Norwegian version of this page

Consultation responses and individual input to UiO's climate and environmental strategy

In the autumn of 2021 students and staff at UiO could provide input to the upcoming climate and environmental strategy. A consultation was also conducted at the university's faculties and units with a deadline of 8 October. Employees and students could submit individual input via the online form by 1 October. 


Read the submitted inputs on the Norwegian version of this page

Draft for new climate and environmental strategy

Download pdf-version.

Introduction

"UiO shall lead the way in environmental work, both nationally and internationally,
and act as a role model for other institutions” – UiO's Strategy 2030

The quote is taken from UiO's Strategy 2030 and sets a high ambition for the university. Nationally, other universities have taken a leading role in efforts to promote sustainable development and market themselves with strong commitments to the climate and sustainability. With the exception of individual environments, the status as of today is unfortunately that we at UiO are neither world leaders nor distinguished as role models. In an international context, many universities are far ahead as drivers of sustainable development, often at dedicated centres. UiO was an early adopter when it established the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM), and it has many good activities related to climate, the environment and sustainability, with Klimahuset as the latest example. With some new measures, while at the same time strengthening and coordinating existing initiatives, UiO will have great potential to become a clear voice, at the cutting edge both nationally and internationally. A key premise is that the work on climate, the environment and sustainability will be a collective boost, with students, employees and the organisation all pulling the university in the same positive direction.

Climate change, nature loss and social inequality are major global challenges, where the university's many disciplines can and must play an important role in finding solutions. Half of the youth cohorts are now at university, the students want to be drivers of change and call for educations that provide knowledge and skills that enable the necessary sustainable restructuring. This expertise is increasingly being demanded by both the public and private sectors.

There is also a national obligation and expectation that the higher education sector will take responsibility. This follows from the purpose clause of the new University and University College Act, which states that "The purpose of universities and university colleges is to ... d) contribute to environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development”. This is justified in the proposed act by stating that the higher education sector is a “key player" and important factor in solving societal challenges. Society must have knowledge in order to make the right choices so that we can maintain prosperity and welfare, care for a globe that is being overburdened and cherish core values such as freedom and democracy" (Proposition 111 L (2020–2021), Amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act, the Student Financial Aid Act, the Tertiary Vocational. Education Act and the Professional Qualifications Act, etc., section 2.3.5.1. (English version not updated online per 16 August 2021).

The time is therefore ripe for UiO to adopt a coordinated and clear role that is based on the full breadth of UiO's academic advantages. The global climate and environmental challenges are complex, and they will not be solved by individual disciplines alone. Our efforts are therefore entirely dependent on us succeeding in facilitating interdisciplinarity and establishing robust, cross-cutting structures in the organisation that allow us room for pioneering research, creative dialogue and innovative solutions. Interdisciplinary structures can be limited within the faculty (across departments), or they can take the form of larger centre initiatives that can in principle be represented by all faculties. Specifically, an Oslo Sustainability Centre is proposed, inspired by the Stockholm Resilience Centre and similar centres that have had a major impact both internally and externally.

We are facing crucial sustainability challenges, and UiO must have the ambition to: 

  1. educate new generations to be drivers of sustainable development
  2. develop knowledge and expertise for sustainable restructuring
  3. contribute to active participation in public debate and in society
  4. develop a green and sustainable campus    

About the strategy

UiO's climate and environmental strategy is based on a research-based understanding of sustainable development and on up-to-date knowledge of the planetary boundaries. Using this as a framework for climate and environmental work does not mean that static and exact limits are defined for how much of each natural resource can be exploited. On the contrary, it is about establishing safety margins based on complex limits that are integrated into processes at both regional and global levels, and which underline the importance of the precautionary principle of environmental law. 
The concept of planetary boundaries only set the external framework for climate and environmental work. The major challenge of our time is how we can secure the social livelihoods of people all over the world, both now and in the future, while keeping within the planetary boundaries and safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystem services. The goal of a safe and fair room for manoeuvre for humanity is summed up by Melissa Leach, Kate Raworth and Johan Rockström (World Social Science Report 2013: Navigating pathways in the safe and just space for humanity - STEPS Centre, steps-centre.org). The framework forms a platform for open, inclusive and research-based discussions. The fundamental and existential challenges facing humanity are also the starting point for a new strategy initiated by UNESCO (Global Independent Expert Group on the Universities and the 2030 Agenda (EGU2030), which will publish its report in autumn 2021 (Hesse, Schmelkes et al.)). 

