skip to content

Sustainability at the University

As university headship, we share the scientifically proven view that the action taken so far to curb human-made global warming and to manage its consequences is far from sufficient.

As one of the largest institutions and employers in Cologne, we are making campus operations and campus life more sustainable by implementing many actions. We measure our carbon footprint and work on comprehensive and continuous monitoring to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. At the same time, we are aware that we will have to intensify these efforts significantly in the future. There is still a lot to do before we reach our goal of climate neutrality by 2035 at the latest.

Scientific findings, including research results from our University, are the basis for fact-based analysis of climate change and for research-based development of new, further measures to mitigate it.

Our goal is to make the research findings even more clearly accessible both in teaching and in dialogue with society by combining research, teaching, and transfer. We have defined sustainability competencies as one of our quality goals in teaching and studying. In doing so, we have made a commitment to establish further teaching and learning opportunities on a wide range of sustainability topics in all semesters and Faculties, and to expand existing offers. In addition to the established degree programmes, we will soon be creating new modules with teaching and learning opportunities for students from all Faculties, which can also lead to a professional certificate.

Furthermore, the University of Cologne has decided to establish a sustainability office as a space for questions, ideas, suggestions, and discourse. It will combine the various offers in research, teaching, and campus life and make them visible and accessible.

In terms of contributing to the strategy development at the University, the issue of sustainability is a good example of how student concerns are being heard. This very process has been shaped and developed in exchange with our students. All members of the University of Cologne, especially our students, are invited to further participate in and contribute to the process. Students are encouraged to use the possibilities of student self-administration provided by the student union (AStA), student associations and specialist groups, student initiatives and university groups, as well as our information portal and the contact persons to contribute their questions, ideas, and demands.
You can see our actions around climate neutrality, sustainability, and energy as well as contact options on the website "Nachhaltigkeit".

Professor Dr. Axel Freimuth
Rector of the University of Cologne


The University of Cologne publishes Climate Declaration

Further information (Ger.)

First Sustainability Forum – Save the Date: 9 February 2023 (Ger.)

Further information (Ger.)

Probing the cultural dimensions of climate change

The German Research Foundation (DFG) and the British Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) are funding a joint interdisciplinary project among researchers from Germany and the United Kingdom for three years with a total of around 750,000 euros

Further information (Ger.)



Did you know that…

Adam Polczyk

It is important to us to make everyone more aware of the activities related to sustainability.

Adam Polczyk, Audio and Visual Media
Lukas Giesbert

Student initiatives can shape sustainability contexts through valuable perspectives. It is up to us to shape this process.

Lukas Giesbert, Resolution Climate Justice, Students for Future

Please contact us!

We welcome tips, are happy to answer questions and provide further information, including research and teaching: