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The sustainability strategy of the University of Cologne

Sustainability in terms of environment and social matters is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Climate change, biodiversity loss, environmental pollution, food insecurity and resource depletion threaten the welfare of societies around the world and intensify social disparities. Sustainability is therefore one of the major topics that will shape future research, education and innovations. That is why it concerns the University’s strategic development at various levels.

The University of Cologne’s understanding of sustainability

The importance of the topic ‘climate change and its consequences’ is both of outstanding and overarching significance in all fields of action at the UoC. At the same time, the sustainability strategy should not focus solely on greenhouse gas emissions, but should be based on a comprehensive understanding of sustainability in many dimensions and topics (ecology, economy and social issues) in accordance with the wide range of disciplines and the various Faculties of the UoC. The sustainability definition and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations serve, among other things, as a framework for guidance. Thus, development is sustainable if it meets the needs of the present without restricting the possibilities of future generations to meet their respective needs.

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In the sense of a ‘whole institution approach’, the University of Cologne commits to sustainability as a guiding principle in its central performance dimensions of research, teaching, transfer and also in organization and operations on campus. Relevant goals with specific and overarching measures are summarized in the holistic sustainability strategy of the UoC.

Fields of action, goals and measures

Sustainability in research

Following the UoC’s mission statement, excellent research should contribute to a sustainable lifestyle and research in the fields of action of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be expanded.
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Sustainability in teaching and learning

Students and learners should be offered a wide range of opportunities to integrate sustainable education into their studies and to acquire sustainability competencies.
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Sustainability in commitment & transfer

The UoC wants to make the wide range of knowledge accessible to society and cooperate to find solutions for the major challenges of our time through innovation and transfer.
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Sustainability in organization & operations

As a university, the UoC is aware of its social responsibility and aims to shape the future positively through a sustainable, climate-neutral and liveable campus.
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Governance for sustainability

In order to integrate sustainability into its overall strategy, the Rectorate has created a governance structure that will accompany the transformation process and coordinate numerous initiatives.
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