As a result, the strategy deviates somewhat from the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are politically determined and are not intended for individual institutions. UiO will nevertheless make important contributions to achieving the SDGs, both in Norway and around the world (Getting started with SDGs in Universities, pdf). We will develop the knowledge base and highlight the challenging links between the different goals and sub-goals.

UiO's comprehensive climate and environmental strategy is based on the adopted Strategy 2030 and will serve as a bridge to practical, annual action plans. The strategy is long-term, but also needs to be updated regularly. The strategy contains specific goals, sub-goals and measures to ensure that consideration to the climate and the environment is integrated throughout UiO's activities. Furthermore, knowledge development and dialogue are facilitated across both subjects and sectors, within academia and in cooperation with society at large. It is emphasised that, although the strategy focuses on sustainability, the mandate has not been to develop a complete sustainability strategy for UiO.

Education

“UiO will educate students who place their subjects in a broader social perspective and lead the way in the green shift” – UiO's Strategy 2030

UiO’s most important task is to educate graduates for specialised research fields, for professions and for the private and public sectors through a wide range of study programmes, from the strictly disciplinary to the interdisciplinary. However, the complexity of the major societal challenges indicates a growing need for an interdisciplinary component of education, so that, on the basis of one discipline, it is possible to communicate well with actors from other disciplines, and that it is possible to orient oneself in complex problems at the intersection of knowledge, expertise and political decisions. There is also a large and unmet need for candidates with "green competence" in both the private and public sectors (NHO Competence Barometer 2020, pdf). In the future, graduates who have a holistic, interdisciplinary knowledge will be needed, who can identify dilemmas and conflicts of interest, prioritise in the short and long term, assess ethical challenges and at the same time have knowledge that provides sufficient basis for decisions and action (UNESCO (2018). Issues and trends in Education for Sustainable Development. A. Leicht, J. Heiss & W. J. Byun (eds)).

UiO has enthusiastic and skilled students who want to be drivers of change. The students therefore also have clear expectations of UiO, both as a place of education and as an institution. These are expectations UiO must meet in order to continue to attract the best students. UiO offers several study programmes and individual courses that address climate change, the environment and sustainability, and there are a number of good examples of student-active and work-relevant methods and activities. Despite the existence of good study offers, the portfolio is perceived as fragmented, random, and effort is required to orient oneself. 

Education is the area where the challenges associated with interdisciplinary collaboration are greatest, and there are several barriers that can be highlighted. There are structural and financial barriers that make it challenging to establish study programmes across the organisation, and there is also limited financial capacity for restructuring. Last, but not least, it is extremely challenging to secure the necessary teaching resources to incorporate and highlight sustainability where it is relevant to new study programmes or to the expansion of existing programmes. This is especially true for activities across faculties, departments and/or departmental units. At the same time, several of the good interdisciplinary offers that exist today are experiencing fierce competition for a limited number of places. For students at a higher level, there are limited options for them to study across units and programmes, and it requires that they put in considerable effort to find the offers.  UiO must reduce the barriers and challenges that exist, while at the same time developing a comprehensive overview of educational programmes on climate change, the environment and sustainability. In this way, students can make informed choices as early as possible during the course of their education.

It must be recognised that it is highly demanding to teach students with different academic backgrounds and prior knowledge, and there is a need for teachers to share experiences between them. UiO should therefore develop an arena for sharing experiences for teachers across faculty and department boundaries. For both the students and the lecturers, it will be beneficial to establish a common framework of understanding and language at the start of the programme, for example through Exphil and Exfac. This should not come at the expense of the disciplinary specialisation but should instead contribute to developing generic skills such as being able to analyse complex systems, interdisciplinary collaboration, critical thinking and working strategically at various levels to create change (UNESCO 2018). 

