Erasmus University Rotterdam raises the bar in sustainability ambitions

31 May 2022 | Network Updates | Update from Erasmus University Rotterdam
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

Our goal is to embed sustainability in everything we do, make it part of our very DNA. We feel that as university we have a societal responsibility to contribute to a sustainable world through research, education and operations. We outlined our ambitions regarding sustainability in 2019 and are fleshing these out with more concrete plans and activities. The key activities and results of these are presented in this 2021 progress reportOpens external. With inspiring examples and lots of clickable links, topics are made practical and wide-ranging. Ellen van Schoten, vice-president of the Executive Board, about the report: “It provides a great overview and many links to more information. It shows what the EUR does to become sustainable as a university: in our core business, research and education, and in how we manage the campus. It gives inspiring examples that help overcome the challenges we face.”

Education for sustainability

We want to prepare our students to tackle sustainability challenges in their future careers. This is why we’ve chosen to embed the concepts of sustainability and transformation across our entire portfolio of academic disciplines. But the story does not end there, as students and faculty staff alike will need the university’s support in ensuring the new educational reality feels welcome, self-evident and easy to operate within, and said support must also reflect our values. Read more about our current sustainability efforts in educationOpens external, as well as last year’s highlights and what’s on the horizon in 2022.

Research as an accelerator to sustainability

Sustainability research at EUR is a collective effort by researchers from every faculty and discipline. The studies and projects run by these academics cover a wide variety of subjects relating to sustainability, ranging from more sustainable forms of production and consumption to the perception of global warming and the sustainability of various sectors, all of which play a part in helping us achieve our strategic goals. Take a look at the overview of our sustainability research initiativesOpens external, accompanied by notable highlights and plans for coming year.

Sustainability as a prerequisite

EUR has ambitions to become one of most sustainable campuses in the country, and operations have a key role to play in achieving this. EUR aims to be carbon neutral by 2024. To achieve this goal, we are implementing sustainable policies and measures in the operational areas that emit CO2. As we also seek to set an example for the larger community, we became signatories to the Rotterdam Climate Agreement (Rotterdams Klimaatakkoord) and the SDG Charter back in 2019. We proudly present our operation-related effortsOpens external and activities regarding sustainability, as well as our main achievements and some highlights of our plans for 2022.

Diversity and Inclusion are part of our sustainability goals

We are keen to ensure that our sustainability program includes social aspects as fairness and equality, in reflection of our commitment to SDG 10: reduce inequalities. It’s why we’ve made Diversity and InclusionOpens external priority at EUR. Nobody should be left out , and we celebrate everyone in our achievements. Get inspired by the D&I initiatives promoted in 2021, their outcomes, and some inspiring stories from the EUR community.

Working on sustainability, engaged with society

The role of universities has evolved over time. These days, academics are expected to help find solutions to emerging societal challenges. Operational activities are no longer just about ensuring a university’s continued functioning but must now help improve the quality of life of its community while protecting the environment. Education, research and operations have therefore become complementary, connected by the shared goal of sustainability for the benefit of society. Get acknowledged with the actors involved in sustainability effortsOpens external at EUR, and the initiatives promoted on its behalf in 2021.

Outlook for 2022

Our objective is to continue embedding sustainabilityOpens external in our educational and research activities, as well as in our partnerships and operations and across the EUR community. In fact, we will be stepping up our efforts in these areas in accordance with the level of urgency revealed by recent developments, such as COVID-19, rising energy prices and the increasingly visible effects of climate change. 

Mariecke van der Glas, Program Manager Sustainability: “A major project we work on in 2022 is the ‘energy roadmap’ which will help us to become energy efficient and reduce our carbon footprint even more.”

The road to sustainability needs you too!

We invite all Erasmians to get involved: from here on in, let us all stick to making sustainable choices with respect to our studies, teaching, what we eat, how we get about and what we buy, both in our personal lives and on campus! If you have any suggestions for future editions, please contact us at [email protected].

This article was first published on 27 May by Erasmus University Rotterdam.

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