DTU is sustainable from the inside out

Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword for us. A sustainable mindset permeates everything we do. That’s the essence of DTU’s new sustainability policy.

By Anders Bjarklev

We strive for a sustainable future and develop technologies to effect sustainable change. By including these words in our strategy, we show that sustainability is one of the cornerstones of DTU’s work. But words aren’t enough; naturally we also have to back them up with action.

This means that sustainability isn’t just part of the University’s academic work: it’s also integrated into our organizational structures and the daily working lives of all our staff and students. In other words, we take a sustainable approach in everything we do. And we have now formulated this principle in DTU’s sustainability policy.

In general, we work with a holistic idea of sustainability that incorporates environmental, social, and economic aspects. We take responsibility for helping to create the best possible conditions for people and the environment – both locally and globally. We protect the planet’s resources and develop and use technologies with consideration for their impact on the world.

Degree programmes that encourage students to seek sustainable solutions

All our students encounter different aspects of sustainability in DTU’s degree programmes. And they are inspired to use their academic skills to create solutions that can pave the way to a more sustainable way of living.

Sustainability is also a key element in our PhD programmes. PhD students take a compulsory course in Sustainability Assessment and Communication, where they learn to critically examine how sustainable their research projects are and how they can be linked to one or more of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

At DTU, sustainability is part of the academic toolkit, and is just as important as source criticism and statistics.

Walking the talk

The sustainability mindset also informs the way we run and organize the university and conduct ourselves on campus.

In fact, Lyngby Campus is the largest sustainability-certified urban area in Denmark to date. Sustainability is the guiding principle for all our new construction work. And many of the University’s physical facilities also serve as testing labs for sustainable technologies. For example, solar cells on several roofs on both Lyngby and Risø Campus not only provide electricity but also data for our researchers.

The new sustainability policy won’t mean radical changes to our research, degree programmes or campus life, which are already steeped in sustainable thinking. But it does give us a brief, clear, and binding description of how we address and work with sustainability and how we want to be measured on our sustainability, now and in the future.