Norway, like the rest of the world, faces an enormous restructuring process over the next few decades. Climate change and the environment are obviously an area where UiO can play an important role in professional updating and lifelong learning, by offering continuing education to working professionals. The school system is a sector where UiO has a special role in the dissemination of updated knowledge, through the education of lecturers, further education of teachers and the availability of good teaching materials. In the new the National Curriculum (Curricula in English, udir.no), sustainable development is one of three overarching interdisciplinary topics. The school shall ensure that the students learn to understand basic dilemmas and developments in society, and how they can be handled.

Sustainability should be an integral part of not only the studies, but also of the daily study life at UiO, and the university should be a place where the students are challenged, thrive and develop. The students' involvement is a resource, and UiO must facilitate various activities and initiatives from the students and student organisations. It is a goal that students at UiO have the opportunity to participate in community innovation that involves collaboration between the university, various social actors and local communities. This can be safeguarded through the establishment of a student-run "Green Office” (read more about the concept: Start your Sustainability Office and join the Green Office Movement), possibly in cooperation with the student innovation initiative Insj UiO.

Overall goal

U0: Sustainability, which deals with the environment, climate change and society, will be an integral part of all educational programmes at UiO.

Sub-goals

The University of Oslo (UiO) shall:

U1: Give all students, early in the study programme and regardless of which study programme it is, research-based and basic knowledge about climate change and the environment, as well as generic skills to become actors for change.

U2: Offer a wide range of courses and study programmes at all levels within climate change and the environment (BA, MA, PhD and for continuing education).

U3: Reduce the barriers and challenges associated with teaching collaboration across units. 

U4: Facilitate student participation and student-driven initiatives/innovation related to climate change and the environment, in both education and student life.

The working group's recommendations for measures and instruments:

U1: 

  • Ensure that students develop generic skills in order to analyse complex systems, work across disciplines, think critically and work strategically for change and improvement.
  • Integrate climate change, environment and sustainability first into Exfac and then into Exphil.

U2: 

  • Stimulate and facilitate new study offers in the full breadth of UiO's education portfolio (an example for inspiration is Discovery Modules at Leeds University).
  • Increase the capacity of relevant study programmes with high demand. 
  • Map and identify relevant topics and simplify students' ability to include them in their degree, either as individual subjects or as a subject group in sustainability.
  • Contribute to lifelong learning through study offers where climate change and the environment are central themes.

U3: 

  • Identify and work systematically to reduce organisational, structural and economic barriers that hinder teaching collaboration across faculty and departments.
  • Establish a meeting place for the exchange of experience related to climate change, environment and sustainability in teaching, preferably under the auspices of LINK.

U4: 

  • Finance the establishment and operation of a student-run "Green Office" that can, among other things, help to involve students in the university's climate change and environmental work.
  • Create a portal/website that highlights how students (and employees) can integrate climate change and environment into their study and student life.

Research

“UiO will further develop disciplinary depth and interdisciplinary cooperation
and lead the way in the development towards a sustainable society” – UiO's Strategy 2030

Strategy 2030 seeks to safeguard and further develop the quality and breadth of research and education that currently places UiO in a special position nationally, that forms the basis for UiO's position as a leading European, research-intensive and broad-based university. These ambitions must be met by a comprehensive climate change and environmental strategy. UiO is characterised by strong basic research environments, and these can also make important contributions to the resolution of societal challenges, including in the fields of climate change and the environment.
It has already been established that climate change and environmental challenges are complex and, by their nature interdisciplinary. UiO must therefore facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration across academic communities and faculties. In parallel with this, we must further develop the existing climate change and environment-related research environments at UiO. There is a need for interdisciplinary structures that include several units, for example across research groups, centres or larger initiatives.
In practice, this means that UiO must facilitate disciplinary as well as interdisciplinary career paths. A particular concern among younger researchers (see the CIENS report on interdisciplinary climate change and environmental research (Knowledge status for interdisciplinary climate change and environmental research, ciens.no, pdf), has to do with credits related to interdisciplinary research. This is a special responsibility for UiO when we for example, we offer and encourage interdisciplinary research fellowship positions.

