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Liisa Rohweder Anne Virtanen

Activities for SD in higher education:

Education for SD in SD Values for SD strategies SD in management practices Research and development
for SD
for SD
SD in
for SD
Critical elements For SD: CONTEXT Integration Spatiality Time perspective MENTAL ASPECTS Value clarification Systemic thinking Critical
Critical elements
For SD:
Time perspective
Value clarification
Systemic thinking
Critical reflection
Motivation building
Cooperation &
Competence building for sustainable - Nature - Life support - Community
building for
Life support




Liisa Rohweder Anne Virtanen

The Baltic University Press, 008 Nina Printhouse, Uppsala ISBN 978-9-976494-3-8




Ingrid Karlsson

To the reader


Liisa Rohweder & Anne Virtanen



Liisa Rohweder & Anne Virtanen

. Strategies and Concepts of Education for Sustainable Development

Liisa Rohweder, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Finland

. Baltic Education – Connecting Education and Regional Sustainable Development

in the Baltic Sea Region


Paula Lindroos, Åbo Akademi University, Finland

.3 Sustainable Development – Some Challenges for the Higher Education Sector


Walter Leal Filho, TuTech Innovation, Germany



Liisa Rohweder & Anne Virtanen

. EMAS II in a Higher Educational Institution in Germany


Anke Zenker-Hoffmann, Markus Will & Bernd Delakowitz: University of Applied Sciences Zittau/ Goerlitz, and Walter Leal Filho: TuTech Innovation, Germany

. ISO 400 in a Higher Education Institution in Finland


Tove Holm & Kristina Sahlstedt, Sydväst University of Applied Sciences, Finland



Anne Virtanen & Liisa Rohweder

3. Experience on Sustainable Development in Higher Education in St.-Petersburg

in Russia


Victor Ionov & Ksenia Shelest, St.-Petersburg State University, Russia

3. Curriculum Reformation for Sustainable Development in Finland


Anne Virtanen, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland

  • 3.3 Methods to Teach Sustainability in a Business School in Germany


Anja Grothe & Miriam Schmeling, Berlin School of Economics, Germany

  • 3.4 The Role of Interdisciplinary Courses in Gaining Sustainable Education in Ukraine


Roman Zinko, Natalie Horal, Igor Lozovyj & Olexandr Makovejchuk, University of L´viv, Ukraine

  • 3.5 Ukrainian View to Ethics on the Way to Sustainable Development


Natalie Horal’, University of L’viv, Ukraine

  • 3.6 Dynamics of Sustainable Development – Karkonosze Mountains and Odra River

Valley in Poland

Karolina Królikowska, Piotr Magnuszewski & Jadwiga Magnuszewska, Centre for Systems Solutions, Wroclaw, Poland and Jan Sendzimir, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria

  • 3.7 Sustainable Development in Teacher Education in Estonia


Tiina Elvisto, Tallinn University & Imbi Henno, National Examination and Qualification Centre

  • 3.8 Preparing for an Oil Spill through Oil Combating Education in Finland


Liisa Rohweder, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Finland







Anne Virtanen & Liisa Rohweder

4. Planning and Implementing of Local Ecological Action Programmes (LEAP)

for the town of Zhovkva in Western Ukraine


Iryna Kriba & Yuriy Zin’ko, Ivan Franko National University of L’viv, in Ukraine

4. The Working Group ”Sustainable Settlement Development” – an Instrument of Participation within the Framework of Rural Settlement Development in the

Biosphere Reserve Schorfheide-Chorin in Germany


Juergen Peters & Kerstin Greve, University of Applied Sciences Eberswalde, Germany, and Uwe Graumann & Sabine Pohl, Biosphere Reserve Schorfheide-Chorin, Germany

4.3 Implementation of Policy Tools for Sustainable Forest Management in Estonia


Paavo Kaimre, Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonia

4.4 The Educational-Scientific Centre as a New Possibility for Promoting Sustainable

Development in Karelia, Russia


Tatjana Regerand & Nikolay Filatov, Northern Water Problems Institute, Russia




Liisa Rohweder and Anne Virtanen





The declaration of the years 005-04 as a Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (for reference see the introduction by the editors of this book) by the United Nations General Assembly was a strong reconfirmation of the impor- tance and appropriateness of the Baltic University Programme (BUP) activities. BUP started already 4 years before this declaration, in 99. The network of to- day has an extraordinary implementation strength with its more than 0 network members of academic institutions in 4 countries. The merge with The Baltic Sea Sustainable Development Network (BSSDN) has further increased the strength of both networks and is a basis for an even stronger capacity to develop courses, workshops, seminars and conferences on education for a sustainable development. The book you now have in your hand, or on your computer screen, is the result of practical work of both networks mentioned. It displays examples of sustainable management practices, some course planners´ initial visions, teacher´s practical lec- tures and out of classroom activities, students struggle to gain knowledge as well as research and development work for sustainability. We believe that it is a unique first step towards fruitful discussions and developments about WHAT sustainable development in higher education could be in reality. The examples given show that there are some features that education for sustainable development have in common: a strong urge to include interdisciplinary issues, the inclusion of true par- ticipatory methods of learning, and the acknowledgement that Nature/Ecosystems give frames or limits to man´s activities. As usual with book projects within the Baltic region networks, authors come from all parts of the region. Without their enthusiasm and commitment this book would never have been written. The BUP secretariat wants to acknowledge the hard work put into this book by the authors and the two editors, Liisa Rohweder and Anne Virtanen. We look forward to meet and discuss with you on how the ideas in this book could be further developed, and wish you an interesting reading!

Ingrid Karlsson, PhD The Baltic University Programme


To the reader

This publication, and the project underlying behind it, is the first joint outcome of the two regional networks promoting sustainable development in higher educa- tion in the Baltic Sea region. These networks are the Baltic University Programme (BUP) and the Baltic Sea Sustainable Development Network (BSSDN). BUP has totally more than 80 participating higher education institutions in the network and BSSDN 35 institutions. Both networks support the regional and international strategies for sustainable development, such as the Baltic E programme and the UN Decade for education for sustainable development 005-04. The driving forces for the networks are a common concern for the region and a common inter- est to enhance sustainable development as well in teaching and learning as also in regional development and research. The basic idea for this development project was to join the forces of the two networks and to enhance and stimulate dialogue among the partners of the two networks in order to convey common awareness of the state-of-the-art and the best practices relating to management practices and to education and research in the field of sustainable development. The broad purpose of the project was to increase the understanding about the challenges underlying for sustainable development. In ad- dition, the aim was to raise innovative solutions to stimulate further actions through increasing the relevance of teaching and research for the societal processes leading to more sustainable patterns of life and through improving the quality and efficiency of teaching and research. The general aims for this project arise thus from the global, re- gional and local strategies and concepts of sustainable development and, in particular, from strategies and concepts for education for sustainable development. This publication is the outcome of the project described above. The publication is divided to five sections. The first one, “Enhancing Sustainable Development”, starts with an article which gives an outlook of the strategies and policies for sustainable development in general and in specific in the Baltic Sea region. The two other chapters of this part of the book raise the importance of networking. The second theme of the publication, ”Sustainable Development in Management Practices”, looks at management systems promoting sustainable development in higher education institutions. Two proactive examples of integrating sustainable development into management practices are given in this part of the book. The third part, “Teaching and Learning for Sustainable Development”, concentrates on eight pedagogical ex- amples from all around the Baltic Sea region. In the fourth section, “Research and Development Projects Promoting Sustainable Development”, the focus is on how re- search and development can be included as part of the learning process needed in the transformation for a sustainable future. The publication concludes with a section “Innovative Solutions”. The content of that section is based on the critical factors and innovative solutions for sustainable development in higher education that the project participants have raised in their articles and on the results of the two collaborative and cooperative knowledge building workshops which were or- ganized as part of the project.


Several experts on sustainable development have contributed to this publication, either by producing an article or by participating in the workshops. The project idea was launched in the seminars organized by the Baltic University Programme (Borki Molo, Poland 21-25 March 2006) and by the Baltic Sea Sustainable Development Network (Pskov, Russia 4-6 September 2006). After the seminars the experts in- terested in joining the project presented their ideas for possible articles to describe successful practices for sustainable development in higher education. Experts from different countries were encouraged to formulate writing teams for sharing the opinions and learning together. Individual experts and the teams formulated by several experts were free to proceed with the accepted ideas, and thus, the opinions and the proceedings presented in the articles are the writers’ own. This is of special importance as there is no universal definition of sustainable development, nor a universal model of how to promote sustainable development in higher education, but it is of highest importance to open the eyes for solutions arising from multiple cultural surroundings. Based on the outcomes of the articles two constructive workshops were organ- ized to conceptualize the ideas presented in them. The first workshop was organized in Lodz, Poland (20-24 May 2007) and the other in Neubrandenburg, Germany (10-12 October 2007). Participants of the workshops were the writers and other experts joining the conferences. Totally 22 experts joined the first workshop and 19 the second one. We hope our publication will incite a lively discussion on the challenges of pro- moting sustainable development in higher education in general and in specific in teaching and research and development groups of different institutions all around the Baltic Sea Region. Sustainable development is an ongoing process, and thus the ideas presented in this publication should not be seen as definite solutions to any of the problems but as starting points for further fruitful development work. Our role as project leaders has been to build a general framework for the project, search for project partners and to produce a fruitful and open-minded atmosphere for workshops and finally draw up the conclusions based on the articles and work- shops. Our sincere thanks go to all individual experts that have contributed to the contents of this publication either by producing an article or by contributing to the workshops. Special thanks belong to the Baltic University Programme, The Baltic Sea Sustainable Network, coordinated by Novia University of Applied Sciences & The Finnish National Resource Centre for ESD in higher Education, coordinated by Åbo Akademi University (both funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education), Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences and Laurea University of Applied Sciences for making this project posssible by offering the facilities needed and for financing this joint book project.

