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Green operations

bildekollasj av sykler og resirkuleringsdunk og det nye livsvitenskapsbygget.

The University of Oslo is comparable to a medium-sized Norwegian city, and as such it matters how we facilitate for environmentally friendly behaviour, how we manage our buildings, and how we use our power as a major buyer. UiO has for a long time worked to make its operations as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible:

Below are a few examples of sustainability work related to UiO´s operations:

Greener buildings

  • Sustainable buildings are about the use of materials, waste disposal, transport, energy use, and pollution.
  • Our Estate Department has for many years contributed to the green shift at UiO through implementing various measures. This work was made even more concrete in 2017, when the University Board approved a new environmental and climate strategy for the estate operations.
  • The strategy consists of nine focus areas for climate and environment mitigation, which in turn will deliver on the vision of UiO´s Estate Department: Excellently green (Norwegian only).
  • The nine focus areas deal with amongst others climate gas reductions, reduced and renewable use of energy, and environmentally friendly transport.

To be thrown away as plastic or regular waste? Read about waste recycling here.

Greener purchases

An important part of the sustainability work at UiO is to make sure that we actively use our power as a major buyer. UiO procures products and services for about 2.54 billion NOK every year, and we have a clear ambition to influence suppliers and producers in a green direction. Through this we would like to stimulate a development towards circular economies and to contribute to green competitive advantages.

We set environmental requirements for all our suppliers, and have adopted an offensive procurement strategy (Norwegian only) that to a large extent emphasises climate and environmental considerations. Environmental requirements are set in relevant procurements that are weighted by a minimum of 30 percent, and we have established a working group that handles climate and environmental challenges in procurement processes.

The University of Oslo is also a member of Ethical Trade and Miljømerking, and we have joined the climate network Skift's 10 principles for greener procurement. (Norwegian only)

Reuse and circular economy

Reuse is an important focus area for UiO and an essential part of working towards a circular economy. The Estate Department continuously assesses the possibilities of reuse in various projects. In addition we have systems in place making it possible to reuse equipment, furniture and other inventory.

UiO, UiT, UiB and NTNU have entered into a joint supplier agreement regarding the repurchase and phasing out of used IT equipment and phones. The goal is partly to ensure sound environmental disposal of equipment that cannot be used anymore, and partly to to prolong the life span of the equipment through repurchases. Equipment that cannot be reused is handed in for recycling by certified partners.

Travel, meetings and ordering refreshments

UiO works systematically so that both employees and students can make climate- and environment-friendly choices in connection with work and studies.

Making orders:

In addition to setting environmental requirements for our suppliers, UiO works to strengthen the ability of employees and buyers to make climate- and environmentally-friendly choices when ordering food, catering, other products and services. This is done by providing good information and a reminder to be considerate of climate and the environment when making orders.

For example, an assessment must be made as to whether an order can be solved by re-use or by ordering a smaller volume. We also provide recommendations on environmentally friendly products as well as guidance on vegetarian alternatives when ordering food.

Travel and meetings:

Increased use of digital tools has led to new meeting habits and reduced the need to travel. Equipment and opportunities for both digital teaching and meeting facilities will be developed and further improved.

When someone is planning a trip, they must carefully consider whether the trip is necessary. If yes, then means of transport other than aircraft must be considered. UiO's travel policy for employees provides advice on how to travel in an environmentally friendly way.

Business trip? Read about how you can take climate and the environment into consideration when you plan your travels.

Are you planning a big event? See how you can make the ordering of food and drink as environmentally friendly as possible. (Norwegian only)

Do you cycle to work and meetings in the city? We have our own bicycle washing machine for both students and staff. (Norwegian only)

Fossil free investments

UiO wants to be a driver of green investment strategies. Our goal has been to make our investments fossil-free, in order to contribute to the energy transition we all know must come.

  • When Storebrand in 2017 launched the world´s most strict fossil-free index fund, UiO (as the establisher of non-profit organisation and fund manager UNIFOR) became the first customer.

  • Initially, 25 percent of UiO´s investments were placed in the new fund. UNIFOR´s stated aim was that all investments would be fossil-free within five years.
  • October 14 2019, the board of the UiO-foundations at UNIFOR decided to move the rest of the KLP portfolio to fossil-free funds at KLP.
  • This meant that we reached the goal of being 100 percent fossil-free about two years before time!

Strict demands on climate-friendly new buildings

  • The Estate Department is working continuously to increase the environmental achievements of our buildings, both existing ones and the ones we are currently building. The goal is to keep energy use and our carbon footprint as low as possible.

  • The master plan for UiO´s estates sets a high level of ambition with a stated aim of BREEAM NOR Excellent for new buildings, as well as for the rehabilitation of old ones.

  • The rehabilitation of Sophus Bugge´s House at Blindern was certified as BREEAM NOR Excellent.

  • In the Botanical Garden at Tøyen, the building of the new Climate House is currently being finalised. It will become Oslo´s central arena for conveying new knowledge about climate change, and as such there are strict demands on the building´s climate performance. The Climate House is a Future Built-project, with an aim of 50 percent carbon footprint reduction during building and when fully operating.

Klimahuset, illustrasjon
The Climate House opens the doors for the first time in 2020. Illustration: UiO

Read more about the Climate House