A clear precondition for greater success is that UiO uses its internal resources wisely. Just as described related to teaching, there is a need for coordination and visibility of relevant research and good initiatives. At present, UiO has three overall interdisciplinary initiatives: UiO:Life Sciences, UiO:Nordic and UiO:Energy. All three include activities and measures related to or relevant to climate change, the environment and sustainability, but there is a lack of a clarified responsibility for these research areas.

The concept of Responsible Research and Innovation, is now being changed to clarify the responsibility related to climate change and sustainability (the environment was included right from the start). Several research funds have also introduced, or are about to introduce, clear guidelines for how the projects to which they allocate funds should be conducted in the most climate-friendly and environmentally friendly way possible. It is natural that UiO should similarly set requirements for projects that receive UiO funding, and it is appropriate that this should be standardised to the greatest extent possible. A sustainable transition of UiO also means that the university’s room for manoeuvre in the form of free funds and recruitment positions, must be steered away from research that is not compatible with the objectives of this strategy. It is emphasised that there is still full academic freedom for academic staff. However, UiO should not contribute own financing to projects that are clearly not in line with sustainable development. Specifically, this means that there may be calls for proposals where UiO simply should not apply for or contribute funding.

UiO can achieve much through wise allocation of its own resources, but externally funded activities are becoming increasingly important - partly as a source of research funding, partly as an arena for cooperation with other institutions, both nationally and internationally. Going forward, there will be good opportunities through Horizon Europe going forward for research on climate change, the environment and sustainable restructuring. In addition to continued success with ERC, UiO should aim for greater activity in the thematic areas. Nationally, through the Research Council of Norway, there have been good opportunities for funding research related to renewable energy and climate technology for many years. On the environmental side in particular and for humanities and social science research more generally, however, there are fewer opportunities and smaller budgets. UiO should work actively to influence the framework conditions here. The consequence of underfunding is that important perspectives are not included in the development of knowledge. The research has an important role in identifying dilemmas and highlighting conflicts of interest, assessing short-term priorities against long-term consequences, and pointing out ethical challenges, to name just a few examples.

Overall goal

F0: UiO shall make important contributions to the knowledge base related to climate change and environmental challenges, both disciplinary and interdisciplinary.  

Sub-goals

The University of Oslo (UiO) shall:

F1: Ensure that all research gives consideration to climate change and the environment, regardless of discipline.

F2: Contribute to the development of strong research environments, including in units that do not have a long tradition of research into climate change and the environment.

F3: Facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration.

The working group's recommendations for measures and instruments:

F1:  

  • Ensure that internal research resources are not used for patently unsustainable projects.
  • Generally, limit the climate and environmental impact from UiO's research, develop good guidelines for both internally and externally funded projects.
  • Develop PhD programmes within climate change, the environment and sustainability.

F2:

  • Strengthen recruitment to climate and environmental research among younger researchers by developing good opportunities for both disciplinary and interdisciplinary career paths.
  • Actively work for better national opportunities for funding interdisciplinary research, where humanities and/or social science disciplines are central.

F3:

  • Ensure that climate change and the environment are a key part of the interdisciplinary initiatives, either as a new initiative or by expanding today's initiatives.
  • Actively support the development of large, interdisciplinary research applications towards both the NFR and the EU, including through internal incentives and exemptions.

UiO and societal challenges

“UiO will contribute to sustainable social development and the green shift”
– UiO’s Strategi 2030

Knowledge should be used for the benefit of society, to develop liberal democracy, and to contribute to sustainable global development. Society's confidence in research and scientific knowledge is strengthened through openness and transparency. To ensure continued high legitimacy for UiO as a knowledge organisation, we must open ourselves to the world to an even greater extent. By working to ensure that knowledge is utilised, UiO will stimulate the development of new ideas, technologies and initiatives in order to improve services, resolve social needs and contribute to a sustainable transition. Open science establishes a basis for a knowledge-based democratic society and knowledge-informed decisions. The dissemination of the role, methodology, uncertainty and integrity of science must constitute part of our dialogue with society.

