The Vice-Chancellor has ultimate responsibility for the University’s environmental management work. How responsibility is then allocated to staff in management roles is stated in the procedure Responsibilities and Delegation in Environmental and Sustainable Development.

The overall policy documents relevant to the environmental management system are:

According to the Sustainability Plan for Lund University 2020-2026, the areas that Lund University is focusing on in its sustainability work are:

  • education
  • research
  • external engagement
  • a sustainable organisation.

Regarding improvement efforts for a sustainable organisation, work is mainly being carried out in the following areas:

  • HR, work environment and study environment 
  • purchasing and procurement
  • divestment and investment
  • resources, waste and reuse
  • food and conferences
  • travel
  • premises and buildings
  • chemical safety.

According to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the environmental aspects to take into consideration in environmental management work are:

  • human health 
  • biodiversity and protected animal or plant life 
  • land, soil, water, air, climate, countryside, built environment and cultural environment
  • economical use of land, water and the physical environment in general 
  • economical use of materials, raw materials and energy
  • other parts of the environment.

As support in the work towards reaching the goals of the Strategy for Sustainable Development, Lund University has drawn up an overall Sustainability Plan for 2020–2026 that contains goals for first, second and third-cycle education, research, external engagement and management and support activities. It also acts as support for all the faculties and organisational units that are to draw up their own sustainability plans.

Each faculty and corresponding organisation also have a responsibility to draw up their own action plan that describes how the University’s Sustainability Strategy is to be followed. Such an action plan is to establish concrete goals and initiatives for achieving the overall visions of the Sustainability Strategy. The action plan describes the division of responsibility, roles and resources for achieving the visions of the University’s Sustainability Strategy as well as how the plan will be followed up, evaluated and revised. 

Visions for sustainable development according to Lund University’s Strategy for Sustainable Development 2019-2026:

The visions for education and student participation:

  • All students acquire knowledge and understanding of sustainable development and how their programmes relate to this, and thereby contribute expertise in their future roles in society.
  • There is continuing professional development in sustainable development for all employees at Lund University. 
  • The University supports student initiatives in sustainable development and there are opportunities for students to participate in work to achieve the goals of the strategy.

The visions for research:

  • Research of the highest quality creates the basic knowledge about, and innovative solutions to, sustainability-related problems.
  • The University’s researchers are well informed about the relevance of their own research to sustainable development and how their research relates to other fields of research concerning sustainable development.
  • Forms of interdisciplinary and cross-boundary research on sustainable development are well developed which, among other things, entails specially targeted initiatives that bring together research at various faculties.
  • Strategic external engagement with a broad spectrum of stakeholders helps to identify research needs for sustainable development and to produce knowledge that meets these needs.

Visions for external engagement:

  • Lund University generates knowledge that is relevant for sustainable development in collaboration with organisations in society, but also contributes by critically reviewing society’s efforts regarding sustainable development.
  • Researchers at Lund University play a prominent part in sustainability-related local, regional, national and global arenas by compiling knowledge, drawing up research agendas, and as experts.
  • Dynamic and integrating arenas for external engagement with public authorities, industry and civil society are used to jointly contribute to sustainable societal development.
  • Lund University provides resources for academic capacity development in developing countries through partnerships and student and teaching staff exchanges.

The visions for the organisation:

  • Lund University maintains a good, safe, secure and accessible work environment in all respects.
  • Lund University is a resource-efficient organisation, with a minimised climate and environmental impact.
  • Activities at Lund University are based on gender equality, equal opportunities and diversity, and exploit the strengths that this entails.
  • Lund University works for the integration of new arrivals in Sweden and their entry into working life, including academics.


There are a number of procedures and other policy documents to ensure that staff and students are able to make sustainable choices during their time working or studying and that Lund University is to be a sustainable place to work and study. For the overall policy documents relating to the environmental management system, see under the heading Overall management above. 

