International – At the World Economic Forum last week, the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) in collaboration with the Global University Leader Forum (GULF) shared exemplary campus sustainability case studies provided by 30 of the world’s leading universities all focused on educating for sustainability.
In 2015 and 2016 we saw the ratification of the Paris Agreement and global acceptance of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that address issues that touch all of society and all sectors. “In our opinion, it is time for the academic community to seriously rethink and redefine its role in society and in sustainable development efforts.” say René Schwarzenbach, ISCN Board President, and Guido Schmidt-Traub, Executive Director, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) in a co-authored foreword for the report. “The global higher education sector has a tremendous opportunity to lead the world in sustainable development research, promotion of solutions, and support for implementation.”
By including sustainable development in the strategic goals for all their activities, universities can create an environment that promotes holistic education of all students. To complement professional and disciplinary education, they can expose students to the practical problems that must be solved in order to achieve the SDGs. They can foster the acquisition of critical, systems-oriented thinking as well as the ability to communicate with various stakeholders within and outside academia.
“This report is a testament to the work being done in the higher education sector to address sustainability issues globally and how we prepare students to take on these issues for the betterment of our society.” said Zena Harris, Executive Director, ISCN.
The ISCN understands that we need practical and applicable solutions to these global issues and partnerships to accelerate a holistic approach to sustainable development. We look forward to strengthening the relationships and knowledge exchange in our network and collaborating with organizations such as the SDSN and business to progress sustainable development and education.
The ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter was ratified in 2010 at the GULF meeting at the WEF. Since 2011, ISCN has contributed exceptional case studies to this group as part of its mission to provide a global forum for the exchange of information, ideas, and best practices for achieving sustainable campus operations and integrating sustainability into research and teaching.