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Regenerative Sustainable Development of Universities and Cities

Regenerative Sustainable Development of Universities and Cities

The Role of Living Laboratories

Edited by Ariane König

Now that the Earth has reached the limits of its biophysical carrying capacity, we have to change technologies, social practices and social norms relating to material production and consumption to ensure that we do not further jeopardize the functioning of our planet’s life support systems. Through research, education and civic engagement, universities have a pivotal role to play in this transition. This timely book explores how universities are establishing living laboratories for sustainable development, and examines the communication networks and knowledge infrastructures that underpin impact both on and beyond the campus.

Chapter 5: Can an environmental management system be a driving force for sustainability in higher education? A case from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Eddi Omrcen, Ullika Lundgren and Marianne Dalbro

Subjects: education, education policy, geography, cities, politics and public policy, education policy, social policy and sociology, education policy, urban and regional studies, cities


This chapter presents a case study of the University of Gothenburg and how it proceeded in the implementation of an environmental management system (EMS). The University of Gothenburg was one of the first universities to develop and implement an EMS according to both the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (14001: 2004) and the Eco Management Audit Scheme (EMAS, European standard). Due to their high societal impact, universities are challenged to take a leadership role in sustainability issues. As universities educate the next generation of decision-makers and influencers, universities can have a vastly greater impact on sustainable development than any other single sector of society (Chambers, 2009). With this aim we explore how sustainable development can be integrated in higher education institutions and how EMS can improve campus sustainability. Our main issue is “can an EMS be a driving force for sustainability in higher education?” To achieve this we shall describe the implementation process of an EMS, and how it develops and improves over time. We shall also stress the importance that the EMS results in improved environmental performance.

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