University of Gothenburg

Environment and Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is an important part of the university’s vision. Here, we describe how the work on the environment and sustainable development affects the activities of the Department of Education and Special Education (IPS).

Climate framework and carbon budget 

The University of Gothenburg has adopted a climate framework initiated by Chalmers and KTH and designed in collaboration with Swedish universities and colleges. The ambition is that we should contribute together to the climate transition, in line with Sweden's national and international commitments. At the department, we measure the climate impact of our activities and compare them to a carbon budget in line with Sweden's national emission goals.

Veggie norm and environmentally conscious purchases 

The purchases that we, as a department, can influence should be characterized by a high level of environmental awareness. For this reason, we have our own policy for environmentally conscious purchases. We have also decided to offer only vegetarian alternatives when the department procures catering. This also applies to conferences and staff meetings organized by the department. We also aim to reduce the number of flights our employees take for work purposes.

Sustainable work life 

We strive in several ways to create conditions for a sustainable work life. The department's policy for a flexible work life gives our employees the opportunity to work remotely for a certain part of their working hours, which facilitates the everyday life for many and reduces the need for transportation to and from work.

Internal development

In the spring of 2023, we are starting a joint competence development program for all IPS employees. This means that at our staff meetings, we will focus on themes related to the environment and sustainability. The purpose is to anchor insights into how we, as a department, can make a difference by working with our own footprint on the climate and the environment. The starting point is in our own activities, i.e., our education, our research, and our commissioned work.


Education and research are the university's most important contribution to sustainable development, and the University of Gothenburg aims to become one of Europe's leading universities in this area. At our department, we continue to work to strengthen awareness of sustainability-related issues in education. We do this partly by systematically working with sustainability labeling of courses where learning objectives can be clearly linked to various sustainability criteria. We also want to encourage student dialogue and be responsive to suggestions made by students.

The Example of the Vocational Teacher Education Program 

A concrete example of how the environment and sustainability are integrated into the content can be found in the Vocational Teacher Education Program's sub-course on Development and Action Research for Vocational Teachers, where students are prepared to take a sustainability perspective on their own teaching. An analysis of the course component is available in the article "Learning for Sustainable Development in Vocational Teacher Education" by Susanne Gustavsson, Ingrid Henning Loeb, and Charlotta Kvarnemo, which is linked below.

Through the Vocational Teacher Education Program, the department also participates in an Erasmus project called the Academy for Sustainable Future Educators (EduSTA) Project, which aims, among other things, to map how sustainable development can be part of vocational education.

The Example of IMER 

Another program that has consciously worked to integrate learning objectives on sustainability into courses is the International Master in Educational Research (IMER) program. The ambition is to integrate a sustainability perspective into educational research throughout the students' entire education. A determined effort has been made to label sustainability on most courses in the program.


IPS has participated for several years in the SIDA project "Research Training Partnership Programme in International and Comparative Education", where sustainability issues on a global level are realized. Several researchers at the department have educated and supervised 17 Ethiopian doctoral students. The project aims to support the development and establishment of an Ethiopian hub for comparative studies at Addis Ababa University. The project also aims to support the university in educating its own doctoral students, strengthening supervisory competencies and thereby the long-term competence supply within and outside the academy, and consequently also within the Ethiopian education system. See also International & Comparative Education PhD Program Addis Ababa.