Helsinki, 25.10.2007

Liisa Rohweder and Anne Virtanen Joint Project Managers



Liisa Rohweder & Anne Virtanen

The starting points for this project arise from the global, regional an local strate- gies and concepts of education for sustainable development and from the aims of the Baltic University Programme and the Baltic Sea Sustainable Development Network as well as from the overall aims and challenges for promoting sustainable development through networking. In this part of the publication the chapters are arranged under three themes. As the first theme Liisa Rohweder addresses the framework of educational policy. In the chapter the main strategies and concepts underlying sustainable development are briefly presented. As a practical exam- ple of launching policy statements into practice Finland’s national strategy for the United Nation’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) will be shortly described. The strategy is the first national DESD strategy in the whole of Europe, and thus, it hopefully serves as a stimulating example for other coun- tries. As the second theme Paula Lindroos writes about the implementation of the Baltic E programme through networking. In the chapter both the Baltic University Programme and the Baltic Sea Sustainable Development Network are described and the importance of cooperation between these two networks is addressed. Cooperation within such all-encompassing networks would combine academic research and applied projects in a fruitful way, and sustainable develop- ment could be enhanced both in research and in practice when implementing regional development. In the last chapter of this part of the book Walter Leal Filho outlines some of the challenges to sustainability in tertiary education and research bodies. The paper outlines seven challenges of the action needed to reach a ”velvet reform” of higher education, orienting it towards sustainable development. These challenges, which are also underlined in the development project in hand, are:

Challenge : Intensifying the dialogue on sustainability Challenge : Increasing the participation of staff Challenge 3: The dissemination of information and best practices Challenge 4: Combining legal and regulatory requirements Challenge 5: Involving and linking the administration and institutional organisation Challenge 6: Raising support from the top Challenge 7: Ensuring continuity of the work.

Hopefully, this publication will assist higher education institutions to find and pursue the path of sustainability according to the seven challenges. However, based


on both the complexity of sustainability issues and its wide scope, the promotion of sustainable development in the context of education as well as in research and development is not a simple task. As Walter Leal Filho puts it: “There are many challenges that are yet to be met”. For these challenges there need to be guiding poli- cies and strategies as well as networks promoting the distribution of knowledge and common understanding of the multitude character of sustainable development.


1.1 Strategies and Concepts of Education for Sustainable Development

Liisa Rohweder, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Finland

Having been in the political agenda for more than 30 years, sustainable development can finally be seen as an important issue on international, regional and national agendas in education policies. In this chapter the most remarkable policy guiding conferences will be first described. After that regional strategies, such as the Baltic E Programme and the Finnish National Strategy of Education for Sustainable Development, will be outlined as they have played an important role as the frame- work for this project as well.

The international framework for sustainable development

For the first time, problems caused by unbridled development were discussed on a global level at the UN conference in Stockholm 97. This meeting raised the en- vironmental concern on the international political agenda. On the agenda were e.g. air and water pollution, the use of natural resources as well as environmental educa- tion and communication. During the 970’s the main focus was on environmental issues. The shift from a concern for the environment to a concern for a sustain- able development was a result of the foundation of the UN World Commission on Environment and Development in 983. The commission raised new themes for discussion. Such themes were e.g. sustainable use of natural resources, threats towards biodiversity, the question of equity and the justice of resources, issues about participation and democracy, the economic dimensions of sustainability in- cluding the poverty related issues in the developing countries and the value basis of sustainability. Four years after its foundation, in 987, the commission pub- lished its famous report “Our Common Future” (Brundtland, 987), the so called “Brundtland Report”. The report launched the most commonly quoted definition of sustainable development:

Sustainable development is development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. From an edu- cation point of view the following argument in the prologue was of the greatest importance: ”The changes in attitudes, in social values, and in aspirations that the report urges will depend on vast champagnes of education, debate and public participation”.

However, the definition of sustainable development given in the Brundtland re- port is not easy to operationalise (see e.g. Lindroos & Cantell, 007: 90). Difficulties appear especially about the integration of the environmental, socio-cultural and

economical pillars of sustainable development. Most definitions characterize sus- tainable development as an adjustment of the three relationships (Judes, 005: 97; Lindroos & Cantell, 007: 90):

The connection between human needs and nature’s capacity

The connection between the needs of the poor and the rich (problem of

intra-generational equity) The connection between the needs of the present and those of the future generations (problem of inter-generational equity).

Figure illustrates the integrated approach to sustainable development and pinpoints the present discourses of the realization of sustainable development, namely the value base and the global ethics as well as intra- and inter generational equity. The Brundtland Report paved the way for the next meeting, which was United Nation’s Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in 99. The concrete outcome of the conference was the Agenda declaration and action plan. An important outcome of the conference was the shift from only identifying environmental and societal problems to trying to find solutions to them. The 36th chapter of Agenda (Agenda , 99) is devoted to education, which offers an excellent starting point for education for sustainable development. The chapter begins as follows:

Education is critical for promoting sustainable development (…) Both formal and non-formal education are indispensable to changing people’s attitudes so that they have the capacity to assess and address their sustainable development concerns.”

The next United Nations’s conference on sustainable development was held in Johannesburg in 00. In Johannesburg the interconnectedness of ecological, socio- cultural and economical sustainability was the main theme and the emphasis was on implementation. In addition to environmental issues for the first time also the societal dimension of sustainable development was given a special emphasis. It was recognized that without cooperation between all actors in society the way to a more sustainable world can never be reached. The Summit also stressed the importance of regional development and cooperation. As a concrete outcome of the Johannesburg Summit for the education sector the United Nations General Assembly declared years 005-04 as a Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (UNECE Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development, 005). The decade is coor- dinated on an international level by UNESCO, which in turn lays the foundations for national actions. The aim is that UNESCO supports states and organizations in planning and implementing their own plans to further sustainable development. However, UNESCO does not offer a generic and universe action plan, as it sees that fostering sustainable development has to do with local social, cultural, economic and ecological circumstances (Lindroos & Cantell, 007: 89).

Social sustainability Values Global thinking Intra- and inter- generality Economic sustainability Ecological sustainability Cultural sustainability
Global thinking
Intra- and inter-

Figure . The holistic and integrated approach to sustainable development.

Education for sustainable development in the Baltic Sea region

The Baltic Sea region can be mentioned as a proactive region in promoting sus- tainable development on a regional level. The Baltic Sea region has been acting towards sustainable development on a political regional level since 998, when Baltic Programme was launched (Agenda for the Baltic Sea Region – Baltic , 998). The Baltic Programme can be seen as an implementation of Agenda for the Baltic Sea region and later also for the Johannesburg Summit – the “Plan of Implementation” and the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Development. The aim of the Baltic Programme is to promote sustainable development in all the countries around the Baltic Sea. The Programme is divided into three parts, which are joint actions addressing issues concerning several sectors, selected sector actions addressing sector specific issues, and spatial planning actions addressing spatial planning issues. Sectoral actions focus on agriculture, energy, fisheries, for- ests, industrial, tourism and transport sectors (Agenda for the Baltic Sea Region – Baltic , 998). From the education point of view special importance lies in the Baltic E Programme, which is a Baltic Agenda sub-programme on education. The Baltic E Programme was launched in 00 (An Agenda for Education in the Baltic Sea Region – Baltic E, 00). The aim of that specific programme is to develop the educational systems of the Baltic Sea region so that the various dimensions of sustainable development become a natural and permanent component of the education systems, including non-formal education. The Baltic E Programme also contains goals and actions for research and development. The Baltic University Programme as well as the Baltic Sea Sustainable Develop- ment Network can be seen as concrete networks focusing on the launching of the Baltic E Programme.


Baltic 21 E Programme UNECE ESD Strategy Copernicus Charter The Finnish National Strategy of Education for
Baltic 21 E Programme
UNECE ESD Strategy
Copernicus Charter
The Finnish National Strategy of Education for Sustainable Development
Guidelines for Finland's strategy for the
Decade of Education for Sustainable Development
Proposal for implementation
Basic and
Liberal and
upper secondary

Figure . The Finnish National Strategy for SD in a political framework (Adapted from Sustainable develop- ment in education…, 006).

The Finnish national strategy of education for sustainable development

The aforementioned international and regional programmes can be concretized with national strategies. In Finland, the committee on education for sustainable development set up by the Ministry of Education wrote a launching plan for the Finnish Baltic E Programme in 00, and an action plan for the education sector was put together in 006. These documents were used as starting points for the national strategy for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable development (DESD). The Finnish DESD policy comprises the following elements (Sustainable development in education…, 006):

The promotion of SD (including sustainable consumption and production)

in education at all levels) Institutional commitment at policy, steering and practical levels


Ethical and integrated approach: all activities address the ecologic, economic, social and cultural considerations as mutually supporting dimensions


Integration: the SD outlook is included in all activities


Staff development training




Dissemination of information


Increased networking and other cooperation


Participation: empowerment of citizens


Research, postgraduate and continuing education programmes

The utilization of innovation.


Global, regional and local agendas for SD: - DESD - Baltic 21E - National strategies etc.
for SD:
Baltic 21E
needs for

1. Values of the institution

4. SD for 3. SD in curriculum Pedagogy Research and development actitivies in the field of
3. SD in curriculum
Research and development
in the field of SD
Nominated professor
or a principal lecturer

2. SD in operative level of all activities

Knowledge Sustainable Action future
Global, regional and local agendas for SD: - DESD - Baltic 21E - National strategies etc.

Figure 3. The main components of the Finnish national strategy for sustainable development.

In order to enhance the targets set by the UN and Baltic E programme, the Finnish Ministry of Education launched a national strategy for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development as the first national DESD strategy in the whole of Europe (Sustainable development in education…, 006). Also the University Charter for Sustainable Development, the so called Copernicus Charter, is one of the backbones of the strategy. In the Copernicus Charter over 00 European universities commit themselves to enhance SD e.g. by promoting sustainable consumer behavior and ecological responsibility. Figure illustrates the Finnish National Strategy of education for sustainable development (ESD) from an education policy perspective. According to the strategy the vision for the Finnish education system is that all individuals can contribute to sustainable development which satisfies the needs of today’s populations without jeopardizing the possibilities of future generations to satisfy theirs. The promotion of ESD is founded on a holistic view of develop- ment, which addresses the ecologic, economic, social and cultural dimensions. It also presses the importance of values, global ethics and the problems underlying in intra and inter generality. As from the higher education perspective, the Finnish National Strategy for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development is illustrated in Figure 3. The backbones for the strategy are the aforementioned political statements. In practice, the strategy states that higher education institutions should include the niche of sustainable development into the value statements as well as into the vision and strategy – and operate accordingly. That is to say that the idea of sus- tainable development should be integrated both into management systems and into curriculum and research and development work with the aim of empowering sustainability in the society around the educational institutions.


