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Universities as role models for sustainability: a case study on implementation of University of Gothenburg climate strategy, results and experiences from 2011 to 2015

Journal article
Authors Eddi Omrcen
Ullika Lundgren
Marianne Dalbro
Published in International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development
Volume 12
Issue 1/2
Pages 156-182
ISSN 1740-8822
Publication year 2018
Published at Centre for Environment and Sustainability
Pages 156-182
Language en
Keywords EMS; environmental management system; climate strategy; living laboratory; interdependent approach
Subject categories Educational Sciences, Environmental Management


This paper undertakes the concept of universities as role models for sustainability, regenerative sustainability and universities as living laboratories through a case study from University of Gothenburg and the implementation of the climate strategy. The climate strategy is a comprehensive university-wide strategy, including collaboration between faculty, administration and management, as well as with external stakeholders. With the support of its environmental management system (EMS), the University of Gothenburg manages climate action with a systematic approach, both in implementation and follow-up. This creates opportunities for technical solutions and social learning processes, and allows the University of Gothenburg to serve as a living laboratory and a role model for sustainability. The climate strategy was initiated 2011 and by the end of 2015 the target to reduce total carbon emissions by 20% was almost reached with a reduction of 18.5% compared with the baseline year 2008. The total energy use was reduced by 19%. These results were achieved even though the university revenues, staff/employees as well as students has increased from the year 2008 to 2015.

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