Sustainability statement of the TU/e Executive Board
At Eindhoven University of Technology we are fully committed to sustainability. Global warming and climate change pose an unprecedented threat to our world. Therefore we are constantly taking new steps to increase our contribution to sustainability.
At Eindhoven University of Technology we are fully committed to sustainability. The reports from the IPCC are completely clear on the threat of global warming and climate change, which are taking place at an alarming rate. We are already witnessing the first disastrous consequences. This poses an unprecedented threat to our world and urgently calls for sustainable solutions. That’s why the strive for a sustainable world is the number one societal challenge that underlies our strategy. We feel the drive and urgency to help create a more sustainable world. TU/e is committed to this via its education, research and operations, and we are constantly taking new steps to increase our contribution. Driving forces in this are our sustainability ambassador and the GO Green Office, among others.
TU/e educates students to become engineers who are wholeheartedly motivated to work on large societal transitions and challenges. Our educational programs Sustainable Innovation and Sustainable Energy Technology have been running successfully for years. The dedication of our students to sustainability is illustrated by the string of successful student teams that are working on innovative and inspiring sustainability solutions. As of the academic year 2023/2024, we will start a fully revised Bachelor College. One of the main objectives is to embed the UN Sustainable Development Goals within the bachelor programs. Notably sustainability will be an important theme in Challenge Based Learning courses and other courses.
Science and technology of sustainability and circularity are key research subjects at TU/e, in a wide range of fields, including climate policy, solar panels, energy carriers, energy storage and smart grids. In 2020 we launched the Eindhoven Institute for Renewable Energy Systems, in which our energy research groups join forces with each other and with a wide range of external partners to create maximum impact. In addition we are proud that our researchers are relentlessly participating in the public debate on sustainability to help create awareness and to spread scientific knowledge.
TU/e has a long history of investing in sustainable operations. A key facility is the unique campuswide underground thermal energy storage system, which was installed in 2002. Since then TU/e has reduced its natural gas consumption by over 70 percent. New or renovated TU/e buildings are highly energy efficient and gas-free, like Atlas, which was the most sustainable education building worldwide in 2019. We have a sustainability vision in operations in place with clear targets on circularity, mobility, green campus and biodiversity and social sustainability and vitality. Tangible examples are our integral efforts to reduce, separate and recycle waste, the low traffic campus and the fully circular demolition of the Paviljoen building. Also we have a sustainability vision on procurement. In procurement we consider the whole supply chain, taking sustainability and social aspects into account.
Cooperation with industry is in the DNA of TU/e. It provides a myriad of benefits including an increased societal impact, better student development and the opportunity to address challenging research questions. The energy transition is the largest societal challenge ever, and it can only be addressed by joining forces as much as possible. Therefore we cannot afford to exclude strong R&D parties that can help create the sustainable solutions needed, including fossil fuel companies. Our cooperation with such partners has almost entirely shifted to renewable energy and the last fossil fuel related projects will end soon. Moreover the TU/e Executive Board has recently decided that all research with fossil fuel organizations will only relate to projects that contribute to renewable energy and sustainability. A robust review procedure will monitor this. In this context, TU/e will provide more detail in its annual reports on the industry income, to increase transparency.
Debate, discussion and freedom of expression are core elements of academia, notably at TU/e. We are proud that our students are engaged and make themselves heard on important subjects like sustainability. We value the inputs of our students, which has helped shape our sustainability approach. In our history, we have always given ample space to manifestations on the TU/e campus, within the limits of safety and respect for goods and persons, and will continue to do so in the future. To create clarity for all, TU/e is working on a manifestation protocol, based on these starting points.