LUT University takes a leap towards carbon negativity

LUT University has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 419 tonnes in three years. A recent report presents the university's achievements in the promotion of sustainable development.

LUT University has significantly reduced its energy and water consumption and waste on its Lappeenranta campus. The university's overall carbon dioxide emissions have declined 419 tons in three years. This represents a reduction of 17% over that period.

This development is discussed in LUT University's recent Report on Sustainability, which mainly examines the university's activity in 2016–2018.

LUT has consistently and goal-drivenly reduced its environmental load since 2011, when the university launched its Green Campus approach to sustainability.

"In summer 2013, LUT was recognised as the world leader in the promotion of green technology in the Excellence in Campus category of the international Sustainable Campus Excellence Awards," says Rector Juha-Matti Saksa.

LUT fosters global sustainability through its cross-disciplinary research and education. Sustainable technology solutions are at the core of the university's technology degree programmes, and the LUT School of Business and Management observes the UN's Principles for Responsible Management Education, which connect internationally recognised sustainable values to business studies.

"In the academic year 2019–2020, a total of 72 per cent of our degree programmes have included sustainability related themes in their intended learning outcomes. In addition, we induct all new students into our environmentally responsible thinking and research," explains Vice Rector Jaana Sandström.

Science as a tool against climate change

According to LUT's recent sustainability report, an average of 65 per cent of LUT's research publications in 2016–2018 dealt with sustainability in one way or another. One of LUT's goals is to curb climate change instead of adapting to it.

Producing single-cell protein with electricity and carbon dioxide, developing renewable fuels, establishing fair value chains affecting food security, creating purification technologies for wastewaters, and promoting sustainable business are examples of LUT's scientific solutions to global sustainability challenges.

"In collaboration with businesses, we are adopting solutions enabled by research on emission-free energy, clean water and air, a circular economy and sustainable business and refining them for a sustainable future," Sandström continues.

Ambitious sustainability goals

In addition to favourable environmental impacts, LUT promotes economic and social sustainability. LUT is committed to procurement that accounts for life cycle and environmental aspects and to creating an identity based on equality in its research units and on its campuses in Lappeenranta, Lahti and online.

Moreover, LUT collaborates actively with its external stakeholders in the promotion of sustainability expertise and sustainable operations. Examples of this include the LUT Junior University and GreenReality.

LUT University's monumental goal is carbon negativity by 2024.

"Carbon negativity is only one way to create and realise opportunities for permanent changes. Curbing climate change is, after all, a key part of our recently released strategy," Rector Juha-Matti Saksa concludes.

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