Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences is introducing stricter environmental requirements

A sharp decrease in air travel is one of five new measures to be implemented at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in a bid to reduce the university’s environmental impact.

All activities at SLU involve creating and sharing knowledge about sustainable systems and responsible use of natural resources, and so the university has now taken a further step in its environmental work.

“We want to reduce our environmental impact in line with the Paris Agreement, while pursuing world-class activities. This is not always easy and can result in many conflicting objectives. Consequently, we have now taken some progressive decisions,” says Maria Knutson Wedel.

The new decisions affect five areas. They are environmental objectives for education, environmental monitoring and assessment, emissions from business travel, energy production and savings, and guidelines for food purchases. Furthermore, the objectives tie in with SLU’s new strategy in which sustainability is one of three focal points.

“We have created an action plan that gives us a concrete to-do list that outlines who will do what, the steps we can take to ensure our infrastructure supports working life with less air travel, how our culture can promote this, and finally, what actions we need to take if we still have to fly,” says SLU’s Environmental Manager Johanna Sennmark. However, this is not so easy.

Business travel

  • By 2025, SLU will have reduced its total fossil-fuel emissions from air travel by 60 per cent compared to 2019 per full-time equivalent. This could be the equivalent of a 90 per cent reduction in domestic flights and 50 per cent reduction in international flights.

Education

  • Integrate sustainable development into all programmes (100 per cent) by 2025.
  • By 2025, course evaluation reports should score an average of at least 3.5 (of a possible 5.0) in response to questions regarding the extent to which sustainability has been integrated into education.

Environmental monitoring and assessment

  • One of SLU’s general environmental objectives is to increase the amount of data generated through SLU’s environmental monitoring and assessment used by national decision makers, public authorities, researchers and the general public.
  • Data must be accessible, usable and quality controlled and ensure security-related integrity.
  • In 2015, SLU implemented an environmental monitoring and assessment objective. In conjunction with the extension of the objective, the rate of compliance will also be increased from 80 to 90 per cent.

Source: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

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European Higher Education Organization is a public organization carrying out academic, educational and information activities on higher education in Europe.

The EHEO general plan stresses that:

  • Higher education systems require adequate funding and, as an investment in economic growth, public spending in higher education should be protected.
  • The challenges faced by higher education require more flexible governance and funding systems, which balance greater autonomy for education institutions with accountability to stakeholders.

Thus, EHEO plans:

  • improve academic and scientific interaction of universities;
  • protect the interests of universities;
  • interact more closely with public authorities of European countries;
  • popularize European higher education in the world;
  • develop academic mobility;
  • seek funding for European universities.