According to the Finnish strategy of ESD special emphasis should be set to the cooperation in the Baltic Sea region. Thus, the strategy can be seen as an impor- tant promoter for this project as well. Accordingly the strategy has guided the framework of this book project and hopefully it will serve as a good example of a concrete way of promoting SD for other countries as well.


Agenda , 99. ( October


An Agenda for the Baltic Sea Region – Baltic , 998. Baltic Series No /98. http:// ( October 007) An Agenda for Education in the Baltic Sea Region – Baltic E, 00. http://www.baltic. org/attachments/no00_education_sector_report.pdf ( October 007) Brundtland, G. (ed.), 987. Our common future: The World Commission on Environment and Development. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Jüdes, U., 005. Towards a culture of sustainability. In: Leal Filho, W. (ed.), Communicating sustainability, 97-3. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main. Lindroos, P. & Cantell, M., 007. Education for Sustainable Development in a Global Perspective. In: Kaivola, T. & Melen-Paaso, M. (eds.), Education for Global Responsibility – Finnish Perspectives, 85-96. Publications of the Ministry of Education 007: 3. Helsinki University Press, Helsinki. Sustainable development in education; Implementing of Baltic E Programme and Finnish strategy for the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (005-04), 006. Reports of the Ministry of Education, Finland, 006: 6. dex.html ( October 007) UNECE Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development, 005. documents/005/cep/ac.3.005.3.rev.e.pdf ( October 007)


1.2 Baltic 21 Education – Connecting Education and Regional Sustainable Development in the Baltic Sea Region

Paula Lindroos, Åbo Akademi University, Finland

The Baltic does not separate us — it joins us together, the Finnish President Tarja

Halonen said in her New Year speech on January st, 008. And the President

continued: “At the same time, the Baltic Sea is the biggest environmental problem in

our own neighbourhood. We in the countries bordering the Baltic have a lot to gain by

addressing it, but also share a lot of responsibility


For my own part, I have wanted to

invite and encourage the nations of the Baltic to join in this cooperation. Prime Minister

Matti Vanhanen and I have sent a letter concerning this matter to the heads of state of

the countries bordering the Baltic Sea. I hope that visible political commitment will be

made to support the practical action required” (Halonen, 008).

This concern for the environmental situation for the Baltic Sea as well as for the

economic and social development of the Baltic Sea region were also on the agenda

on 3th September, 007, as a high level meeting of the Council of the Baltic Sea

States (CBSS) was held in Riga under the auspices of the Latvian Presidency. The

main objectives of the meeting focused on the role and possible contribution of

higher education and science in the promotion of sustainable development and

competitiveness in the Baltic Sea region.

In the discussions representatives from the Ministries of Education and Science

from the Member States of the CBSS; Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia,

Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden reflected on the best ongoing prac-

tices as well as current and future challenges in the field of higher education and

science. Moreover, the meeting agreed that education is an area for concerted ac-

tion and improvement if the Baltic Sea region wants to meet the challenges and

use the opportunities of globalization, thus promoting the implementation of the

Lisbon Strategy goals.

In cooperation with the CBSS, the Baltic , or the Agenda for the Baltic

Sea Region, is advancing sustainable development in the region. The Baltic

Education sector was launched in 00 together with a strategy for education for

sustainable development (ESD). The Education sector has enhanced the work for

national strategies, action plans and curriculum development on ESD.

The Decade for ESD 2005–2014 and the Baltic 21E strategy

Based on a recommendation from the Johannesburg Summit in 00, the UN

General Assembly proclaimed a consensus in December 00 a United Nation

Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) 005–04, with

UNESCO as the lead agency to promote the Decade. In his follow-up report on


Agenda in 00, the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan writes: “Education

should provide students with the skills, perspectives, values, and knowledge to live

sustainably in their communities. It should be interdisciplinary, integrating concepts

and analytical tools from a variety of disciplines. Few successful working models

of education programmes for sustainable development currently exist” (Annan,


The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Strategy

on Education for Sustainable Development, a DESD for Europe, was adopted in

March 005 in Vilnius, Lithuania. This European DESD has been “constructed”

along the lines of the strategy for ESD adopted by the countries participating in the

Baltic – the regional agenda process for the BSR.

The implementation of the Baltic 21E strategy

The Baltic Sea region is the first region in the world that has adopted common

regional goals for sustainable development. These goals pave the road towards the

region’s sustainability and include an overall goal, goals for each of the eight Baltic

sectors and a goal for spatial planning. The east – west responsibility axis, sector

targets and sector implementation provide the foundation for the realisation of

ambitious goals. The emphasis is on regional co-operation, and the work is focused

on seven economic sectors (agriculture, energy, fisheries, forests, industry, tourism

and transport) as well as on spatial planning and, since 00, on education.

On March 3–4, 000, the Ministers of Education of the countries met in

Stockholm at the Haga palace, and as declared in the Haga Declaration, the

Ministers agreed to develop and implement an Agenda for Education in the

Baltic Sea Region, and to recommend the Prime Ministers at the Baltic Sea State

Summit on April -3, 000 in Kolding, Denmark, to enter Education as an ad-

ditional sector of crucial importance for sustainable development in the region.

Sector goals and actions were subsequently developed and included in the ”Agenda

for Education in the Baltic Sea Region – Baltic E” adopted by the CBSS

Ministers of Education in January 00.

Since then the UNECE has developed an ESD-strategy for the Decade for

Education for Sustainable Development. This strategy – which is congruent with

the Baltic E programme – was adopted in Vilnius in March 005. The work in

the education sector is coordinated by a Baltic Education Sector Co-ordinating

Group. Lead Parties were during the first years Sweden and Lithuania, and since

July 005, Finland and Lithuania together lead the process.

Main objectives of the Baltic 21E

The sector goals indicate how the development of the sector should contribute to

the objectives of the overall goal and to sustainable development in the Baltic Sea

Region (,3#goal):


Overall goal for education: All individuals should have competence to support a

sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising

on the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Education for sustain-

able development should be based on an integrated approach to economic, societal

and environmental development.

Goal for schools: The individual learner should have the knowledge, values and

skills to be active, democratic and responsible citizens and to participate in decisions

at individual, as well as at different levels within society, locally and globally, to

contribute to creating a sustainable society. Learners in vocational education should

also have skills and competencies relevant to their future professions.

Goal for higher education: The individual learner should have such skills and compe-

tence relevant to their future professions and future roles as decision-makers. Higher

education should also play an active role locally, nationally, and internationally in

enhancing knowledge and action competence regarding sustainable development

through research and education in cooperation with surrounding society

Goal for non-formal education: Learners are capable of influencing their life situa-

tion, taking part in societal development, and are aware of sustainable development

and learning for sustainable development

The vision is that these goals will be achieved by 05, when the UN DESD



The emphasis of the Baltic Education sector programme is on strengthening the

capacity of knowledge building. The Action Programme for the Education Sector

is divided into a framework of action areas, which are common to the whole sector


Policies and strategies – include the development of education of sustainable

development guidelines and promotion of international co-operation for

curricula, program and course development at all levels of education;

Competence development within the education sector including actions to

increase the awareness of sustainable development issues among officials,

principals and staff, to support co-operation in BSR between educators,

researchers and practitioners to promote knowledge and skills in education

for sustainable development;

Continuing education which includes sustainability related knowledge and


Teaching and learning resources such as stimulate the production of educa-

tion for sustainable development material for schools, higher education and


Research on and development of education for sustainable development as well

as stimulate the dissemination of results of research on issues concerning.


Results and evaluation

The Baltic E programme aims at making sustainable development considerations

a natural and permanent part of the education systems in the Baltic Sea region. The

first step has been to develop national implementation plans for the programme in

each country and to identify elements and projects for common work. Financing of

the implementation is the responsibility of each country. Many of the proposed ac-

tions can be incorporated into ongoing development work in the education sector,

as ESD is not seen as an additional issue, but adds a new quality to education.

The implementation of the Baltic E has started in the eleven countries con-

cerned and with the primary aim to include ESD at the national level. Most countries

have introduced elements of sustainability in their educational laws or equivalent

documents, in pre-, primary, upper secondary and formal adult education. Higher

education is by nature autonomous which is why the inclusion of SD cannot be en-

forced in the same way as for other educational levels. At other levels of education

most countries have introduced SD in the curricula or equivalent documents for

education. Teachers´ education and interaction between educational institutions

and society are also aspects that have been analysed. Countries with decentralized

(or similar) educational systems, like Germany and Russia, encounter problems in

theses comparisons. When the ESD is rooted in the national systems it becomes

fruitful to continue at the regional level, and the work will build on the work of

existing EE and ESD networks in the region.

The implementation work started in 00. Most countries have translated the

BalticE strategy into their national languages. National intergovernmental bod-

ies have been set up in many countries and development of national actions plans

are under way. There remains work to be done regarding networking with other

actors in society. One of the strengths e.g. in Finland is that ESD is included as one

of the themes in the national core curricula for primary and secondary education.

The weakness is, however, that the national core curricula must be implemented in

the municipalities and the local schools and here the teachers are in a key position;

there would be an urgent need to strengthen the position of ESD in the Finnish

teacher training in order for us to meet this challenge.

In higher education the Baltic Sea regional university network, the Baltic

University Programme (, can be used as a resource for ESD

both for international, regional and national purposes. The Programme activities

include the production of new courses and study materials. A special website dedi-

cated to ESD is also maintained (

We know already know that our biggest challenge for the future relate to the

need to increase the commitment to ESD of key stakeholders, such as politicians,

high level civil servants, professors and teachers at all levels of the educational

system. More commitment is needed in order to be able to fund and also find time

both in the curricula and in the teacher’s time schedule for ESD activities in the


The Finnish vision and strategic lines for ESD in the education system are based

on national education policy documents, the Baltic E programme, the ESD strat-


egy of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and the

University Charters for Sustainable Development. It is no exaggeration to say that

the promotion of sustainable development is an integral part of the objectives of

Finland’s education policy.