Strategy 2030 states that UiO will focus on venues for dissemination and outreach activities throughout the breadth of the organisation. Furthermore, an important part of UiO's dissemination work will be done by the university museums and the university library, and these parts of the activities will be more closely linked to the other units at UiO. Today, there is an untapped potential associated with the unique situation that UiO has two museums, located in the central part of the country's capital. The possibilities are also great for more active use of the University Library. For the climate change and environmental area, Klimahuset at the Natural History Museum can and must play a special role, not least with regard to children and young people. In addition to a permanent exhibition, Klimahuset has an amphitheatre for events intended for all sections of the population, and teaching services for children and adolescents, as well as teachers. UiO cooperates extensively and closely with schools in the Oslo region, including the area of climate change, the environment and sustainability. This network is an important arena for the education of students, competence development and knowledge sharing in the education sector, and research and innovation concerning sustainable restructuring in the university's surrounding areas.

Norway's first innovation district, Oslo Science City, is planned for the area around Blindern, with UiO as a key partner. “Climate change, energy and the environment" has been selected as one of four focus areas, and there are ambitious plans for sustainable urban development of the area. Oslo Science City represents a unique opportunity for cooperation with the public sector, research institutes and industry. The innovation district will also create meeting places and dissemination arenas, as well as help to cultivate good ideas based on UiO's research. Innovation should be understood here in a broad sense, it is not limited to technology and commercialisation, but also includes knowledge from research that is used in society in general. Oslo Science City must become an arena that facilitates sustainable student innovation, green projects and innovative learning. A good example of active student learning, currently with sustainable urban development as a theme, is the semester course CityStudio Oslo. Concepts and experiences from here are now included in the plans for the European Circle U. collaboration.

Climate change, the environment and sustainability are obviously good topics for international cooperation, both in Europe and the rest of the world. Existing networks such as The Guild, which work actively to establish research collaborations in Africa, should be used here. One of the most important challenges for working with climate change and the environment worldwide is the enormous economic differences both within and between countries, which underlines the importance of focusing on topics such as ethics and inequality in the social sciences and the humanities. UiO has the potential to take a leading role and utilize its great academic breadth in global cooperation, for example through initiatives such as the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities (OSEH).

Nationally, it is also important to actively utilize partnerships for dissemination and in connection with events, as a supplement to everything that UiO does itself. Examples of partners are the Nobel Institute, the Academy of Sciences, Skift and regional business clusters. At the same time, it is clear that UiO must have a conscious relationship with various forms of dissemination and research collaboration with external partners, and it must carefully consider what kind of agreements to enter into.

Overall goal

S0: UiO shall ensure that our knowledge development and dialogue take place across both subjects and sectors, within academia and in cooperation with society at large. 

Sub-goals

The University of Oslo (UiO) shall:

S1: Participate in the public debate and contribute to knowledge-based conversations and opinion formations.

S2: Work to ensure that knowledge is used in both business and the public sector, contribute to innovation in a broad sense.

S3: Contributions to the school system fulfils the intention of a new curriculum in terms of the environment, climate change and sustainability.

The working group's recommended measures and instruments: 

S1:

  • Actively participate in relevant regional, national and international networks and forums.  
  • Actively work with communication of research-based knowledge about climate change and the environment.
  • Strengthen and further develop UiO's good dissemination arenas, especially the university museums, the University Library and Universitetsplassen. Klimahuset has a unique position here.

S2:

  • Facilitate innovation (in a broad sense) for both students and employees.
  • Develop UiO's role as a change agent, both locally, nationally and internationally, by participating in and even proposing advisory arenas (science advice) in the fields of environment, climate change and sustainability. 
  • Ensure climate change, the environment, energy and sustainable urban development as central topics in the work with Oslo Science City in particular, and the City of Oslo more generally.

S3:

  • Develop the university schools as an arena, actualise teaching for the pupils, and make schools strong players with regard to climate change, environment and sustainability in the local community.  
  • Contribute to restructuring through continuing education, where climate and the environment will be a key part.

Greenhouse gas emissions and a green campus life

“UiO will reduce its own climate footprint and enable staff and students
to make environmentally conscious choices.” – UiO's Strategy 2030

UiO shall lead the way in climate and environmental work, both nationally and internationally, and act as a role model for other institutions. This means that UiO will continuously work to reduce its environmental impact during operations and help employees and students to make sustainable choices. The work on climate change and environment shall relate to the commitments made by Norway and the international community in accordance with, for example, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This part of the strategy will set a specific target for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and will set limits for how this goal will be achieved. It will also set goals and measures for broader environmental work.

