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General introduction

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Placing sustainability high on the UNIL agenda

Financial, social and climatic crises are casting serious doubts on our choices of social and economic models.

Article 73 of the Federal Constitution makes clear: “The Confederation and the cantons work to establish a durable balance between nature, in particular its capacity for renewal, and its use by human beings”.

We know however that our country consumes at least twice the natural resources that the biosphere is capable of producing. At this rate, extending our way of life to everyone on the planet will never be possible, for want of natural resources; it is a way of life that generates social and environmental inequalities. If we want to attain the balance referred to in the Constitution, we must drastically reduce our consumption and devise lifestyles that respect local and global limits and balances.

The Rectorate of the UNIL wishes to face up to these immense problems by establishing an ambitious sustainability policy that is resolutely serious in intent and devoid of the spurious motives of greenwashing. The UNIL has chosen to use the term “sustainability” rather than “sustainable development”, and is keen to promote the idea of strong sustainability.

On their own, the natural sciences and technology can provide only part of the solution. Also needed are institutional, economic and social innovations which will emerge from research and training institutions active in the human, social and environmental sciences. The University of Lausanne feels it has a responsibility to analyse in depth the mechanisms that lead to current imbalances, and to contribute actively to the emergence of such innovations.

The University’s “Sustainability and Campus” department has the task of developing a plan of action that will place sustainability high on the UNIL agenda, with the support of a consultative body, the Sustainability Committee, made up of representatives from the university community as a whole.

This plan includes actions which can be grouped under the following main themes:

  • encourage teaching and research in the field of sustainability and affirm the role of the UNIL as a think-tank on sustainability issues;
  • strengthen the culture of sustainability within the UNIL community;
  • rationalise the UNIL’s consumption of natural and energy resources.

Benoît Frund

Vice-Rector Sustainability and Campus
 

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Sustainability according to wikipedia

 

Uniscope March 2016: Review of 5 years Sustainability Policy at the UNIL (in french)

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