Universities for sustainability

The above mentioned CBSS high level meeting also expressed support to the ac-

tivities of the Baltic University Programme as a focal point in the region for higher

education on sustainable development. The Programme has made valuable contri-

butions through courses and projects since 99 when the first satellite mediated

course was produced. The Programme has developed into one of the largest uni-

versity networks and it focuses on regional aspects of sustainability, with the Baltic

Sea region in the forefront. National centres in all BSR countries coordinate the

activities and participate in the development of the Programme together with the

coordinating secretariat at Uppsala University. Over the years the centres have de-

veloped considerable expertise in sustainable development. Strengthening of these

centres in each country would be an important task in order to increase impact and

visibility of ESD in higher education. Finland has – as a forerunner – supported the

centre with project funding since 004.

UNESCO does not offer a ready-made, universally applicable plan of action for

the implementation of the DESD, as sustainable development is intricately tied to

local social, cultural, economic and ecological circumstances. Generally speaking,

one can say that in order to learn about sustainable development one must be

acquainted with several different branches of science. Learning about sustainable

development is guided by a principle of organizing science and at the same time

focusing on the problem solving capabilities of the students. Sustainability science

is often defined as a systems study, where the system to be studied is the nature-

society system. Therefore education needs to emphasize a systems understanding,

in parallel with management skills, handling of conflicting interests and ethics.

According to the traditional division in academic institutions, however, research

which is multi- or interdisciplinary becomes even more problematic than multi- or

interdisciplinary education. The first problem is the divide between the cultures

of different disciplines. This cultural gap is wider the longer the distance between

the academic disciplines is. The second gap is between research and application,

where traditions and systems for cooperation with the surrounding society often

are lacking.

Easy to agree on is the fact that the most central position in the education strat-

egy for sustainable development is the improvement of the human capital and that

this is a prerequisite for all other sustainable development strategies.

The CBSS high level meeting in Riga considered the role of higher education

most important in the sectors of resource, energy and demand management, sus-

tainable production and development, all subjects which are essential to meet the

global challenges. At the same time higher education institutions should also in-

crease their role and responsibility towards sustainable development and act as

models of sustainable development by implementing and promoting principles of

sustainable development.


Annan, K., 004. Education for sustainable development. Conference proceedings. Learning to change our world. Göteborg 4-7.5.004. Baltic – an Agenda for the Baltic Sea Region. Baltic Education sector goals.,3#goal Baltic Education sector action programme.,3#action Baltic University Programme. Baltic University Programme webpage for ESD. Halonen, T., 008. We need to share responsibility for the Baltic Sea. The President´s New Year Speech ..008.

1.3 Sustainable Development – Some Challenges for the Higher Education Sector

Walter Leal Filho, TuTech Innovation, Germany

Much has been said and written about the subject issue of sustainable development

and about the implementation of sustainability principles into higher education.

Sustainability is no longer seen as a vague concept or issue, but as a matter of global

and real concern. This degree of evolution has been especially visible in Europe,

where the subject matter of sustainable development is one of the scientific issues

listed in Europe´s Framework Programmes (FPs). Both in FP6 (000-006) and now

in FP7 (007-03), several hundred million Euros are earmarked to sustainability

research, whose topics spread across many (traditional) fields. However, based on

both the complexity of sustainability issues and its wide scope, the promotion of

sustainable development in the context of university programmes, research or ex-

tension work is not a simple task. There are challenges that are yet to be met.

This paper will outline some of the challenges to sustainability to Universities,

Colleges and other tertiary education and research bodies. It will also consider their

impact to current attempts to establish a sustainability thinking in the context of

mainstream university programmes.


Unless one was living in a remote area, without any connection to the outside

world for the past 5 years or so, it would be difficult not to have heard of the UN

Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro,

Brazil in 99 or the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in

South Africa in 00. The main outcomes of these events, namely Agenda (UN,

99) and the Obuntu Declaration are also well known and have placed the con-

cept of ”sustainability” and the term ”sustainable development” in the international

scientific debate.

Yet, the extent to which sustainability as both a concept and as a goal has been

formally and seriously discussed in higher education is still limited. This poses a ques-

tion as to whether or not, twenty-five years after Rio, the higher education sector will

eventually catch-up with the scientific thinking that some of its own employees (i.e.

research assistants and professors) promote and as to whether, one day, sustainability

will be part of academic life, just like evaluation and quality of teaching are.

Throughout this paper, instead of using the definition of the Brundtland

Commission, which states that sustainable development entails a wise use of natural

resources today so that they are available for future generation (Brundtland, 987),

a specific definition of sustainable development at university level is proposed:


Sustainable development at university level may be defined as the set of measures put

into place to ensure that the various activities carried out as part of the university busi-

ness are ecologically sound, environmentally conscious and socially just.

According to this definition, the higher education sector should stop conducting

its activities through irrational waste of paper, energy and other resources – which

in the end cost them a great deal of money – moving instead towards financial,

accountancy and purchase policies which minimise their already significant impact

on the use of environmental resources.

Current trends

Excepting perhaps for financial and political changes – or reforms as it is the case

of the debates which take place from time to time in universities round the world

– few themes give reason for as heated a debate as the question of whether or not

to make universities work on a sustainable way. One reason for this is the fact that

the concept of sustainability does not find yet wide acceptance as a concept per se,

since it is commonly seen as:


Unrelated to the curriculum or, at best, difficult to fit in the curriculum


Difficult to integrate to good management practice




Implies in expensive measures.

This state of affairs happens parallel to the fact that expressions such as sus-

tainability is frequently seen as competing with terms such as environmental

conservation, already fairly well-established in some professions. These views,

which reflect all but a few of the negative items usually mentioned when one

refers to sustainability at universities, are progressively changing for at an increas-

ing number of universities. Sustainable development at university level is not only

increasingly been seen as ethically correct, but also makes financial sense both on a

European wide context (Commission of the European Communities, 99) and at

the higher education sector (Candy & Crebert, 99; Leal Filho, 00; 005; Leal

Filho & Carpenter, 006).

Back to 99, a government-appointed panel in the United Kingdom was

commissioned to perform an analysis of the ways through which environmental

education and sustainability was practised in universities. The panel came up with

a set of useful recommendations, which were summarised in a document titled

”Environmental Responsibility: an Agenda for Further and Higher Education”

(HMSO, 99) and a proposed time-table for action. After the given deadline, a

follow-up analysis of progress was undertaken and a number of projects developed.

Despite the fact that developments have been seen in some areas, the overriding

majority of universities took little or no action at all in implementing the panel’s


recommendations. The same applied to the various documents that followed it. A

question one may ask is: how come that such good ideas and suggestions have been

virtually ignored by so many universities?

The answer to the question posed by the above experience, which is as actual to-

day as it was back to 99 and which can be compared to other examples elsewhere

in Europe is not easy, since there are various factors which may have negatively

influenced the process. Part of the problem in finding acceptance to sustainability

measures today is the fact that some of them are perceived to be translated into

expenditures. This is the case across Europe today. Since there are often no finan-

cial incentives for action and no penalties for not taking action, in other words no

carrots and no sticks, some universities have preferred to adopt the wait and see

approach, instead of actively getting involved with sustainability efforts.

It does not have to be like that. The literature contains many examples of ini-

tiatives aimed at implementing a sustainable development dimension as part of

university programmes (e.g. Leal Filho et al., 996). Despite the various approaches

illustrated in such publications, there are some basic problems which still remain.

One of them is the difference between classical and current approaches to sustain-

ability. Table illustrates some of these approaches, pointing out at the same time

to their future directions.

It has to be acknowledged that similarly to what happens in other fields, sustain-

able development is an ever-changing field, whose evolution is strongly influenced

by a combination of social, political, economic and indeed environmental events.

Research into aspects of sustainability therefore, need to consider these elements

in an integrated way and not in separate as has happened before.

Table . Traditional and modern views of sustainability in higher education.


Traditional view

Modern view



High and on the increase

Usefulness of sustainability


Very important

Penetration of sustainability in society


Wide, with more and more people interested

Financial benefits of sustainability


Significant, due to savings in costs

Ethical value of sustainability


Great, since higher education should also be conscious of its impact

Relevance of sustainability to the curriculum


Significant, since various subjects can have a sustainability component

Political relevance of sustainability


High, since it is an actual and widely debated theme

Prospects of sustainability


Bright, since more and more institu- tions are joining the debate

Thematic links of sustainability


Holistic, with natural and social sci- ences working together

Time dimension of sustainability

short term fashion

A theme which shall be debated for years to come


The role of networking

Networking in the field of sustainable development has always been acknowledged

and seen as a positive thing. Sustainable Development Networks may be coalitions

of individuals and non-governmental organizations who believe that sustainable

development is about empowering people, promoting progress, eliminating poverty

and achieving environmental protection by means of joint efforts. There are dozens

of sustainability networks worldwide, some with a thematic focus and some with

a clear remit (e.g. policy-making or research). Some of the current sustainability

networks which have a university involvement are:

The Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development

(nrg4SD): it was launched in 00 during the World Summit on Sustainable

Development, which took place in Johannesburg. The nrg4SD Network

aims to be a voice for, and to represent regional governments at the global

level, promoting sustainable development and partnerships at the regional

level around the world. Internet site:

Sustainable Development Research Network: a network which aims to

contribute to sustainable development in the UK by encouraging the better

use of evidence and research in policy-making. Membership of SDRN is

free and open to all. Internet site:


The Global Network on Energy for Sustainable Development (GNESD):

a UNEP facilitated knowledge network of developing world Centers of

Excellence and network partners. The main objective of GNESD is to work

for reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Internet site:

The Sustainable Development Networking Programme: the SDNP is coor-

dinated by UNDP, the UN Development Programme and has supporting

sustainability initiatives by operating at the country level, launching and

supporting local Internet sites, and building national capacities and knowl-

edge resources. Internet site:

The Sustainable Development Communications Network (SDCN): SDCN

is a group of leading civil society organizations seeking to accelerate the

implementation of sustainable development through broader, integrated in-

formation and communications about what we know. The network focuses

its efforts on integrating Internet communications into broader communica-

tion strategies. Internet site:

The SD Gateway: the network, led by the Canadian Agency Cooperation

and IDRC, integrates the on-line information developed by members of the

Sustainable Development Communications Network, a scheme launched

by CIDA and IDRC. In addition to over ,00 documents available in SD

Topics, it provides services such as a calendar of events, a job bank, the

Sustainability Web Ring, a roster of mailing lists and news sites dealing with

sustainable development.


