LUT University publishes its sustainability report for 2019 and sets more ambitions sustainability goals

According to LUT University's most recent sustainability report, LUT has promoted sustainability with regard to all 17 goals in the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The university also calculated its carbon footprint according to the GHG Protocol for the first time.

LUT University has published its 2019 sustainability report. LUT has promoted sustainability in research, education, stakeholder collaboration and campus activity. For example, 70 per cent of LUT's degree programmes contained learning outcomes related to sustainability. In addition, all new students go through an orientation into LUT's sustainability thinking.

Sustainability Manager Kati Koikkalainen, LUT Universities, highlights the university's amended strategy as a particular success story. Strategy 2030: Trailblazers – Science with a Purpose steers scientific solutions related to clean energy, water and air and sustainable business to promote sustainability and curb climate change.

In addition to its own strategic focus areas, LUT promotes other sustainability efforts in the UN's 2030 Agenda  (LUT & 17 Sustainable Development Goals). For example, by awarding tuition fee waivers and arranging recruitment events that bring together business enterprises and students, LUT contributes to ending poverty (SDG 1). By providing information on the climate sustainability of wheat or single-cell proteins, LUT helps eliminate hunger (SDG 2). By teaching AI to recognise marine plankton, LUT contributes to the conservation of oceans (SDG 14).

"The underlying idea is to seek solutions and operating models that promote sustainability globally, regionally, locally and in individual people. We've gone a long way, but we still have a lot to do," Kati Koikkalainen sums up.

LUT University's carbon footprint: 2054 tCO2

In 2019, LUT's carbon footprint was 2054 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. This was the first time the footprint was calculated based on the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, which is one of the most frequently used reporting mechanisms for the purpose.

"LUT's calculation takes into account direct and indirect emissions and all three scopes of the GHG Protocol. Our greatest emission sources are food, commuting and business travel. We are currently preparing a climate action plan to cut these emissions," Koikkalainen explains.

LUT's sustainability promotion will continue with more detailed carbon footprint calculations and by updating the environmental management system. LUT University is aiming for carbon negativity by 2024.

"In 2019, LUT set up shop on in the city of Lahti in an old furniture factory turned into a learning facility. In the future, also activities on the new Lahti campus will be included in the carbon footprint calculation," Koikkalainen adds.

Junior University a shining example of collaboration with city administration

In stakeholder collaboration, especially the Junior University has received local and international acclaim in the promotion of sustainability. In the Junior University, students from preschool to upper secondary school learn to reduce their carbon and water footprints and increase their carbon handprint. The first full school year engaged 10 810 people.

LUT has launched Junior University activities also in Lahti. According to Kati Koikkalainen, there is a mutual desire for the collaboration between LUT University and its campus cities to continue fruitfully and interactively.

"I'm personally hoping for the cities to utilise our research-based solutions and the knowledge of our experts boldly in decision-making and different working groups. Moreover, engaging students in making the cities greener is a huge opportunity," Koikkalainen says.

It is a good idea to aim to reduce the carbon footprint of the European Green Leaf City Lappeenranta, the European Green Capital Lahti and the university campuses collaboratively.

"Especially the development of public transportation is in all of our interest. In addition, maintaining biodiversity is becoming an increasingly important value even to individual people. Perhaps we will be able to launch related projects that benefit all parties involved," Kati Koikkalainen envisions.

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