University Participates in Zero Emissions Day
The University of Turku participates in the Zero Emissions Day campaign organised by the Climate Leadership Coalition. The objective of the campaign is to give the Earth a fossil fuel free day and to address harmful emissions. Different aspects of sustainable development have also been highly prominent in the University’s strategic planning process. Already before the beginning of the new strategy period, the University’s carbon footprint is being determined and education on sustainable development advanced.
Zero Emissions Day is organised on 9 September 2019. The objective of the campaign is to make organisations contribute to preventing climate change both in their internal and their external operations.
The Me tehdään siistimmin competition for schools is organised as part of Zero Emissions Day. In the competition, pupils try to come up with ideas for preventing climate change. The University participates in Zero Emissions Day by offering a successful school class a visit to the University’s Botanic Garden in Ruissalo.
– The worldwide decrease in biodiversity and progression of climate change are the greatest global challenges of our time. Here in Turku, we have strong expertise in biodiversity research which makes us want to highlight the connection between climate change and biodiversity. The pupils of today are the decision-makers of tomorrow, so collaboration with schools is a great way to increase the effectiveness of our research, tells Director of the Biodiversity Unit Ilari Sääksjärvi, who is also a member of the Steering Group for Sustainable Development.
Sustainable Development Wanted as Comprehensive Theme in All Operations of the University
Having been functioning since the end of last year, the Steering Group for Sustainable Development is in charge of preparing policies and actions on sustainable development for the University’s new strategy.
– Our objective is to create an operational culture with sustainable development as a comprehensive theme in the University’s research, teaching, and impact as well as the everyday choices of the members of the University community. We go through the University’s everyday activities in relation to, for example, the facilities and travelling practises, tells Director of the Steering Group Mika Hannula.
The Steering Group has appointed two separate project groups which concentrate on developing the education on sustainable development and determining the University’s carbon footprint. The basis for the work of the latter group is the decision of the University Board to make the University carbon neutral by the end of 2025. Achieving this goal requires calculations on the current carbon footprint of the University’s premises and operations as well as a concrete plan for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and for the possible compensation.
– An important goal for both of these project groups is to determine ways to strengthen the national role and recognition of the University of Turku as a developer of climate solutions and education on climate change, says Vice Chair of the Committee, Director of Development Riitta Mustonen, who also represents the University in the working group for sustainable development and responsibility of the Universities Finland UNIFI.
Text: Marjaana Suorsa
Translation: Lotta Junnila