Yesterday I received a review of the University’s environmental management work in 2019. This is a type of report that all government authorities submit to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency each year, describing changes in certain environmental indicators. The figures were pleasing, particularly regarding travel, and it’s exciting to see that we are already moving in a positive direction even before the new environmental plan is completed. Goals and documents are important, but the real force for change is everyone acting together.

As one of the world’s most international universities, according to a new THE ranking, we will need to carry on travelling. However, we need to choose carefully when and how. It is positive to see that the number of domestic flights shorter than 500 km has decreased by 7 per cent in one year, and domestic flights over 500 km have decreased by no less than 24 per cent. Foreign flights under 500 km are 16 per cent down, while flights of more than 500 km have decreased by 2 per cent. The number of trips by train is up 11 per cent and the distance travelled by 30 per cent. This means we are travelling longer distances by train. As for bookings of travel-free meetings using videoconferencing facilities or Zoom, they have doubled in one year. Very good.

Vice-Chancellor and University Director practising Zoom

Practice makes perfect – we all need to put some time into learning techniques for digital meetings. Naturally this includes us senior university officers, so right now everyone who works closely with me is busy familiarising themselves with Zoom. You can find more information about travel-free meetings here.

The report mentions other positive trends as well. Environmental requirements are included in more and more procurement processes and we use 100 per cent renewable electricity. These positive trends are encouraging ahead of our revision of the environmental plan, the University’s Mission, Goals and Strategies document makes big promises in this area. Let us all pull together.

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