Early commitment to environment and sustainability

Environmental Research and Education at Chalmers goes back all the way to the 1970s.  When small groups of dedicated teachers and researchers initiated environmental related research and education. However, for a long time, environmental issues were seen as something foreign at a technical university.
Work moved forward with the help of dedicated enthusiasts, and in 1989 the Environment Section was created in collaboration with the Mathematics and Science Faculty at University of Gothenburg. The Environment Section paved the way for the establishment of environmental research and Doctoral programmes in environmental science at Chalmers and supported the introduction of mandatory environmental courses for students. Since the mid-80s, Chalmers have applied a policy that all students, regardless of programme, have to take an environmental course. In 2003, the President made the decision that all students must take, at a minimum, the equivalent of a five week course in environment and sustainable development.
 
In 2000, the Environmental Section turned into Centre for Environment and Sustainability, GMV, which includes Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg. GMV’s mission is, in collaboration with the community, to support and develop research and education in environment and sustainable development at the two seats of learning.
 
Around the turn of the millennium, Chalmers first environmental and sustainability policy was established. This also signified the start of internal environmental efforts and a few years later an environmental coordinator was hired to start working systematically to reduce the negative environmental impact of the operation and create good examples on campus. The environmental management was developed and now permeates the entire organisation, driving continuous improvements in both internal environmental efforts and more strategic sustainability work related to education, research and utilisation. Chalmers University of Technology was ISO 14001 certified in 2012.
 
At about the same time as GMV, Chalmers Environmental Initiative, CEI, a strategic research initiative for environment and sustainable development, was launched. The objective was to add environmental and sustainability perspective to research and education Chalmers wide. The initiative led to the establishing of seven new full environmentally related Professorships. These were placed in different Departments to obtain good coverage and have better opportunities to influence all areas of Chalmers.
 
By mid 2010 the time had come to start working systematically with education in the sustainability field. However, the adopted policy and the spread out courses and available activities failed reach all students and educational programmes in practice. The project, Education for Sustainable Development, ESD, started in 2006 in order to take a holistic approach to teaching sustainable development. The project was linked to Chalmers’ vision for 2008-2015, which is very clear: “Chalmers - for a sustainable future”.

Published: Thu 06 Nov 2014.