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University of Gothenburg
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students outside the mail entrance
The School wants to be an international leader in sustainability among business schools, when it comes to integrating sustainability into its operations.
Photo: Carina Gran

Sustainability

Sustainability is a central dimension in the School's strategy 2017-2021, and the School works in various ways to integrate the global sustainability goals in Agenda 2030 into its operations.

The School's mission

To develop knowledge, educate, and foster independent thinking for the advancement of organizations, policy and a sustainable world

The School has the ambition to be among the international leaders in integrating sustainable development perspectives into education, and to produce research that contributes to private as well as public decision-makers gaining the best possible knowledge base for dealing with societal challenges. This often presupposes interdisciplinary approaches. The fact that the School has a  disciplinary breadth and is part of a broad university are therefore important assets.

In research

The School has a long and strong tradition of research related to sustainability in several different disciplines. Today, there is research related to all the global goals in Agenda 2030, and research of particular importance related to several goals. Some examples are environmental economics, marine management and sustainable consumption.

In education

The School's impact on societal development as an academic institution depends on the knowledge, skills, and abilities we provide to our students. It is therefore of great importance that our students are prepared and trained to address sustainability-related problems and to make ethical judgements relevant for their future careers. This is to an increasing degree reflected in our program portfolio, even though there is still room for improvement.

Since 2013, sustainability perspectives have been included in all undergraduate programs at the School, including three mandatory “Sustainability Days” with focus on challenges, responsibilities and solutions. Together with the sustainability elements in the regular courses, this gives the students knowledge and tools to be able to in-depth analyze and handle the major issues related to social, ecological and economic sustainability. The curricula for all programs include learning objectives linked to sustainable development.

The goal is an integration of sustainability into all education at undergraduate and graduate levels, with the ambition to be an internationally leading academic actor within the areas of business, economics and law.

Bachelorprogramme in Environmental Social Science

The Programme in Environmental Social Science started in 2001 and integrates social science and environmental science. It was the first of its kind in Sweden and gives the students broad career opportunities. By studying together with science students, the students gain a broad understanding of environmental issues, while specializing in one of five scientific profiles where environmental economics, environmental planning and sustainable business are provided at the School.

Sustainability Days

Year 1: Challenges
Focuses on sustainability-related challenges from a variety of perspectives.
This day is organized as a conference where topics such as climate change, economic
inequality, antibiotic resistance, migration, human rights, and challenges related to the implementation of the SDGs are discussed.

Year 2: Responsibility
This day addresses ethical, social, economic, and environmental aspects related to themes such as global value chains, social movements, and business ethics. The fashion industry track during this day usually becomes fully booked very quickly.

Year 3: Solutions
This day has a focus on delivering solutions and discussing those with industry, public, and
civil society actors. Getting feedback from corporate executives and public officials is seen as highly motivated and is always much appreciated by students.

Master: Global Transitions
The day provides students with inspiration and awareness concerning the complexity and challenges of a transition toward low carbon economies and more inclusive societies on a global scale.

In collaboration with business and society

The School's ambition that research and education should contribute to a positive development for society at large presupposes an active commitment to contemporary societal development, but also a close collaboration with the surrounding society. Cooperation between partners from different sectors - academic institutions, private companies, public organisations, regulators and civil society - is crucial to building ever more sustainable societies.

The collaboration takes place in many different ways, including in research projects at departments and centers, in education, and in the Partnership Programme. Among other things, the School has developed collaboration with Getinge on sustainable business strategies, with the Västra Götaland region and Getinge on Health Governance and with Volvo Cars on sustainable transport. The School  has also initiated roundtable discussions between leading representatives of companies and organisations and sustainability researchers. Additionally, many individual researchers from the School have been appointed to expert councils and working groups on local, regional, national, and international arenas.

Environment for Development (EfD) is a global network of 13 research centers  established in 2007 with the purpose of increasing the use of environmental economics to reduce poverty and increase sustainability in the Global South. Efd contributes to solve the world’s most pressing environmental and development challenges through policy-relevant research, capacity development and policy engagement. EfD’s research addresses the most important sustainability challenges. These are identified in a close dialogue with decision makers at EfD's centers and through continous learning between countries. EfD works actively to reach policy makers and other stakeholders with the research results and contributes thereby to policy making that promotes poverty alleviation, increased equality and sustainable development.

The network is coordinated by the EfD Global Hub, located at the School of Business, Economics and Law. The organization is financed by external funds.

International collaborations

The School is an active member of a number of international forums, focusing on sustainable development:

Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME)

Global Business School Network (GBSN)

Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI)

Sustainable development is also an important part of the collaboration within AACSB and EFMD, two of the School's accreditations.

The Scool has also been actively involved in developing the Positive Impact Rating (PIR).

 

Role model in UN-supported sustainability initiative

The School has been appointed a member of the international program "PRME Champions 2020-2021" which is organized by the UN-supported initiative Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). For two years, the School will work together with the other members to develop business schools and support initiatives that promote the fulfillment of the UN's global sustainability goals and a positive societal development.

Read more about PRME Champions

Global Cluster leader on SDG 8

The School and the University of Gothenburg has been appointed lead university for Sustainable Development Goal 8 together with eight satellite universities globally, as part of the International Association of Universities (IAU) Cluster on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD).

SDG 8 spans a wide range of issues related to economic growth, resource efficiency, innovation, decent work, job creation, youth employment, and tourism. The ambition of the SDG 8 Initiative is to mobilize academic work and policy interaction in local and global  contexts. The Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development together with Environment for Development (EfD) are the coordinators of the initiative.

 

Sustainable campus

Of course, we must practice what we preach, and work constantly to make our business more sustainable. This applies, for example, to the physical environment - where we have solar panels on the roof - and how we arrange our events.

Our campus has ISO 14001 accreditation, together with the entire University of Gothenburg. This means that there is an environmental policy that continuously drives improvements in our environmental work through time-specific goals and annual inspections of the business.

In the ongoing newbuilding project, the School works for environmentally and energy-efficient solutions. The School also strives to increase the number of installations and functions that meet the dual goals of having a positive environmental impact while showing our footprint and our dependence on natural resources. We also prioritise reuse and reconditioning of furniture before new purchases.

When it comes to purchasing goods and services, and waste management, the School continuously works to minimize the environmental impact, both in daily work and at conferences and other events.

The School works for sustainable and climate-smart investments in its financial assets by continuously reviewing and discussing the conditions for investments with the asset managers.

Organisation

The Council for Sustainable Development is responsible for the integration of sustainability perspectives into the School's operations, and the participation in international networks. The council includes a representative from each department, the director of Environment for Development, the Environmental Coordinator, the Director of Communications, employees within the Partnership Program and at least one student representative. The Deputy Dean of the School is chairman of the council.

The operations are run within three committees:

  • Education
  • Research
  • Collaborations

Contact

Marie Stenseke, Chair, Deputy Dean
marie.stenseke@geography.gu.se
+46 31-786 1389
+46 766-181389

Mattias Sundemo, Environmental Coordinator
mattias.sundemo@handels.gu.se
+46 31-786 15 87
+46 768-97 92 27