More than 30,000 students and employees have UiO as their place of study and work (UiO in numbers 2020). We are the same size as a medium-sized Norwegian city, and it is therefore of great importance how we facilitate environmentally conscious choices, manage property and use our purchasing power (Green Operations, UiO). Under the Paris Agreement, the world has set a target of keeping global temperature increases to below 1.5°C. This means that greenhouse gas emissions must roughly be halved by 2030 and must fall to close to zero by the middle of this century. The City of Oslo, for its part, has a very ambitious goal of becoming the world's first emission-free metropolis, and has set a goal of achieving a 95% emission reduction as early as 2030. Oslo Science City will be developed around the Blindern campus, where a clear ambition of achieving almost zero emissions for the innovation district is expected. 

To measure the effect of the actions taken, it is necessary to know what the situation was before. UiO launched its first greenhouse gas accounts in 2019 (UiO's greenhouse gas accounts 2018). The climate accounts are divided into seven main categories, where the categories 'Travel and transport' and 'Energy' account for more than half of the emissions. In order to achieve the goal of a significant reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030, it is important to implement rapid and effective measures in these two categories, in parallel with efforts in the other areas. UiO has chosen to include both direct and indirect emissions in its accounts (scope 1, 2 and 3).

Ambitions for climate neutrality often involve compensating for a share of emissions through the purchase of climate quotas. It is not obvious that this is a solution that can be scaled globally, and UiO's primary strategy must be to cut its own emissions. A simple modelling has been made of how UiO's greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by 2030, the assumptions and details can be found in a separate appendix. The starting point is UiO's updated climate accounts for 2018. It is important to point out that the assumptions include both factors that UiO influences itself, and factors that are beyond our control (such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) at Klemetsrud). It should be possible to cut emissions in scope 1+2 by as much as 90% by 2030. The indirect emissions in scope 3 are far more challenging, and the overall reduction for scope 1+2+3 ends at 50%.

The category "Travel and transport” is dominated by flights, especially outside Europe. The Covid-19 pandemic has digitised UiO's teaching and work in record time, thus facilitating a necessary reduction in travel activity among UiO employees. Nevertheless, it is obvious that UiO, as a research-intensive and internationally oriented university, will rely on travel activities. Students and staff will continue to travel on fieldwork, exchanges and conferences, but the greenhouse gas emissions associated with these activities must be significantly reduced in order to achieve the goals we set. UiO must facilitate as climate-friendly travel as possible, while at the same time providing good facilities for digital solutions. UiO must have clear expectations for reduced travel, but this must be based on confidence that employees and students themselves make wise choices.

“Energy" is closely related to UiO's building stock, and the Real Estate Department works purposefully for a more efficient energy use at UiO. Already in 2020, they achieved the 2027 target of a 25% reduction in UiO's building-related energy relative to 2016. As of today, the target for 2040 is a reduction of 40%. Digital management systems for climate and energy will be crucial in identifying and implementing appropriate measures for further reductions. Emissions related to energy are approximately the same between electricity and district heating. Going forward, UiO must also start producing more energy, where electricity from solar cells and heat (and cooling) from energy wells are two obvious alternatives. The building stock must be seen in context, where excess heat in one building may be used for heating in another. Heat pump technology may also make important contributions to energy efficiency.
The purchase of goods and services will be a key to further cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2019, UiO's fund management has been 100% fossil-free. UiO is a knowledge partner in Skift - Business climate leaders and has joined their "10 principles of green purchasing knowledge". These were incorporated into "Principles and ethical guidelines for work on procurement at UiO, 2021–2024” in the spring of 2021. The work on annual greenhouse gas accounts must continue, but the accounts themselves must be further developed to use real and physical data to a greater extent. The natural step forward is to prepare future climate budgets. The overall climate and environmental strategy, together with the climate accounts, must form the basis for annual action plans.

