The University of Bayreuth one of the first in Bavaria to adopt binding sustainability strategy
With today’s decision by the University Council, the University of Bayreuth (UBT) has adopted a binding sustainability strategy. As one of the first universities in Bavaria, it commits to clear, verifiable goals, including resource conservation, greater energy efficiency, and the implementation of sustainability awareness among all members of the campus. The implementation of sustainability in research and teaching will play an important role and is mentioned as a concrete goal.
„Precisely because coronavirus is currently the dominant topic, we wish to send out the message that environmentally friendly behaviour remains a high priority for us,“ explains University President Prof. Dr. Stefan Leible, quoting the preamble to the UBT’s sustainability strategy: „The sustainable development of our society is one of the most important tasks of our time. Universities play a central role in this due to their educational and research mandate. As the University of Bayreuth, we accept this task and are facing up to the challenges associated with it.”
„The University of Bayreuth’s Sustainability Strategy – Our Path to a Green Campus“ was developed over months of work by a wide range of working groups. Students, researchers, lecturers, and administration were all involved in the process. The result is a 30-page paper that describes in concrete terms how the University intends to do more justice to environmental issues.
The most important goals are: To integrate sustainable development issues centrally into teaching and research, to increase knowledge and awareness of sustainability among University staff, to shape sustainable development in the spirit of the Third Mission with society, and to implement and maintain an environmental management system.
Above all, this includes the goal of becoming climate-neutral as far and as quickly as possible. To this end, some very practical measures have been announced:
Introduction of an environmental management system along the lines of the Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)
Measures to reduce resource consumption, to reduce environmentally harmful greenhouse gas emissions and to increase resource efficiency, to sustainably use ecosystem services, and to use renewable energies (e.g. reduction of energy, water and paper consumption, reduction of waste, consideration of regional offers and Fairtrade within the framework of public procurement law, and also – in close coordination with Studentenwerk (Association for Student Affairs) – the expansion of sustainability in canteen operations)
Monitoring and promotion of biodiversity on near-natural and rehabilitated areas over the entire campus
Reduction of the CO2 intensity of the vehicle fleet and incentives to reduce CO2 emissions during business trips
Workshops and information offers for campus employees
Establishing an internal sustainability fund in the form of a cost centre to finance sustainability measures on campus.
Furthermore, „sustainability“ should be more firmly anchored as a principle in research and teaching:
Promote and strengthen cooperation in sustainability research across disciplines and University boundaries.
Increase resource efficiency in laboratories (e.g. life-cycle management of equipment, avoid duplication of equipment)
Make greater use of digital conference rooms
Increase education for sustainable development and anchor „sustainability“ as a topic in as many degree programmes as possible, e.g.: via a subject certificate or Studium Generale
Introduce a supplemental programme in sustainability that is open to all students.
And finally, the University of Bayreuth intends to share this knowledge with the public as part of its „Third Mission“: The University’s educational offering is to be expanded for non-university actors in order to convey theoretical knowledge related to sustainability and to benefit from new ideas from outside the University. Initiatives should be actively networked by the University of Bayreuth as they arise.
In order to implement all of this, the University of Bayreuth is expanding the field of activity of the Vice President for Digitalisation & Innovation to include the area of sustainability and is setting up a corresponding Presidential Commission. In addition, the already existing GreenCampus team will be expanded to include a salaried campus sustainability manager in Central University Administration.
„I am convinced that our sustainability strategy is sending out an important message, and I am confident that we will achieve the binding goal of the Bavarian Climate Protection Act for all universities, namely climate neutrality by 2030,“ summarises President Prof. Dr. Stefan Leible.
University of Bayreuth
Phone: +49 (0) 921 / 55-4767