A student cycling in central of Gothenburg.
Our goal is that by 2024, the University of Gothenburg has strengthened its position as a leading university in sustainable development.
Photo: Alana Da Silva

Sustainability results 2023

The sustainability report is an integral part of the 2023 University of Gothenburg Annual Report. The latest report was published in February 2024. Here, you can find a selection of the results.

A climate-neutral organisation in 2045

The University of Gothenburg as an organisation has a major environmental impact, so we have a great responsibility to develop internal methods for achieving sustainable development. We aim to reduce our carbon emissions in two steps:

  • By 2023 we will have reduced our emissions of CO2 by 25 per cent, compared with 2019.
  • By 2029 emissions will have declined by one-half.

Our long-term goal is to be climate neutral by 2045, which is in line with Sweden’s overall objective adopted by the Swedish Parliament.

In 2023, the university emitted 47.4 kilotons of carbon dioxide, representing a 1 percent increase compared to 2019. The rise is primarily attributed to the Goods category, where emissions have increased with 26 percent since the base year. Additionally, emissions from the categories of Buildings and Facilities, as well as Energy, have seen an increase.

During the pandemic years, carbon dioxide emissions associated with travel decreased dramatically. However, this pandemic-induced effect is fading away, and air travel for business purposes is approaching pre-pandemic levels. Carbon dioxide emissions from long-haul flights increased by over 50 percent between 2022 and 2023. Nevertheless, compared to the base year 2019, there is still an overall reduction in emissions, with a 13 percent decrease in total flight emissions, with short-haul flights contributing the most to this decrease. Opting for train travel over air travel is one way to reduce the climate impact of business trips.

The number of business trips by train increased by 18 percent between 2022 and 2023. Particularly, the number of international train trips has significantly risen in recent years, with the university recording over 400 international train trips in 2023.

What we did in 2023

CIS tool

To measure our carbon emissions, we have developed a digital tool, the Carbon Intelligence System, which displays carbon emissions per organisational unit. T

he tool allows university managers to follow and analyse the carbon emissions of their activities and operations.


The University of Gothenburg has had a system for sustainable labelling of courses and programmes for many years. The labelling is based on criteria reflecting the multidimensional concept of sustainable development. Twenty per cent of courses and nearly twenty-five per cent of programmes at the University of Gothenburg are sustainably labelled.

What we did in 2023

Research and collaboration

The University of Gothenburg seeks to strengthen its role as a leading university in sustainable development. There is a need for increased competence and insight into how to transition to a sustainable society, both nationally and globally. The University’s research has a clear mission to promote this transition through science-based knowledge.

In 2023, 712 scholarly publications were published addressing issues involving sustainable development.

What we did in 2023

Procurement and purchasing

The University’s procurement and purchasing imposes sustainability requirements on products and services. It also requires suppliers to have knowledge about sustainability. To ensure that suppliers can conform with our requirements, university procurement and purchasing coordinators are trained in sustainable development.

In 2023, the university imposed sustainability requirements in 90% of its procurement contracts.

What we did in 2023

Energy and buildings

In 2023, the university's use of electricity and heat amounted to 176 kilowatt-hours per square meter, representing a three percent decrease compared to 2022. Since 2019, energy consumption has decreased by 12 percent.

We did this in 2023

In the autumn of 2022, the university, along with 200 other state agencies, was tasked by the government to implement energy-saving measures due to the strained energy situation in Sweden and Europe.

When the assignment concluded in the spring of 2023, the University of Gothenburg could report a reduced electricity consumption of 1.6 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) from October 2022 to March 2023 compared to the same period the previous year.

This corresponds to ten percent of the electricity consumption within the parts of the university included in the measurement basis. The measures implemented were both property-related, such as changing operating hours for ventilation, and behavior-related, such as turning off lights and closing draughts. Other energy-saving measures that have been implemented include the expansion of solar panels at locations such as the School of Business, Economics and Law and the Tjärnö Marine Laboratory, as well as the switch to LED lighting.

Waste and recycling

In 2023, the university's waste amounted to 1020 tons, representing a ten percent increase compared to 2022. The proportion of waste reused, recycled, or composted is 33 percent, which is a decrease since 2022.

What we did in 2023

An initiative to promote reuse is that the University of Gothenburg has signed a cooperation agreement with the City of Gothenburg regarding the reuse service called Tage.

The service means that furniture no longer needed by one operation can find a new owner either within the university or within the city.

The goal of reusing furniture and furnishings is to reduce the university's carbon footprint and promote economic sustainability.

Until the university's internal reuse service is implemented, work on reuse is ongoing within the university in other ways. During the relocation of the Faculty of Science to the newly built Natrium building, a large amount of furniture, laboratory equipment, and other furnishings were transferred to the marine field stations at Tjärnö and Kristineberg.

Methodological work for sustainable development

The University of Gothenburg is certified according to ISO 14001, the International Standard for Environmental Management Systems. This means that the University is constantly striving to improve operations so it can reduce negative environmental impact and to expand our positive impact on sustainable development through education, research and collaboration.

Sustainable development has a prominent place in the University’s vision. Sustainable development is one of six focus areas aimed at strengthening the University of Gothenburg as a leading university in sustainable development. This ambition takes concrete form in strategies and operational plans at both the university-wide and faculty levels. Sustainable development is followed up qualitatively in the faculties’ operational dialogues and annual follow-up reports and quantitatively through indicators within the framework of the environmental management system and the climate framework. University Management receives a comprehensive overview of work with the environmental management system twice a year.

Reporting of the University’s sustainability efforts

The sustainability report is an integral part of the 2023 University of Gothenburg Annual Report. The sustainability report is issued annually, and the results are presented in a consistent way from year to year to the extent possible. Its own statistics and statistics from suppliers and contractors hired by the University generate the measurement data.

The University of Gothenburg reports the results of internal environmental management to the Ministry of Education and Research and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency in accordance with the Ordinance (2009:907) on Environmental Management in Public Authorities and the Ordinance (2014:480) on the Purchasing of Energy-Efficient Goods, Services and Buildings by Public Authorities.