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Alliance of Sustainable Universities in Austria

The Alliance of Sustainable Universities in Austria was founded in 2012 as an informal network of universities that aims at promoting sustainability issues in Austrian universities and thus to contribute to a more sustainable society. Currently eleven Austrian universities are members of the network:

  • BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Vienna)
  • Karl-Franzens-University of Graz
  • Graz University of Technology
  • Medical University of Graz
  • University of Music and Performing Arts Graz
  • Vienna University of Economics and Business
  • Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt
  • University of Salzburg
  • University of Innsbruck
  • Danube University Krems
  • University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna

Through its common appearance, the Alliance strengthens sustainability issues and provides added motivation to its members – particularly those who are/feel responsible to promote issues of sustainability within their universities – to integrate sustainability at their institutions and adds support to their efforts.

The main objectives of the alliance are to exchange good and best practice-experiences and to start joint activities in the fields of

  • research,
  • education,
  • operations,
  • society/knowledge transfer, as well as
  • identity.

On a superordinate level, it aims more generally at anchoring sustainability issues at universities and thus to contribute to a sustainable society.

A main success of the Alliance was that each participating university committed itself to developing a sustainability strategy. This aim was defined in the performance agreements for 2013-2015 that each university negotiates with the Austrian ministry for science, research and economy. These strategies must include specific objectives and measures to promote sustainability within research, education and operations. A working group of the Alliance also elaborated a handbook for the development of sustainability concepts at universities (German only).

Working Groups

Further working groups work on various issues related to sustainability at universities:

  • CO2 Friendly Universities: tackles the issue of carbon intensity of universities. Starting from a project dealing with „Climate Friendly Climate Research“ the working group developed a standard for CO2 accounting of Universities.
  • Sustainable Mobility: builds upon experiences at the Universities in Graz which are based upon a research driven concept including four phases to achieve sustainable mobility. The aim ist to collect and spread good practice examples.
  • Education for Sustainable Development (ESD): The ESD working group started in 2015 and deals with good practice exchange, competence development of HE-reseachers, enhancing visibility of ESD at universities, but also internationalisation.
  • Sustainable Procurement: guidelines and workshops for sustainable procurement
  • Sustainability Entrepreneurship. information exchange and joint teaching activities.
  • Sustainability Strategy: development of strategies at each Alliance-university; development of a handbook for the development of sustainability strategies at universities.
  • Environmental management: starting / extending EMAS, the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme that aims at improving environmental performance of companies and organisations, at five participating universities

Contact

Alliance of Sustainable Universities in Austria

Contact information for representatives (AnsprechpartnerInnen) of the member universities can be found here.

For general information please contact:
Lisa Bohunovsky
+43 (0)1/47654 99115
+43 (0)664 / 885 86 485
kontakt@nachhaltigeuniversitaeten.at

Publication:

Lisa BOHUNOVSKY, Friedrich M. ZIMMERMANN, Thomas WEIGER, Fred LUKS, Thomas LINDENTHAL and Helga KROMP-KOLB (2014). Sustainable Universities in Austria. Building Alliances and Clarifying the Concept. Paper presented at the 20th Annual International Sustainable Development Research Conference Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, June 18-20, 2014