Leading global universities commit to focus on sustainability

22 May 2009
21 international universities sign commitment in which a focus on sustainability is seen as key issue, along with commitment to engage in research towards a sustainable future.

Vice-Chancellors and Presidents from Universitas 21, the leading international network of 21 leading research-intensive universities in fourteen countries, this morning signed a Statement on Sustainability at their Annual Network Meeting held in Seoul, Korea, which emphasizes the important role that universities can and do play in addressing the decline of biodiversity, of energy, food and water security, of climate change, of economic sustainability and of human health.

Through the Statement, which is one strand of the network’s Year of Sustainability, the Universitas 21 member universities commit themselves to ensuring a sustainable future:

  • through research, teaching, community partnerships and demonstrable actions, to advance timely solutions to ecological, societal and economic problems, 
  • through engagement with civil society, industry and government, to accelerate these solutions beyond the campus, and 
  • by working together collaboratively and cooperatively, to achieve more than is possible by working alone. 

Each university will: 

  • develop, publish and monitor targets; 
  • share the results with each other; 
  • engage in research towards a sustainable future; 
  • establish the university campus as a living laboratory for a sustainable future; 
  • emphasise citizenship & engagement to promote faculty, staff, and student volunteerism, and 
  • build capacity through cross-network collaboration and work. 

The network as a whole recognises the importance of this commitment and sees it as a necessary step in addressing the increasingly relevant issue of sustainability and ways in which universities can address it both internally and externally.