January 25, 2022

Where thinking is inspired by nature: Sustainability is the guiding principle of University of Klagenfurt

100,000 square metres – that’s the size of the campus of the University of Klagenfurt near Lake Wörthersee in Austria’s southernmost city. More than half of this is undeveloped space which serves as verdant parkland welcoming students and staff. The natural beauty of the campus offers ample inspiration for creative, innovative and audacious research on the pivotal topic of the future: digitalisation! Founded as recently as 2019, the Digital Age Research Centre (D!ARC) draws together researchers from the fields of computational linguistics, cybersecurity and digital culture for the purpose of contributing to the digital transformation. A constant focus in this endeavour: Digital transformation can only succeed with the careful stewardship of natural resources in a green future. 

Conserving the natural foundations of our existence and safeguarding the integrity of the environment are goals that pose particular challenges to each and every one of us, both in our private and professional lives. When it implemented the environmental management system according to EMAS (ECO Management and Audit Scheme), the University of Klagenfurt (AAU) committed to establishing and continuously enhancing an environmental management system. 

To complement its diverse achievements in research and teaching, AAU pursues the declared goal to operate a pro-active and comprehensive environmental policy. By adopting EMAS, the University of Klagenfurt took an essential step forward in environmental protection and environmental awareness while simultaneously introducing rolling improvement processes across its internal procedures. In recent years, the university has further consolidated, refined and professionalised these efforts. The environmental policy in line with EMAS enshrines a wide range of environmental goals at AAU: In addition to reducing our resource consumption, establishing resource-efficient and sustainable procurement and investment practices, the comprehensive and digitally supported dialogue between all members of the university allows us to link activities in the field of environmental protection and supports the beneficial advancement of the environmental management system at AAU. 

The university management recognises environmental protection as an integral part of its governance responsibilities and works to ensure that specific environmental goals are implemented across all functions and at all levels. In this way, the University of Klagenfurt aspires to anchor environmental goals on a lasting basis and to protect the environment. EMAS not only furthers these environmental goals, but it also challenges us as an organisation – and it does so on an ongoing basis. The legal basis for this is set out in the European EMAS Regulation, first published in 2009 and now applicable as EMAS III, and in the amended annexes issued as Regulations 2017/1505 and 2018/2026. Sustainability serves as the long-term guideline for all activities undertaken by the members of the University of Klagenfurt. Fully aligned with the spirit of Article 1 of the Austrian Universities Act, these extensive measures allow the institution to contribute “to the welfare of society and the environment”, not only through research and teaching, but through the totality of its actions as a modern and forward-looking university.

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