Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt: a sustainable university
Today, both our private lives and our professional lives are affected by the need to conserve natural resources and ensure an ‘intact’ environment. By implementing the EMAS (ECO Management and Audit Scheme) environmental management system, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt has undertaken to establish an environmental management process and to improve this in a consistent and evaluable manner. It is, therefore, the declared goal of AAU to operate within the framework of an active and comprehensive environmental policy, as well as to conduct research and offer teaching in a diverse range of subjects. Introducing EMAS constitutes a significant step for AAU in terms of environmental protection and raising environmental awareness and has also led to the integration of processes for ongoing improvement into internal procedures.
A series of different environmental goals are embedded in AAU’s EMAS-based environmental policy. In addition to reducing resource use and practising sustainable, resource-conserving procurement and investment, extensive dialogue between all members of the university will take place to link up all activities relating to environmental protection within the university and to further develop AAU’s environmental management system.
The University Management Team views protecting the environment as one of its most important responsibilities and ensures that environmental targets are set and implemented for all roles and levels. By doing this, we can ensure that the environment is protected through embedding sustainability within the university.
In October 2013, the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy awarded AAU five-year funding within the framework of the University Structural Funds Ordinance for the “University environmental management systems – their introduction and development” project. The overall objective of this initiative, which was started with the University of Salzburg, the University of Graz, Vienna University of Economics and Business and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, is to coordinate the introduction and development of an EMAS III EMS and other activities associated with environmental management and operational ecology.
AAU introduced an EMAS III environmental management system at the university in spring 2016. Since then, AAU has been working towards improving ecological awareness, promoting sustainable action and reducing emissions at the university. The system has also created a bridge between research being conducted into sustainability and energy management and environmental management itself as AAU departments conducting research in these areas will be integrated into the process. Students and staff will also be involved, in order to bring about changes in their behaviour in ways that will improve sustainability and benefit the environment.
The guiding principle of the environmental policy of the Alpen-Adria-Universität strives to protect vital natural resources, to make innovative contributions to the sustainable development of our society, and to ensure that – as a matter of course – environmental protection is firmly anchored in the thoughts and actions of all university members.