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Sustainability at the UG

Sustainability is a hot topic but what does it entail? The UG defines sustainability by using the Brundtland definition and has formulated three pillars for sustainability in the UG: Planet, Performance and People.

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." (Brundtland UN report, 1987)

The UG has outlined goals per pillar in the Roadmap 2015-2020 to make the university more sustainable. In june 2021 the new Roadmap Sustainability 2021-2026 has been approved.

The UG is committed to more sustainability in education and research, but also in business operations, renovation and new construction projects. The UG is currently ranked in 7th place on the GreenMetric 2020 UI world ranking of sustainable universities (out of 912 participants).


This pillar is about the well-being of people. Common topics within this theme are health and safety at the workplace, retaining staff members, labor laws, human rights, education, internship policies, labour conditions of outsourced activities, societal involvement of the organisation, preventing discrimination and ensuring diversity at the workplace.

People policy is written and executed by the Human Resources (HR) and the Health, Safety & Sustainabilty departments.


Within this pillar the focus is on well-being of nature and animals. More specifically, it’s about the environmental impact of the UG and how this can be reduced. Common topics are the impact of products, processes and services on the air, water, soil and biodiversity, but also themes like Cradle to Cradle, CO2-compensation, waste and recycling, sustainable mobility and sustainable products and services.

The writing of Planet policy and the realization of Planet ambitions is mostly done by the Facility Services department. The Green Office offers advice and cooperates on Planet projects with several departments, including the Facility Services department.


The focus of this pillar is the integration of sustainability within education. Sustainability is not limited one subject or discipline. The UG encourages staff members and students of all faculties to become involved with the problems and obstacles related to sustainability. Furthermore, informing and creating awareness amongst staff members and students by organising events symposia and lectures are part of the pillar Performance.

Information on sustainability in research (and education) can also be found at the UG Sustainable Society.

The activities of the Green Office are connected to these pillars to contribute to the goals that are set in the Roadmap. So how do we do it when the task we work on is so complex? We focus on projects that help us achieve our yearly goals and that contribute to sustainability. Moreover, we develop projects that are in line with the goals put forward by the University of Groningen in the Roadmap 2015-2020.

Last modified:16 June 2023 11.58 a.m.
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