UiO's academic breadth and diversity inspire students and staff to seek new knowledge and innovative ideas. This should also apply to the physical environment at UiO, which will serve as a learning oasis and living lab for exploratory projects on everything from biodiversity, energy production, restructuring processes, reuse, repair, stormwater issues and food. The establishment of a "Green Office" has already been highlighted and may play an important role in facilitating student-driven activities that, among other things, reduce UiO's greenhouse gas emissions.

UiO is already doing a good effort connected to the green spaces on campus, by facilitating, among other things, a rich biodiversity. This will also be a priority in the future. Contributing to the protection of geological deposits in the Oslofeltet, the deliberate use of indigenous species, avoiding harmful invasive species and establishing 'green roofs' are some examples of good measures. A green campus will contribute to well-being and act as a learning oasis.

Green campus life involves more than the physical environment. It also means that the use of environmentally friendly transport to and from the place of study/job is facilitated, that it is easy to make sustainable choices when it comes to the canteen and food at meetings, and that and that reuse and recycling are encouraged, to name just a few. The daily trips to/from UiO are covered by the upcoming Mobility Plan. Under "Education", it has been proposed to establish a student-run "Green Office", which will be able to organise various student-run activities around everything from green areas to food to waste management. 

Overall goals, greenhouse gas emissions and green campus life:

K0: UiO aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030, scope 1+2 will be cut by as much as 90% by 2030.

C0: UiO shall have a campus that reflects a sustainable institution, and actively facilitates students and employees to make climate- and environmentally friendly choices.

Sub-goals, greenhouse gas emissions and green campus life

The University of Oslo (UiO) shall: 

K1: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from travel by 7% every year.

K2: Reduce energy use in buildings by at least 40% by 2030 and to a greater extent produce our own energy.

K3: Offer good digital facilities for teaching, meetings/conferences and dissemination.

C1: Manage outdoor areas and buildings for the benefit of the environment and biodiversity.

C2: Facilitate a reduced and sustainable consumption among students and staff.

C3: Develop a campus profile that clearly signals UiO's focus on climate change and the environment.

The working group refers to UiO's action plan for reducing our climate footprint, but it also recommends/highlights the following measures: 

K0: 

  • Annual greenhouse gas accounts that are based as much as possible on physical data. Broken down by units, in order to be used as a tool in their work to cut emissions.
  • A greenhouse gas budget must also be prepared, initially until 2030.

K1:

  • It should be easy to book climate-friendly travel in UiO's travel portal. The portal should provide clear information about estimated emissions for the travel options.
  • Actively facilitate climate-friendly travel, by compensating for travel time and any additional costs for both students and staff.

K2:

  • Install smart control systems in buildings to reduce energy use without reducing comfort.
  • Streamline the use of buildings in the evenings and on weekends (events).
  • Thorough mapping of opportunities for green roofs on UiO's buildings, with regard to energy production as well as planting for better stormwater management and/or increased biodiversity.
  • Produce own energy using solar cells and energy wells.

K3:

  • Good digital equipment with sufficient capacity and readily available for the implementation of both digital and hybrid events, whether teaching, seminars/conferences or other dissemination.

C1:

  • Identify suitable climate adaptation measures on campus that combine increased biodiversity with reduction of damage, e.g. retention basin as climate adaptation measures.
  • Deliberate use of indigenous species, avoiding harmful invasive species, preserving geologically important sites, as well as securing and developing green spaces.

C2:

  • Include estimated greenhouse gas emissions and life cycle costs as part of the procurement criteria. Actively use own knowledge about the lifetime of, among other things, ICT equipment.
  • Assess which reuse schemes UiO will develop further and establish itself, and where it is more appropriate to rely on the external circular market.
  • Establish a (repair) workshop for and with students and staff, with loans of equipment and tools and events where training and competence transfer are the focus (Restarters Norway is a good example of how this can be organised).

C3:

  • Highlight and share stories and examples of measures that contribute to realising UiO's sustainable restructuring objectives.
  • Cooperate with SiO on environmental measures in student housing. 
  • Collaborate with SiO on a comprehensive plant-based offering in the canteens on campus.
  • The provision of vegetarian, vegan, organic and/or locally sourced food must be included in the assessment of framework agreements for catering.