Read more about procedures regarding waste, hazardous waste and recycling on the Staff Pages:

Read more about procedures regarding chemical safety on the HR website:

Read more about procedures regarding radiation safety on the HR website:

Read more about procedures regarding the work environment on the HR website:

Read more about business travel, for example rail travel in Europe, on the Staff Pages:

Read more about purchasing and procurement on the Staff Pages:

The Environmental Division at LU Estates provides support in systematic sustainability work which includes, among other things, the environmental management system and work on drawing up action plans for sustainable development, as well as matters concerning energy, waste, sustainable purchasing etc.

The Sustainability Forum provides support in matters concerning sustainable development in research, education and external engagement.


The Sustainability Forum regularly communicates the University’s sustainability work via a newsletter and the University’s websites:

You can also subscribe to the LU Estates newsletter on work environment, environment, security, radiation safety, fire safety and chemical safety:

  • Email nyhetsbrevAMS [at] bygg [dot] lu [dot] se (nyhetsbrevAMS[at]bygg[dot]lu[dot]se) if you would like to be added to the mailing list.
  • You can find previous newsletters via the webpage for internal newsletters

Lund University works continuously to develop courses relating to sustainable development for staff and students. As a part of internal environmental work there are, among other things, courses on work environment, chemical safety and fire safety.

Read more about Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals:

For those who want to continue deepening their knowledge of sustainable development, Lund University offers a number of online courses in English on sustainable development:


Regular follow-ups are required to constantly improve our sustainability work and pave the way for the further raising of ambitions and more activities in the coming years. The work on follow-ups is a part of the regular planning of operations in which the activities for the coming year are planned in accordance with Lund University’s sustainability goals.

The revision points for the goals and activities in the Sustainability Plan for Lund University 2020–2026 are 2022, 2024 and 2026. Faculties and corresponding organisations draw up their own procedures for structuring the follow-up of their sustainability plans.

Once a year a management’s review is carried out at the faculties and other organisational units, and twice a year at the administration level. Read more in the procedure Lund University’s Environmental Management System:

Follow-ups are to be carried out annually as a part of the regular work of producing Lund University’s Annual Report, which includes a section on sustainable development. In addition, the Sustainability Forum produces an annual compilation of sustainability work for the previous year.

Environmental work at Lund University is reported annually to the Environmental Protection Agency and Ministry of Education and Research. See the Sustainability, climate and environment page on the Staff Pages for the latest environmental report.

During the winter of 2022/2023 all public authorities also have an assignment from the Government to save energy and report every month on energy consumption and implemented measures to the Environmental Protection Agency. Read more on the Staff Pages about the Government assignment to save energy.


Lund University works actively to integrate an overall approach to sustainable development in all its activities: education, research, external engagement and organisational development. Environmental management work is developed through regular follow-ups and management’s reviews. Good examples of our sustainability work are presented on sites such as the Sustainability Forum website and through the internal network for systematic sustainability work led by LU Estate.

Internal audits of environmental and sustainability work are a key part of an environmental management system and a way to develop the organisation. Section 17 of the Ordinance on Environmental Management at Public Authorities (2009:907) states that public authorities are to carry out annual internal environmental audits to check that relevant environmental rules and other policy documents are being followed in the public authority’s environmental management and environment work. Follow-ups in the area of biosafety and chemical safety are done Work is proceeding on further development of forms for internal audits in the environmental and sustainability area at Lund University, such as sustainability dialogues at management level.

Follow-ups in bio and chemical safety are carried out within the framework of the annual SAM follow-up and for radiation safety within the framework of the management system for radiation safety. Work is in progress to further develop forms of internal audits in the environmental and sustainability area, including sustainability dialogues at management level.

In addition, regular environmental risk assessments are to be caried out to evaluate the organisation’s environmental risks. The same templates are used as for risk assessment in systematic work environment management. There are also risk assessment templates for chemicals in the KLARA chemical management system. 


Claes Nilén
Environmental manager
+46 46 222 41 59
claes [dot] nilen [at] bygg [dot] lu [dot] se

Maria Nilsson
Environmental coordinator
+46 46 222 70 82
maria [dot] nilsson [at] bygg [dot] lu [dot] se

An illustration of the environmental management system’s different parts.
An illustration of the environmental management system’s different parts.