In addition to these examples, there are also other good examples of sustainability

networks. One of most interesting of them is offered by the Regional Centres of

Expertise (RCE), coordinated by the United Nations University. The other two impor-

tant ones, Baltic University Programme (BUP) and Baltic Sea Sustainable Development

Network (BSSDN) are described in other chapters of this publication.

The Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE) scheme consists of local/regional net-

works or modes, in the context of which joint works are performed. An RCE is

a network of existing formal, non-formal and informal education organizations

aiming to deliver education for sustainable development (ESD) to a regional/local

community. RCEs aspire to achieve the goals of the UN Decade of Education for

Sustainable Development (DESD, 005-04), by translating its global objectives

into the context of the local/regional community in which it operates.

As stated by the UN University, RCEs and their network worldwide will consti-

tute the ”Global Learning Space for Sustainable Development”. This learning space

includes international academies of science, institutions of higher education and

policy makers, who work together to develop the human resources base – educators,

professionals and researchers – in developing countries but also in industrialised

nations, which is necessary to activate and sustain the application of science and

technology for sustainable development. Activities of the Global Learning Space

may involve curriculum development, north-south networking, strategic planning

in educational planning and policy, capacity building in problem-based scientific

research, and learning and other programmes.

An RCE should have four elements:

Governance – addressing issues of RCE management and leadership

Collaboration – addressing the engagement of actors from all levels of for-

mal, non-formal and informal education in RCE activities

  • 3 Research and development – addressing the role of R&D and its inclusion in RCE activities, as well as contributing to the design of strategies for col- laborative activities, including those with other RCEs

  • 4 Transformative education – contributing to the transformation of the current education and training systems to meet local/regional goals of sustainable living and livelihood.

As far as stakeholders are concerned, an RCE is composed of a network of:

Actors in the formal, non-formal and informal education sectors (school teach-

ers, professors at higher education institutions, researchers, NGOs, media),

Providers of content for ESD (scientists, researchers, museums, zoos, botani-

cal gardens),

Supporters of the delivery of ESD (local government officials, representatives

of local enterprises, volunteers, media people, and any other civic associations

or individuals who work in spheres of sustainable development such as eco-

nomic growth, social development, and environmental protection), and,

Students and learners at all levels.


In terms of its functions, RCEs bring together organizations at the regional/local

level to jointly promote ESD. They build innovative platforms to share informa-

tion and experiences and to promote dialogue among regional/local stakeholders

through partnerships for sustainable development. This leads to the creation of a

local/regional knowledge base to support ESD actors, thereby contributing to the

four major goals of ESD in a resource-effective manner. These four goals are to:

Re-orient education towards sustainable development (SD), covering exist-

ing programmes/subjects from the point of ESD and designing an integrated

SD curricula. ESD programmes are tailored to address issues and local con-

text of the community in which they operate;

Increase access to quality basic education that is most needed in the regional



Deliver training programmes for all levels of society and to develop method-

ologies and learning materials for them;


Lead advocacy and awareness raising efforts on the importance of educators

and the essential role of ESD in achieving a sustainable future. RCEs pro-

mote the long-term goals of ESD, such as environmental stewardship, social

justice, and improvement of the quality of life.

Seven pioneer RCEs were launched at the UNU-UNESCO Conference on

Globalization and ESD in June 005 and these are:

Barcelona, Spain

Greater Sendai, Japan

Okayama, Japan

Pacific Island Countries (including Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia

Penang, Malaysia

Rhine-Meuse+ region (covering the cities of Eindhoven in the Netherlands,

Leuven in Belgium and Cologne in Germany)

Toronto, Canada

More RCEs have been acknowledged since the Conference – RCE Tongyeong

(Korea), RCE Jordan, RCE Yokohama (Japan), and RCE Cebu (Philippines).

Seven challenges to universities

As seen so far in this paper, the current approach of the majority of higher educa-

tion institutions to sustainability as a whole is still “lasser faire”, whereby the line

of thinking “let’s wait and see” still takes precedence to the approach ”hey, let’s do

something about it”. This might of course change in five or ten years time, but the

present state of affairs leaves no room for greater optimism.

On that basis, unless some real and indeed basic changes are implemented, sustain-

ability as both a concept and as a goal – despite the differences seen in industrialised

and developing countries and even within countries themselves – is unlikely to be


part of academic life in the near future, although it is virtually unavoidable that

society and students’ demands will oblige universities to think very carefully about

the disadvantages of taking no action. Networks such as Copernicus-Campus or

RCEs may help to change this state of affairs, but they are no replacement to local


Previous experiences have shown that reforming higher education as a whole

is not an easy task, neither within higher education institutions themselves, nor at

country level. Any reform which intends to succeed should therefore be realistic,

specific and should come from the inside so as to yield maximum results. This poses

therefore presents seven challenges that need to be overcome in order to allow

sustainability to be permanently placed in a central position in higher education.

Challenge 1: Intensifying the dialogue on sustainability

At present, sustainability is often seen as a ”monster” which once released may get

out of control and lead to problems. There is thus a perceived need to promote the

debate on sustainability, outlines its potentials, its limitations and the implications

of pursuing such a path. Well too often the positive aspects of sustainability and its

advantages to a specific university are not outlined, which leads to misinformation

and breeds confusion. Increased dialogue may help to minimise the problem.

Challenge 2: Increasing the participation of staff

An increased dialogue may but does not necessarily always need to increase staff

participation on environmental affairs. In that context, initiatives targeted to the

involvement of staff on sustainable development may provide a boost towards

pursuing it more vigorously. The establishment of links between environmental

conservation, sustainability and purchases of products is one of the ways of increas-

ing staff participation in environmental affairs and to widen the perception of what

sustainability is.

Challenge 3: The dissemination of information and best practices

If there are good examples illustrating how advantageous the promotion of sus-

tainable development is, they should be disseminated. Successful stories raise the

morale and show what can concretely be done, gathering momentum for further

initiatives. Unfortunately educationalists and environmentalists alike are too modest

in talking about their achievements, preferring instead to limit the dissemination of

their successes among small groups or selected sectors. This is counter-productive,

since the wider dissemination of information on what can realised may encourage

others to take action.

Challenge 4: Combining legal and regulatory requirements

There are various rules and regulations governing the activities of higher education

institutions, including in the environmental field. These should be looked at and

areas of focus should be identified. The use of water, heating and electricity can

usually be easily reviewed, giving a good basis to the identification of wastes and

the preparation of recommendations as to how to prevent them.


Challenge 5: Involve and link the administration and institutional organisation

The financial personnel, the administration officials, hand workers and even grounds

men have a potential impact on the environment and by linking them, suitable

opportunities for action may be created. A higher education institution which de-

cides to buy CFC-free cleaning products or which decides to switch to the use of

recycled paper will need to have the back-up of those at the administration and

planning level. This support should be pursued.

Challenge 6: Raising support from the top

It is important to involve the heads of higher education institutions (i.e. Presidents,

Rectors) and their senior staff in attempts to promote sustainability. The decisions

made by university administrators need to take into account the long-term benefits

of sound environmental conservation and sustainable development policies and

they should be involved in the process. Unfortunately some initiatives aimed at

promoting sustainable development at higher education institutions have failed

because they have not succeeded in obtaining support ”from the top”.

Challenge 7: Ensuring continuity of the work

Results are not usually reached within a short time-span and it is in this context

important to take notice of the need to give time for things to work out. A policy

on energy saving may show its results after a few months and even the change of

purchases towards recycling materials will not be conspicuous in the balance sheet

for some time. The work needs to be persistently continued so that its results can

be reached and can be kept on a long-term basis.

To this list of challenges one should add the participation and involvement of

students, which are in fact the reason d’etre of higher education institutions. There

are various recommendations being made at the European level to involve stu-

dents more and more in university initiatives, sustainable development providing

a highly exciting area where students’ input can indeed make a difference. Due to

their nature, opinions and suggestions proposed by students do not always carry

the weight they should, but there are strong evidences that well-balanced and

coordinated student inputs are likely to be taken into account seriously and this

provides the basis for action on the ground among those who can, should and shall

exert a significant influence on a university’s life.


The seven challenges outlined in this paper provide an overview of the action

needed to reach a velvet reform of higher education, orienting it towards sustain-

able development. As earlier stated, there is a degree of inertia at present, which is

due to the hesitation seen among universities to get those badly needed changes on

the move. Achieving sustainable development will require major policy decisions

from higher education institutions, decisions which vary from reducing energy con-


sumption through energy management and energy savings, to the promotion of an

environmentally sound purchase policy. Decisions which should take place on the

policies to be followed, need to be made not only on the basis of their cost-effec-

tiveness, but also on the basis of their impact on the environment.

Due to their practical nature and the fact that they do not necessarily need to

be expensive, the suggestions listed in this paper may be helpful in assisting higher

education institutions to find and pursue the path of sustainability.


