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University of Gothenburg's climate strategy won prize


University of Gothenburg has won an international award for its climate strategy. The jury highlighted the strategy as a model for other universities that want to achieve change on organizational and behavioral level.

Each year Network International Sustainable Campus Network, ISCN, awards to four universities in categories: building, campus, integration, and student leadership. Some 50 universities around the world are included in ISCN whose goal is to incorporate sustainability into teaching, research and campus operations. By exchanging experiences the universities will contribute to each other's sustainability efforts.

At this years ISCN conference, organized by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, there was extra festive for the University of Gothenburg.

Environmental Manager Eddi Omrcen was greeted by cheers when it was announced that the University of Gothenburg was one of the four award winners.

It was with great pride that I received the award in the category of campus, says Eddi Omrcen. Last year, ouruniversity got the building price and it is the first time an institution wins award twice and two years in a row. Last year the rebuilding of the Laboratory of Experimental Biomedicine, EBM, was praised for major environmental benefits and work environment improvements.

The day after the award ceremony Eddi Omrcen held a talk about the University of Gothenburg's climate strategy for the conference participants.

– Many wanted to know how we have organized the work and how we succeed in realizing and achieving our goals. I immediately received several requests for study visits from colleagues who want to see more of our sustainability efforts.

What does it mean for the University of Gothenburg to get this award?
– It is an international recognition for the strategic and systematic climate work that the university does – recognition for researchers, students, teachers and administrative staff who realize the climate strategy, the goals and aspirations. The award shows that the University of Gothenburg can be, and already is, a role model in the global arena. I hope we can continue to develop our work through international collaboration. Many of the leading universities are working very actively to reduce their carbon footprint, such as Harvard, MIT, UBC in Vancouver and NUS in Singapore, says Eddi Omrcen. 

ISCN Award Excellence in Campus – the prize panel's motivation:
“There are many examples where colleges and universities have developed Climate Strategies or Action Plans. What sets Gothenburg’s initiative apart is the integration of their plan with the management systems, organizational structures and behavioral change initiatives required to make these innovations truly sustainable in their own right. At the University of Gothenburg they have found that balance, and this award is intended to acknowledge that achievement. From their first recognition that this was something that needed to happen, to the engagement of a wide variety of stakeholders, to the integration of the plan with the academic mission of the institution, to bringing the local community into the planning and actions, the University of Gothenburg has shown the holistic thinking required of a campus that is well along the sustainability journey. This is what we are looking for in a sustainable campus.”

This year's Laureates have clearly demonstrated the ingenuity of its sustainability efforts, according to the jury.

The other three winners of the Sustainable Campus Excellence Awards were:

  • Shandong Jiaotong University, China – Excellence in Building
  • University of Washington, USA – Excellence in Integration:
  • University of Exeter, United Kingdom – Excellence in Student Leadership