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Challenges and Opportunities Strategic planning Although sustainability initiatives can and do happen without top-level support, sustainability has to be an institutional priority if ‘green’ projects are to compete with other demands for time and funding. The transition from individual ideas to a comprehensive, university-wide programme requires perseverance, leadership and championship at various levels – regardless of top management’s commitment. However, involving campus leadership will afford the various projects legitimacy and encourage buy-in from key stakeholders, which in turn will increase the readiness to implement more ambitious tools, such as energy-management systems and standards (see box). To develop a management system or a strategic sustainability plan, the ideal scenario is to convene a campus-wide committee of top officials to agree on and take ownership of sustainability initiatives, as exemplified by the Campus Steering Committee at the University of Copenhagen, which includes all the Deans, the Rector and Pro-rectors. These administrators decide on overall targets and priorities, which then form the basis of the Green Campus projects. Once some top-leadership support has been secured, the next step is conducting a ‘landscape review’ to see how other organisations have structured their efforts. This exercise should yield valuable lessons regarding both what to do and what not to do, and these results can


There are several steps to institutionalising sustainability management systems. Foundationally, there are four steps: Plan, Do, Check, Act. As sustainability programmes mature, this cycle should also include Report and Adjust. Reporting will strengthen the sense of accountability and providing leeway to adjust programmes will allow for more ambitious goal-setting.

then be used to develop templates to assist with information-gathering and ultimately goal-setting. In order to keep the institution on-task and to coordinate between key actors, there will need to be an allocation of financial and human resources. Ideally, this will take the form of a dedicated office or department that is responsible for the overall management of sustainability activities with full-time resources, responsibilities, and budgets.


IARU - Green Guide for Universities – pathways towards sustainability  

Green Guide for Universities – IARU pathways towards sustainability developed by 10 leading international universities and the think-tank Su...

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