Organisation and governance structure 

“UiO will work systematically to become a sustainable institution" –UiO's Strategy 2030

A university’s most important resource is the people who work and study there. A comprehensive climate and environment strategy will build on the university's values, academic freedom and respect for the uniqueness of science. The organisation shall be characterised by collegial co-determination and an administration that takes responsibility. The university's climate change and environmental strategy shall be supported by clear roles and division of responsibilities in all parts of the organisation. Employees and students shall know where decisions are made and how they can be affected through co-determination and university democracy. Strategic work aimed at climate and the environment must become a natural part of leadership at all levels. In cooperation with its employees, the local management shall determine the academic aim and ambition of each individual faculty/department/unit.

From 1 August 2021, UiO will have a vice-rector responsible for climate/environment and interdisciplinarity. This clarifies the overall responsibility and is the natural starting point for the organisation of UiO's further efforts concerning climate change and the environment. The organisation under the vice-rector should be discussed and established as soon as possible. This applies to strategic/technical work, but also operations. As regards the latter, a network of practice should probably be established for those working with climate change and the environment in the units.

There are different arrangements for environmental certification, and UiO must consider if and what kind of certification is appropriate (Miljøfyrtårn, EMAS and ISO 14001 are the most relevant certification schemes at present. There will probably also be a framework through Næring for Klima (Industry for Climate), which is organised by the City of Oslo and where UiO is a partner). It may be that isolated parts of the activity should use one of the detailed certification schemes. The key points in these certification schemes are clear environmental management, a focus on continuous improvement and auditing, which UiO will nevertheless take into account in its work concerning climate change and the environment. There are also an increasing number of different sustainability rankings for universities, but it is not at all obvious that a change in ranking from one year to another says much about the real progress (or decline) at UiO.

When the Life Sciences building is completed and different environments move in, large areas at Nedre Blindern will be released. This gives UiO a unique opportunity to create an interdisciplinary and physically co-located centre, as mentioned in the introduction: Oslo Bærekraftsenter/Oslo Sustainability Centre. Such a centre should largely be based on existing research and teaching but should also constitute more than the sum of the individual components of multidisciplinary facilities and enhanced public relations. Such a centre could help to solve many of the challenges pointed out in the previous chapters, such as coordination and visibility of both studies and research. An Oslo Sustainability Centre will also clarify UiO's ambitions to lead the way in sustainability efforts, both nationally and internationally, and contribute to making us the role model we want to be for the outside world.

A more detailed organisation must be investigated, but this may address both some of UiO's initiatives and interdisciplinary units. The centre must be dynamic, and areas must be allocated to researchers from different parts of UiO, who can spend part of their time there, related to project-organised research activities and/or teaching. However, there is no reason to wait: both the planning and start-up of a more virtual centre can be established before the areas at Nedre Blindern are ready.

Overall goal

O0: Establish an effective governance structure for UiO's climate change and environmental work, and anchor the climate change, environment and sustainability perspective in the university's organisational culture.

Sub-goals

The University of Oslo (UiO) shall: 

O1: Establish a robust organisation of climate change and environmental work, with a focus on continuous improvement.

O2: Facilitate competence building, collaboration and exchange of experience.

O3: Establish Oslo Bærekraftsenter/Oslo Sustainability Centre.

The working group's recommended measures and instruments: 

O1:

  • Give future rectorates a clearly defined overall responsibility for climate change, the environment and sustainability.
  • Establish a working group under the rector's office to develop and establish a management and operational framework. 
  • Clarify expectations for managers to translate the strategy's objectives into concrete measures relevant to the activity in their own unit.

O2:

  • Conduct open annual meetings on climate accounts, climate budgets and action plans. Be clear about challenges, progress or possibly lack thereof.
  • Establish a network of practice for those working with climate change and the environment at the units.
  • Establish an overarching portal that renders visible the overall effort within all the different aspects of climate change and environmental work at UiO.

O3:

  • Establish a database of researchers at UiO to more effectively identify interdisciplinary collaboration opportunities.
  • Funding schemes that stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration.

Attachments

Published Aug. 19, 2021 10:07 AM - Last modified Mar. 3, 2022 10:15 AM