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Thomas’ blog on SDG

Becoming a Sustainable University

How far are we exactly in our effort towards becoming a Sustainable University?

By Thomas Buchvald Vind, 6/26/2020

In the spring of 2019, SDU began to focus in earnest on the UN's sustainable development goals. At the same time, we inevitably realised that making our research expertise available to the surrounding community would not suffice. In the nature of things, we also had to take our own medicine and make the University sustainable as a whole.

In this regard, both our staff and students play a role: As an organisation, a workplace and a place of study, we must also live up to the SDGs. We need to be a greener, healthier and more diverse SDU. A little more than a year has passed, so please allow me to attempt to provide a brief status of reasonably concrete and practical nature on the projects which are furthest ahead right now.

Every year, SDU generates approx. 939 tonnes of waste. Therefore, it is only natural to focus on better waste sorting and a higher degree of recycling. SDU has been supplied with new waste stations to be used for sorting into four main groups, and the first ones have already been set up. In the future, bio and food waste will be used for biogas; residual waste will be incinerated and glass, metal, paper and cardboard will be recycled. A fifth main group will be added before long: plastic. We already recycle 55% of all IT equipment. Of the remaining 45%, almost 100% of the materials and components are recycled.

SDU is also working on greener and less transportation. Among other things, this is being achieved by replacing the University's car fleet with electric or hybrid cars, setting up charging stations for employees’ and students’ electric or hybrid cars, promoting car pooling and holding meetings online instead of in person.

In early 2020, SDU replaced all of its printers. Instead of 276 printers, we now have 140, which has reduced our printers’ energy consumption/costs by 80% and their carbon footprint by 79%.

In addition, reduced energy consumption and more renewable energy, increased biodiversity on SDU's properties, better equality of opportunity, more physical mobility for employees, more eco-friendly laboratories and sustainable construction are active projects which are constantly evolving.

One very important area in which SDU is currently making final and decisive decisions is the future sustainable cafeteria operations at the University.

We have stipulated certain requirements for the operation of cafeterias on SDU's premises as well as requirements for cafeteria leaseholders in terms of sustainability and a green footprint. This means, for example, focusing on minimal food waste, limited use of disposable service and environmentally harmful plastics and packaging, as well as a green, sustainable and varied choice of food. SDU is also working to reduce food waste after meetings and events.

SDU's cafeterias must promote sustainability and organic principles in every way. This also means minimising packaging and waste, source sorting and reducing the use of disposable tableware to increase the use of multi-use tableware and recyclable materials, etc., as well as providing documentation and visibility of data on this.

We must reduce food waste and document it, and quarterly ecology percentage documentation must be provided. SDU wants at least 60% of the food served in its cafeterias to be organic.

The invitation to tender for SDU's cafeteria operations is currently in process and will be concluded by the end of this month.


Editing was completed: 26.06.2020