Brundtland, G. (ed.), 987. Our common future. The World Commission on Environment and Development. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Candy, P.C. & Crebert R.G., 99. Ivory tower to concrete jungle: the difficult transition from the academy to the workplace as learning environments. The Journal of Higher Education,


Commission of the European Communities, 99. Towards sustainability. CEC, Brussels. HMSO, 99. Environmental responsibility: an agenda for further and higher education. HMSO, London. Leal Filho, W., Padgham, J. & MacDermott, F.D.J., (eds.), 996. Implementing sustainable devel- opment at university level. CRE, Geneva. Leal Filho, W. (ed.), 00. Teaching sustainability at universities: towards curriculum greening. Peter Lang Scientific Publishers, Frankfurt. Leal Filho, W. (ed.), 005. Handbook of sustainability research. Peter Lang Scientific Publishers, Frankfurt. Leal Filho, W. & Carpenter, D. (eds.), 006. Sustainability in the Australasian university context. Peter Lang Scientific Publishers, Frankfurt. UN, 99. The United Nations conference on environment and development: a guide to Agenda . UN Publications Office, Geneva.




Liisa Rohweder and Anne Virtanen

In addition to integrating elements of sustainable development into education and

research, the management practices such as everyday decision-making and working

procedures of higher education establishments should be in line with the principles

of sustainable development. This is important, because sustainable development is

about assuming responsibility for all actions and making a conscious effort to pro-

mote such actions in all areas of life. These actions are closely linked to the values

and attitudes of people working in the organizations. A responsible organizational

culture and a curriculum with a niche for sustainable development serve as practi-

cal demonstrations to students on how to favour a more responsible manner of

living and working.

The cultures of higher education institutions have slowly formed over the years.

Many procedures have become self-evident. They guide the working of teachers,

researchers and other personnel, including management. Typically no-one is partic-

ularly keen on questioning their basis. Higher education institutions should realize,

however, that they can have a huge positive impact on sustainable development.

After all, higher education establishments are an indistinguishable part of the society

around them and they can act as pioneers in promoting sustainable development.

In this part of the book two examples of how sustainable development can

be included in the organizational practices and culture of higher education in-

stitutions will be presented. The first example is from the University of Applied

Sciences Zittau/Goerlitz, which is located in Germany, and the second one of

Sydväst University of Applied Sciences, which is located in Finland.

SD in strategies Activities for SD in higher education: Background: - DESD SD in - Baltic
Activities for SD in higher education:
SD in
Baltic 21E
needs for
for SD
for SD
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN MANAGEMENT PRACTICES 2 Liisa Rohweder and Anne Virtanen In addition to integrating elements
Sustainable future


In the German case Anke Zenker-Hoffmann, Markus Will, Bernd Delakowitz

and Walter Leal Filho demonstrate the experiences and practical examples from the

University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Goerlitz, which is the first institution of higher

education in Germany with a validated and registered environmental management

system (EMS). In the institution EMS has been built according to the EMAS II re-

quirements. It is considered to be an instrument of competitiveness and a safeguard

for the university’s profiling in addition to an improved image, cost and resource

efficiency. Writers also point out that the management system plays a significant

role in the motivation of students and staff. But how to reach doubters and people

not committed to sustainability? As a solution the writers point out e.g. the practical

approach to sustainable development through an integrated management system.

Students have been involved in internal audits or in finding “hot spots” through

measuring the environmental performance of the university. Involving and active

participation are the most important critical elements raised in the case.

In the Finnish case Tove Holm and Kristina Sahlstedt illustrate the process leading

to the ISO 4 00 certificated management system. The writers give many illustrative

examples of how the process was carried out and what were the biggest challenges dur-

ing the process. In Sydväst , the environmental, economic, social and cultural aspects of

sustainable development are linked to the curriculum as the management system mainly

focuses only on environmental aspects according to the ISO 4 00 management system.

One of the biggest challenges raised in the article is the movement from an environmen-

tal management system to a sustainable development management system where all the

aspects of sustainability have the same weight. Thus, the holistic approach to sustainable

development can be seen as the most important critical element raised in this article.

Sydväst University of Applied Sciences is the first Finnish university of applied

sciences to integrate a certificated management system to the whole institution.

However, there are several other universities in Finland, as well, which have an envi-

ronmental management system, such as Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences,

which operates according a non certificated ISO 4 00 management system, and

Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, which has had a certificated ISO 4

00 system since 003 in one of its units and a certificated Green Office certified by

WWF in one unit since 005.

The introductory chapter raises the importance of the organizational culture

related aspects in the process of a more sustainable higher education institution.

The chapter illustrates phases and challenges of the transition which are evident in

the process for sustainability. Also the writers from University of Applied Sciences

Zittau/Goerlitz and from Sydväst University of Applied Sciences point out the chal-

lenges of internal and external forces of change, resistance to change, motivation,

communication and training of the personnel.

Implementing sustainable development in an organizational culture

In a postmodern world, pathways towards sustainable higher education institutions

are unlikely to develop without friction, controversy and conflict as we live in a


pluralistic society, characterized by multiple actors and diverging interests (see also

Wals & Corcoran, 006: 03). Promoting sustainable development needs most evi-

dently changes in organizational settings (e.g. Martin & Dave & Jucker, 006: 6;

Mulder & Jansen, 006: 69). Many researchers in the field of business administra-

tion also agree that the responsible attitude needed for sustainable development

can only be induced through a change in an organization’s culture (e.g. Halme,

004) According to the UNSECO’s research report (Holmberg & Samuelsson,

006: 65) one of the major barriers to successful embedding of sustainable de-

velopment in higher education is the perceived irrelevance by academic staff (see

also Rohweder, 00:43; 004:75). They also point out the need for change in

an organisational culture. Such a cultural transformation is slow at best, and can-

not be kept apart from changes happening in society. The next chapter gives an

introduction about ways in which the organizational culture of higher education

institutions can be directed into being more favourable towards the promotion of

sustainable development.

The different phases of change in an organizational culture

Certain phases can be extracted from the process of change towards a more

sustainable development friendly organizational culture. It is useful to identify

the main characteristics of each phase even though they partly overlap and no

clear lines of demarcation can be drawn between them. The process of change

can be divided into the following phases (see also Halme, 004: 46; Rohweder,

003: 86): ) internal and external forces of change, ) resistance to change, 3)

transition phase, and 4) accepting sustainable development as part of normal


1) Internal and external forces of change

Many researchers agree that responsible practices that have been imposed from

the outside will only lead to superficial changes in an organization. Therefore, it

is reasonable to say that e.g. in Finland, unless the goals imposed by the Finnish

Ministry of Education regarding the promotion of sustainable development be-

come internalized goals of the higher education institutions, they cannot genuinely

promote sustainable development. Let us take as an example the adoption proc-

ess of an environmental management system. If there is internal enthusiasm for

adopting the environmental management system it can in the best of cases serve

as a source of inspiration for both personnel and students in their work. If, on

the other hand, the environmental management system is only taken on due to

outside pressure, it can in the worst of cases become a burden on the shoulders of

those responsible for enforcing it. In that case it only becomes a system that must

be updated yearly, a system that barely no-one in the organization has a very clear

idea of in terms of the goals or content – or even of its very existence. The same

applies to curricula. You can add separate courses on sustainable development to

the curriculum, and leave it up to the teachers and researchers who are enthu-


siastic enough about it. It is not a bad idea to start with, but it is not enough to

promote the original idea of sustainable development, which is to ingrain a sense

of responsibility in all learning, action and decision-making.

2) Resistance to change

Reluctance to accept change is typical of any organization, mainly because people

are often unsure of how the changes will affect their own work and routines. From

a sustainable development point of view one of the biggest problems may be that

people are simply unaware of the whole concept. Members of the organization

may not necessarily know how changes in everyday procedures such as paper-use,

electricity, heating, and water or waste management and job commuting affect

sustainable development. It is important that members of the organization are

given the right information on how their actions influence the different dimensions

of sustainable development, and that possible conflicts and overlaps between old

and new values (those inducing organizational change) are recognised by letting

the organization sort them out on its own. Management and superiors must set an

example and they must be able to take into account both old and new values in

order to surmount resistance to change. The role of sustainable development and

the benefits of e.g. a new environmental management system must be carefully

explained, all the more so if resistance to change is great.

3) Transition phase

Resistance to change gradually gives way to a transition phase whereby new beliefs

and sustainable development friendly practices are acquired. The transition phase

can be spurred on using various manners of approach: by providing a vision to kick-

off the process, getting people committed, motivated, communicating with them

and training. Without these approaches, it is very unlikely that an organizational

change of the kind envisioned could be achieved.

a) A vision: a way to kick off the process of change

Firstly, a vision is helpful in getting people to want to change. A vision paints

a picture of how the organization will look like in the future, and it directly or

indirectly indicates how and why people should strive to reach that envisioned

state of affairs. A good vision gives members a better sense of direction. It is

important to clarify what changes are needed to develop sustainability, because

people are often unsure and divided over what the necessary changes are and can

be sceptical towards the whole idea. Secondly, a vision is important, because it

encourages people to act in ways that are more favourable towards sustainable

development, even though it might not be in their immediate best interest. A

good vision on sustainable development clarifies the role of teachers, research-

ers and other personnel, and thus softens resistance to change. Thirdly, a vision

helps to coordinate the activities of several units considerably faster and more

efficiently. When a vision is clear, everyone can decide for themselves on the right

course of action. A good vision can be characterized by the following criteria (see

also Kotter, 996: 60):


Something that can be foreseen: a vision gives an idea of what the future

will look like.

Well defined, clear enough to guide decision-making.

Communicable and easy to explain.

Can be carried out, includes realistic goals that are feasible.

Flexible and generic enough so that people can take the initiative and react

in different ways depending on the circumstances.

  • b) Commitment and motivation

From the point of view of cultural change it is elementary that management is

committed to the vision on sustainable development and to the goals set out for

sustainable development (Bird, 996: 79; Halme, 004: 50). This tells the rest of

the organization that change is important, and it encourages staff to come up with

innovative solutions.

Just as important as getting management fully involved is giving personnel enough

leeway to act in ways called upon by changes. Values are what gets the personnel

committed. They create the working atmosphere. If the educational institution’s

official values related to sustainable development contradict with how things are

really done, change will not happen.

Motivating people is an effective way of getting people committed and convinc-

ing them that change is for the good. People get excited about the changes, and

start acting accordingly. One important way of going about this is getting people

involved. Inclusive development means that the people whose daily work is most

affected by the changes get to take part in the planning and implementation. Those

who actually do the work usually know what the problems are, and what needs to

be worked on. They also know which solutions are applicable, and which are not.

