Bringing KTH’s Environmental Performance to an Internationally Leading Level

University essay from KTH/Industriell ekologi

Author: André Wassberg; [2016]

Keywords: ;


This report analyses the types of international ratings/rankings available for universities to measure their sustainability performance. Sustainability has become an increasing topic of interest for universities to attract students as well as lowering their environmental footprint. The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) has in recent years focused on campus sustainability after being labeled as one of the worst environmental government institutions in Sweden according to ‘Naturvårdsverkets - Ranking of Environmental System in Authorities’ in 2008 and 2011. Sustainability implementations such as new policies and action plans for sustainability and environmental issues and ISO 14001 (implemented in 2015) has provided a platform for the university to reach its goal of being a leading university with regards to sustainability practices at campus and the institution as a whole. This goal is initiated from KTH’s 2027 Vision. In order to market itself as one of the best sustainability campuses in the world the university has to compare itself with high practice sustainable campuses around the world. As of 2016, KTH does not compare itself to international universities with regards to sustainability practices. One way to do this is to use international sustainability ratings/rankings.

This report analyses the two international ratings available today: UI GreenMetric and STARS Rating. The UI GreenMetric was launched in 2010 by the Universitas Indonesia and the STARS Rating started in 2010 and was first designed to rate universities across the United Stated but in recent years it has become international. The report analyzes the top 4 in each ranking as well as the top technical university in the rankings so a total of 10 universities are analyzed in this report. Contact has been made with each university's sustainability manager. All universities have praised the use of rankings and many have improved their sustainability practices due to participation in these rankings. According to different universities, the ratings have helped understand important stakeholder, benchmark the university to top sustainability institutions, help connect the sustainability policy towards the whole campus, help save money, etc.

The report also concludes that KTH is in a unique position with being the only university in the report to lease all of its buildings. KTH leases all of its buildings from Akademiska Hus (AH) and this report showcases that this makes sustainability harder with regards to sustainable building practices as KTH needs to collaborate with Akademiska Hus with regards to such issues. KTH needs to improve its collaboration with Akademiska Hus as well as improve future leasing contracts to achieve international recognized green building standards as the green building standard of ‘Miljöbyggnad’ is not enough if KTH wants to be internationally recognized. This report also gives examples to other sustainability practices which have proven to work at the other universities analyzed in this report that KTH can implement. KTH has a long way to go before being internationally recognized for its sustainability program but with implementations such as STARS Rating, improved collaboration with Akademiska Hus and improved data/statistic handling it can surely be on its way to competing with the best sustainability campuses around the world. 

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