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SDU as a sustainable university

Studies show that the conduct of students and staff has a major impact on a university's climate footprint. With around 30,000 students and 4,000 employees, we have good reason to promote climate-friendly conduct at SDU and with our suppliers. From 2020, special green sustainability principles apply to all agreements – canteen operations, procurement and disposal of material equipment. We have already succeeded in extending the life of IT equipment and components in four out of five cases.

Our ambition is to promote a sustainable development in the operation of SDU as an organisation, a workplace and a place of study.

Better waste and resource management

Technical Services currently manage 32 waste fractions “behind the scenes” at SDU, which is not necessarily noticed by employees, students and guests at SDU.

This takes place when Technical Services manages waste from SDU’s canteens that sort food waste; buildings that sort various building materials and SDU IT, which collects and sorts IT scrap, cables, etc.

As of 2020, employees, students and guests will find that from now on, all waste will be sorted into four fractions by the users themselves:

  • bio and catering waste
  • paper, cardboard
  • glass and metal and
  • residual waste.

Bio and catering waste will be used for biogas, residual waste for incineration and glass, metal, paper and cardboard will be recycled. In the long term, a fifth fraction in the form of plastic will be added.



Sustainable procurement

SDU will make a difference and help secure a sustainable transformation of the entire university through our procurement. We must consume wisely.

This means minimal, circular and sustainable. SDU will thus take active social responsibility through the demands we place on our suppliers. The prevailing requirements for compliance with international fundamental rights regarding human and labour rights, environment and production methods etc.

By placing demands on our suppliers, we as a university can positively contribute to the UN’s 17 SDGs and the Danish Climate Change Act (klimalov), both in Denmark and in the countries where goods procured are produced.

SDU is the first university in Denmark to join POGI, the Partnership for Green Public Procurement, which will ensure sustainability of our procurement in the future.




Sustainable canteen operation and catering for meetings

SDU places demands on the canteen lessees for sustainability and a green imprint by tendering out the operation of canteens at SDU’s sites.

For example, focus on a minimal wastage of food, limited use of disposable tableware and environmentally harmful plastic and packaging, as well as a green and sustainably varied supply of food. SDU is also working on reducing food waste after meetings and events.





Green mobility

Transport is a significant factor in the context of our carbon footprint.

The exchange of knowledge with foreign colleagues in the same field of research through networks and conferences is an essential part of a researcher’s work. And as an international university, a multi-campus university and a regional university, we may have greater challenges than others in this area.

Nevertheless, SDU is working on several fronts to reduce transport activities and transform them into more climate and environmentally friendly modes of transport. This is being done, i.a., by replacing the university’s vehicle fleet with electric or hybrid cars, establishing charging points for electric or hybrid cars driven by employees and students, promoting car-pooling and replacing physical meetings with digital meetings.




Renewable energy and reduced energy consumption

Environmentally and energy conscious consumption and operation cover a wide range of on-going and new initiatives. SDU’s electricity, water and heating consumption plays a major role in this and has been a key focus area for a number of years.

SDU has seen a 35% decrease in energy consumption per FTE since 2008, despite the fact that SDU has grown from 2,838 to 3,816 FTEs during the same period and from 189,102 to 294,213 m2. In 2015, DKK 10 million was allocated for implementing measures such as energy optimization of ventilation and heating systems, the establishment of solar cells on flat roofs, replacement of lighting systems and better management of heating as required.

The work in this area continues and is supplemented by putting equipment in standby mode (e.g. computer monitors) and using sensors that set a time limit on the power consumption of equipment and buildings, as well as a focus on energy consumption in laboratories.




Increased biodiversity at SDU’s campuses

SDU discontinued the use of pesticides to control weeds on SDU’s outdoor areas several years ago and is currently working on a zone plan, which will contribute to increased biodiversity.




Healthier workplace and place of study

Sitting in the same position on a chair for several hours a day is detrimental to the body. Although SDU has this research knowledge, many members of staff have job functions where they sit in the same position for several hours a day – and the same applies for many students in relation to teaching and preparation.

SDU will therefore work on getting more movement into the working day in the years to come. This may for example be via walk ‘n’ talk concepts, a rethinking of the workplace itself with more flexible options for changing workstations according to different tasks, new opportunities to move about at the individual workplace, etc.

Solutions that create more physically active learning situations in relation to the students will be worked on. Many are already focused on teaching methods that activate students by incorporating group work – it’s time for the body to participate as well.





Improved gender equality

As part of the work on the SDGs, SDU is intensifying its work on the university’s Gender Equality Initiative. This includes an upgrade of Gender Statistics to follow up on gender balance in regard to recruitment and the filling of posts, and the preparation of local Gender Equality Plans.

The purpose is to ensure that SDU is a diverse workplace with a creative research environment and an inclusive work environment.