  • c) Communication

The process of change can also be boosted through effective internal communication.

Communication must be planned strategically so that all consequent communica-

tion supports the objectives of change. The role of internal communication is to

make sure that the target groups feel that the changes and new procedures are

beneficial to them.

The communication style plays a very important part in getting people commit-

ted and motivated. The more a person feels that her/his contribution to change is

significant, the more she/he is interested in what is going on. The more discourse-

like, pro-active the style of communication is, the more likely it is to make change


  • d) Training

Changes in the organizational culture necessitate training sessions where partici-

pants discuss the changes, and everyone is given an active role in managing the

process of change. It is not only important to adequately prepare teachers and

researchers for what lays ahead, but management staff and other administrative

staff must also be taken into account. Envisioned organizational changes receive a


great boost when not just teachers and researchers but administrative staff, mainte-

nance personnel, cleaners and canteen employees are also aware of why sustainable

development is important in their job, and how they can do their bit to enhance

sustainable development. For example, when deciding on the adoption of a sus-

tainable development management system, training should be organized for every

employee. It is very important that every member of an organization know what

objectives and the intended benefits are and what these entail.

4) Accepting sustainable development as part of daily practices

It is difficult to determine when an organizational culture has aligned itself with

sustainable development. One indication of such a change would be an organiza-

tion that has an open and positive stance towards sustainable development, where

students and staff come up with innovative initiatives, and where teachers, research-

ers and students engage in partnership projects and research projects that have

to do with sustainable development. Other indicators could be a more amiable

working environment, falling absenteeism, people being more considerate towards

each other, environmentally friendly stationary and paper, decreased photocopying,

lights being turned off after class, the canteen serving fair trade products, smaller

amounts of waste as well and environmentally effective commuting.

Making changes for the good of sustainable development is always a laborious

process, as it also deals with abstract concepts that are value laden and culture-

bound. We all have our own subjective view of what constitutes a good environment,

a good life, and how these two can be combined. Nevertheless, in fundamental

questions it is possible to find a common ground. And sustainable development as

a whole is most evidently becoming a fundamental issue for societies all around the

Baltic Sea Region – and beyond.


Bird, A., 996. Training for environmental improvement. GMI 4:79-94. Halme, M., 004. Kohti ympäristömyötäisempää organisaatiokulttuuria. In: Heiskanen, E. (ed.), Ympäristö ja liiketoiminta, 47-63. Gaudeamus, Tampere. Holmberg, J. & Samuelsson, B.E. (eds.), 006. Drivers and Barriers for Implementing Sustainable Development in Higher Education. Education for Sustainable Development in Action, Technical Paper 3, Unesco. Kotter, 996. Muutos vaatii johtajuutta. Rastor, Helsinki. Rohweder, L., 00. Ympäristökasvatus ammattikorkeakoulussa. Opetussuunnitelmateoreettisen mallin kehittäminen liiketalouden koulutukseen. Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration, Acta Universitatis Oeconomicae Helsingiensis A 90. Rohweder, L. 003. Ympäristökoulutus ympäristöjohtamisen tukena. Futura 3:86-99. Rohweder, L. 004. Integrating environmental education into business schools in Finland. GEO Journal 60():75-8. Martin, S., Dawe, G. & Jucker, R., 006. Embedding Education for Sustainable Development in Higher Education in the UK. In: Holmberg, J. & Samuelsson, B.E. (eds.), Drivers and Barriers


for Implementing Sustainable Development in Higher Education, 6-67. Education for Sustainable Development in Action, Technical Paper 3, Unesco. Mulder, K. & Jansen, L., 006. Integrating Sustainable Devleopment in Engineering Education Reshaping University Education by Organizational Learning. In: Holmberg, J. & Samuelsson, B.E. (eds.), Drivers and Barriers for Implementing Sustainable Development in Higher Education, 69-73. Education for Sustainable Development in Action, Technical Paper 3, Unesco. Wals, E.J. & Corcoran, P.B., 006. Sustainability as an Outcome of Transformative Learning. In:

Holmberg, J. & Samuelsson, B.E. (eds.), Drivers and Barriers for Implementing Sustainable Development in Higher Education, 03-0. Education for Sustainable Development in Action, Technical Paper 3, Unesco.


2.1 EMAS II in a Higher Educational Institution in Germany

Anke Zenker-Hoffmann, Markus Will & Bernd Delakowitz: University of Applied Sciences

Zittau/ Goerlitz, and Walter Leal Filho: TuTech Innovation, Germany


Sustainable Development is widely acknowledged as a key concept for human

society that is faced with both, aspects of human development and global change

(e.g. economical globalisation, global climate change etc.). Along with other or-

ganisations, educational institutions may play a central role in that context, as

Agenda , the central document of the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro

in 99 and the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in 00 have

stated and reiterated. Although no universally-applicable approach on education

for sustainable development (ESD) exists, there are some essential elements that

compose it such as:

Quality basic education in a interdisciplinary perspective

Reorientation of education to address sustainability

Local relevance and awareness raising / public understanding.

ESD should thereby be more than a theoretical concept, it should be a suitable

tool for sustainable development in praxi. ESD, therefore, need to be embedded in

the most of the subjects in order to provide a better understanding to students, to

deliver visions and motivation and the necessity of long-term thinking. Maybe to

do this, institutions of higher education ought to carry out appropriate infrastruc-

tures and didactical concepts (see UNECE, 005; UNESCO, 005).

Tell them, and they will forget,

Demonstrate, and they will remember,

Involve them, and they will understand.

(Confucius / Epigraph to the nd European Conference of Sustainable Cities

and Towns, Lisbon, 996)

Following the well considered Confuciusian words, students should be involved

in practical actions, rather than being taught on the facts itself. From this perspec-

tive the Environmental Management System at the University of Applied Sciences

Zittau/Goerlitz is a proper instrument to ESD as it puts emphasis on students´ par-

ticipation. Some 0 to 30 students per year have so far been actively participating

in all steps of the university’s EMS by either assisting in internal audits or perform-

ing projects focusing on the improvement of the environmental performance. This


follows the principle of practical learning: taking over individual responsibility by

being actively involved and has been part of the university environmental policy

since 998. Students involved in the EMS working group should be qualified and

enabled to play an active role in a continuous process of improving the environ-

mental performance of the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/ Goerlitz, thus,

to promote their potential of creativity and innovation.

This paper provides information about the Environmental Management System

of the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Goerlitz, which is now running for

nearly 9 years, “practicing” and “living” what was the first environmental manage-

ment system according to the EMAS requirements in a German higher education


Environmental Management Systems

An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a structured approach and man-

agement process to be integrated within an organisation of any kind. It aims in

controlling, evaluating, reporting and, not least, reducing environmental impacts

caused by their activities by setting goals and policies and by shaping and driving

actions. An EMS, therefore, provides tools to manage compliance to legal require-

ments and to achieve sound environmental performance of the entire organisation

in an efficient and effective way. EMS can also be seen as one important step to

sustainable development.

Overall benefits of an EMS for an organisation are (see Weiss & Bentlage,


Improved ability to meet compliance requirements

Increased efficiency, reduced costs and greater operational consistency

Improved environmental awareness, involvement and competency

Better communication about environmental issues inside (incl. enhanced

employee moral) and outside the organisation

Better relationships with regulators

Process transparency and reduced liabilities

Competitive advantages.

Standards have been developed to enable well structured and comparable

Environmental Management Systems such as the international standard ISO 400

that was published in 996 and updated in 004 (DIN EN ISO 400, 004). This

standard forms part of the ISO4000 series of standards providing not only a speci-

fication but guidance and advice on a wide range of environmental issues including

auditing, labeling, life-cycle assessment etc. At the European level EMAS (Eco-

Management and Audit Scheme) was introduced by a European Union council

regulation (No.836/93) and updated in 00(No. 76/00), requiring imple-

mentation in all European Union Member States.


EMS at institutions of higher education

Universities and equivalent institutions of higher education increasingly play a

leading role in teaching and promoting the principles of sustainable development,

trying to integrate both economical and environmental ethics (see Leal Filho et

al., 996; Leal Filho, 999; 000; 00). Institutions of higher education, as other

organisations, cause environmental impacts related to their direct actions as energy

and material consumption and waste production.

An environmental management system focuses not only on these direct environ-

mental impacts. Instead, there are other indirect environmental impacts that occur

in a more diffuse way and that are not easy to quantify. Indirect environmental im-

pacts are such ones that cannot be controlled directly by the institution itself. For

an institution of higher education, this could be impacts of their “products”, such as

scientific publications, curricula and knowledge transfer to students. Institutions of

higher education “produce” futures decision makers and practitioners; with regard

to ESD it is therefore crucial to raise their awareness and to give them an adequate

knowledge fundament (multiplier function). With implementing EMS and thereby

committing to the sustainability paradigm to a certain extent, institutions of higher

education may accomplish their function as exemplar in a society (Leal Filho &

Delakowitz, 005). Furthermore, institutions of higher education that are active

in research perhaps can contribute to a continual improvement process as they

develop innovative fixes and/or technical procedures to improve environmental

performance (Leal Filho et al., 006).

There is a growing number of university-level institutions that are facing the so-

cietal objective of sustainable development while undertaking reviews or audits to

assess their sustainability and environmental performance in Germany. There are

approx. 35 institutions of higher education in Germany (around 0% of all) that

are in the process of implementing either the EMAS II or the ISO 400 standard

to all or parts (faculties, departments) of their organisation. By the end of 006

following higher education institutions had successfully implemented (incl. certifi-

cation or validation and registration) an EMS at the entire institution (Mueller):

FHW Berlin (004: ISO 400; 005: EMAS)

Universitaet Bremen (004: EMAS)

Fachhochschule Landshut (003: EMAS)

Fachhochschule Luebeck (003: EMAS)

Hochschule Bremen (003: EMAS)

Hochschule Zittau/Goerlitz (999: EMAS)

Technische Hochschule Dresden (00: EMAS)

Universitaet Lueneburg (000: EMAS)

Universitaet Bielefeld (000: EMAS, ISO 400)

Universitaet Paderborn (000: EMAS).


