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S A S E I T FOR I S R E S E T V L I S UN TALY INAB CA USTA Y S T A CIE SO CHAPTER 9

Universities are often at the forefront of innovation and their academic research and teaching can contribute directly to health, well-being, and prosperity. Frequently regarded as well-established and respected organisations, universities have a unique and influential role to play in the quest for a more sustainable future. With core missions of excellence, innovation and education, universities bear a responsibility for visioning and realising a more sustainable future as they educate the future leaders of our society and economy. To this end, many universities have developed programmes to foster applied research and education by using their campuses to test real-time sustainability solutions. This approach is commonly referred to as a ‘living lab’ or using the ‘campus as a classroom’. Living lab projects offer the possibility for students and academics to convert theory to practice, which also leads to greater engagement with the material and a more well-rounded educational experience. An institution represents a microcosm of the society in which it exists and by treating the campus as a laboratory for exploring the concepts of sustainability as they relate to the operation of the physical campus and to teaching, research and organisational processes, a university can model sustainability to the wider community. Sustainability leadership is about creating a shared vision, inspiring positive change, building capacity, empowering others, leading by example, facilitating change and harnessing innovation and creativity to foster a culture of sustainability within and beyond the organisation. Universities demonstrating leadership in the realm of sustainability do more than just implement energy efficiency measures – they give substance to a sometimes murky and ill-defined concept and make sustainability part of a wider discussion. Active and more sophisticated discussion, planning, and ultimately action is what will allow communities to craft the future they desire rather than be swept along with a tide of competing policies and priorities. UNIVERSITIES AS CATALYSTS CATALYST FOR FOR A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY

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IARU - Green Guide for Universities – pathways towards sustainability