Environmental management systems at universities - introduction and further development

Duration: 5 years. Start: November 2013 (or January 2014)

Universities involved in the project

  • University Klagenfurt
  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
  • University Graz
  • University Salzburg
  • WU Vienna

The universities involved in the project are members of the "Alliance for Sustainable Universities".

[Translate to English:] Teaserbild

In the administrative area, the sustainability concept of the alliance includes the coordinated introduction and further development of an environmental management system (EMAS stands for this in the following) and other networking activities in the area of environmental management/company ecology.


Project goals

 I.) Introduction and further development of EMAS

EMAS - introduction at the following universities:

  • University of Klagenfurt
  • University of Graz
  • University of Salzburg
  • WU Vienna

EMAS - further development: University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna

Mutual participation in internal audits and the following accompanying cross-university measures take place:

Accompanying measures

a) Competence center - bundling and networking of existing resources to create synergies and efficient action:

  • Best practice exchange and development on environmentally relevant topics;
  • Coordinated strategy and action development;
  • Use of scientifically proven assessment and monitoring instruments (including the AISHE tool);
  • Guidelines for improvement measures (e.g. "green offices", procurement, "green meetings", mobility management);
  • Joint training and further education (within the framework of the environmental team and affected groups of actors at the respective universities);
  • EMAS “follow-up meetings”.

b) Environmental impacts of universities - analysis of the current situation and measures to reduce it

As part of the as-is analysis, the universities assess their environmental impacts (direct/indirect). Measures to reduce them are jointly found and implemented:

  • Development of action plans and measures for reduction (e.g. in the area of waste, energy)
  • Active involvement of students / ÖH.

c) Lighthouse projects in the field of sustainable mobility, energy saving and solar energy, sustainable procurement and green meeting according to the means and the resulting synergies

II.) Exchange of knowledge and transfer of tasks with students

The participating universities also use the wide-ranging pool of student knowledge and innovative strength for the implementation of the joint project:

  • Students work on ecological tasks in the context of specific courses;
  • Quality assurance through academic supervision in the course (and through bachelor and master theses)

III.) Networking structures

Common infrastructure for coordinating the cooperation tasks:

  • Cross-university environmental team to control and coordinate the tasks in points I and II.
  • Use of new media (e.g.: "File sharing", WIKIs);
  • Communication group via a university-wide environmental team in the field of environmental management (best practice exchange, joint tenders, guidelines, external communication)

Synergy effects and efficiency

  • Cooperation and best practice examples lead to more efficient administrative processes;
  • Sharing of computer tools;
  • Increased and shorter learning curves through the exchange of experiences.
  • Joint acquisitions and tenders;
  • Greater bargaining power in joint activities;
  • Better external and internal impact when communicating environmentally relevant topics.

BOKU project activities: here.