History, motivation and organisation of the EMS at University of Applied

Sciences Zittau/Goerlitz

The University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Goerlitz was founded in 99, based

on a former well-renowned University School of Engineering for Electronics and

Information Processing. The University is located in the eastern part of Germany,

part of the Federal State of Saxony right at the Polish and Czech borders (border


The university’s infrastructure is distributed in two locations – Zittau and

Goerlitz – with a distance of 35 km between them. The university has about 400

employees and close to 4,000 students. The Zittau campus includes six depart-

ments (Architecture and Infrastructure, Energy and Technical Systems, Process

Engineering, Mathematics/Natural Sciences, Business and Management, Languages)

in an area of approx. 33,000 m . The Goerlitz campus consists of two departments

(Social Sciences, Information and Computer Sciences) on ca. 5,700 m .

In 999 Zittau/Goerlitz became the first university in Germany and one of the

first in the world to be validated and registered according to EMAS. The EMS was

established at the university by a staff position (Commissioner for EM) supported

by staff responsible for planning and coordinating the actions. As described above,

students are up to now involved in the EMS working group regularly in form of a

fixed element in their study course curricula. The student groups are participating

in internal audits and they are conducting projects focussing on legal compliance,

increasing efficiency and cost reduction and operational consitency. This way has

been proved to be an efficient way to organise and maintain the environmental

management system; the task force has been very efficient and will certainly be

retained in the future. In particular, participation of students meets two goals: ) a

vital EMS needs to integrate as many as possible participants, and ) when students

are integrated, they can use the theoretical knowledge gained in lectures in a prac-

tical context. Thereby they will anyhow explore obstacles but they will also find

ways to handle them (Delakowitz & Hoffmann, 000; Delakowitz et al., 005).

The University Zittau/Goerlitz has to do its business and daily work – like all

institutions of higher education – embedded in a framework of restrictions and

legal requirements. This includes, among others, legal health and safety standards,

restrictions for the handling of chemical and hazardous substances, the process of

integrating the “Bologna” requirements into curricula. To handle that and at the

same time use synergies to be more competitive and innovative, the University

of Applied Sciences Zittau/Goerlitz chose to implement innovative structures by

a system focusing on a policy of sustainability and introduced an environmental

management system. The motivation selected in guidelines and the profile – valid

over more than 8 years – comprise the following components:

Improved image

Cost and resource efficiency

Improved understanding of internal processes

Multiplier function of students and staff


Socio-economical responsibility


The following citation from the environmental verifying report in 003 shows that

the University’s motivation to implement the EMS was performed in a proper way:

“The Hochschule Zittau/Goerlitz regards Environmental Management not simply as

“positive advertising”, but uses it as a guideline for organizing and modeling its commit-

ments in teaching and research.”

The EMS was introduced in four important steps:

the University senate decided on the new environmental policy (995)

an Environmental Management Working Group started to work (997)


the first environmental check – internal and external validation/certification

audits – was conducted (998)


Certification according to EMAS, with the formation and implementation

of the EMS was concluded in March (999)

In the following years a considerable work has been done to maintain the EMS:

00: nd Audit and Certification according to EMAS II

00, 003 and 004: External Supervisory Audits

005: 3 rd Audit and Certification according to EMAS II

006: External Supervisory Audit.

This shows that a validation/certification audit has to be carried out every three

years by an external environmental verifier, supported by annual external supervi-

sory audits. In addition to this annual internal audits are conducted that are assisted

by students at regular intervals. The external audit, according to the EMAS II re-

quirements, includes:

The compliance with regulations

The EMS and the organisation

The eco-audit and results

The annual environmental declaration

The dependence, authenticity and accuracy of data and information

The relevant information: documentation of the EMS, the EMS manual and

the university administrative manual, environmental impact data, occupa-

tional safety documents, documents of the internal audit

The on-site survey (both EM and health & safety oriented): inspection of

laboratories and other relevant facilities, inspection of buildings and relevant

technical equipment, data check, interviews of students and employees

(non announced).


The University´s integrated environmental management and health & safety


A general tendency has been observed during the last years in a rapidly growing

number of organisations to integrate already existing occupational health & safety

management tools into existing or newly implemented EMS to form a more effec-

tive integrated management (IMS) approach.

As mentioned above the university Zittau/Goerlitz considered legal health and

safety standards and restrictions for the handling of chemical and hazardous sub-

stances at an early stage of its EMS. Moreover, in 00 it integrated its very well

experienced and organised health & safety management into the existing EMAS

and formed an integrated EM/H&S working group to report directly to the rector’s

board (Figure ). The working group is meeting periodically twice a year.

Due to this future-oriented management re-structuring and the fact that occupa-

tional health & safety issues became integral part in several course subjects within

the curricula the so far well developed network with industrial organisations in the

field of innovation management turned out to become even more developed and

successful summing up to more than 60 industrial partners to date.

Facts and figures of the EMS at University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Goerlitz

After the environmental policy was adopted and an action plan was elaborated

on the basis of the first audits, measures were taken to improve environmental

performance in six categories that are:

Rector ship/ EMS & HS Working Group Managem ent (Representatives for the EMS, EMS & HS
Rector ship/
EMS & HS Working Group
Managem ent
(Representatives for the EMS,
EMS & HS Coordinator,
EM Advisors)
EM & HS Board
Central Scientific
Representatives from:
Institutions (Library)
Technical Units
Medical Care, Lab. Safety,
Laser protection,
Waste Management, Staff Admin.,
Radiation Protection,
Techn. Admin.,
Faculties etc.
Central Administration

Figure . Environmental Management & Health and Safety (EM & HS) organisation at the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Goerlitz.



Material use and waste (seperation and disposal)


Information and communication


Education and research (greening the curricula)


Sustainable development


Mobility (new category since 006).

The experiences in the first five categories will be described briefly by means of

examples in the following passage. All results (dates and figures) are available on

1) Energy

The environmental goal is to reduce both the electric energy and the heat con-

sumption, this may combine a high environmental relevance with a large capacity

for economizing. Measures taken inter alia refer to a student projects work focus-

ing on identifying options to improve heating systems in university buildings. For

example, between 999 and 00 there was an increase in energy consumption

that was explained by side construction work and particularly the addition of new

laboratories built in former tank garages (large rooms without sufficient insulation)

which lead to increased consumption. After the students reported the results of

their project work, several of the proposed measures were implemented in 00.

Those included e.g. reconstruction of the roofs and floors, heat isolation, replacing

large doors by small ones. Due to this and other technical and organisational meas-

ures the absolute electricity consumption in 005 was approximately on the level

of 998. Heating energy consumption declined around 5% (Figure ).

2) Material use and waste (separation and disposal)

The second environmental category in the EMS deals with material flows within the

university, including purchase of materials and waste management. The two issues

are, of course, connected to each other. Since 00 the university e.g. substituted

140 2000 120 2001 100 2002 80 2003 60 2004 40 2005 20 2006 0 Zittau


Figure . Heating energy consumption kWh/m BGF (gross base area).


conventional chlorine blanched office paper by a recycled office paper. Although

the recycled paper was not accepted everywhere, due to expected printer problems,

technical difficulties with copy machines, fear of health risk, additional costs etc.,

in some offices it was introduced successfully. Furthermore, it was possible to find

a contractor offering recycled office paper 0% cheaper than conventional paper.

Amongst other reasons the economic benefit was one of the main reasons why the

management finally decided to implement it all over the university. The university

has received an award (“Office Paper Future Prize”) of the German Environmental

Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA).

Regarding hazardous and toxic materials being used or produced especially in

laboratories, efforts were made to explore substitutes for these substances. A cer-

tain number of toxic and hazardous substances are still necessary in lecturing and

demonstration as well as for research, particularly in chemistry and biotechnology

courses, and thus remain on campus. With the help of a registration and monitoring

system for handling and storage of hazardous materials, backed by occupational

operating and safety instruction guidelines, organisational measures for a safe and

secure way of dealing with these materials have been met.

3) Information and communication

Staff and students of the university are continuously invited to become active in

the environmental management process. A number of events are hosted as a plat-

form for internal and external information and motivation. These kind of events

are scientific conferences and seminars that are open to the public, but also the

now well-known annual “Environmental Protection Day” linked to the United

Nations annual Day of the Environment. Since 00 this event is focusing on is-

sues of highly environmental and political importance, e.g. nuclear waste disposal,

global climate change and regional consequences, bioethics, preventive flood man-

agement, biodiversity, sustainability etc. A central element of the information and

communication strategy is the EM declaration of the university that is annually

published both in the internet (

htm) and as paper copies.

4) Education and research (greening the curricula)

According to ESD essentials as described above (see UNECE, 005; UNESCO, 005)

environmental issues are introduced both, in special programs and as parts in all

study programs. Due to organisational and legal frame conditions this is not as easy

as it seems, f.i. it is not possible to force lecturers to do so by a top-down decision.

But, relating to a decision of the university senate in 993 all students, no matter

what their specific studies are, have to participate in a one semester ( classroom

hours per week) lecture on fundamentals of ecology and environmental protec-

tion as an integral part of their individual curricula. This is quite unique amongst

German universities. The lecture adresses e.g. the Baltic Sea environmental prob-

lems, nuclear disposal, an introduction to sustainable development, the EMS at

the university, technology assessment and others, in particular to current events.

During an academic year an average of approx. 700 students (fall term 006/07)


of various faculties and courses attend these lectures. The students, thus, become

more aware of socio-economic and ecological issues and understand complex in-

terrelations between natural and anthropogenic processes in a better way.

5) Sustainable development

The Senate of the University Zittau/Goerlitz passed a Strategic Profiling Concept

officially declaring sustainability as a dominating guideline in its education and

research policy in 00. The sustainability profile is based on three sub-profiles

(economy, ecology, society) and 6 core competences (which are more or less reflect-

ing the individual faculties) and is completed by centres of excellences. Furthermore,

the university is involved in a variety of external initiatives in both socio-economic

and cultural areas of municipal sustainable development, e.g. research projects,

initiatives like Agenda processes, conferences and workshops, etc


There are

also some ongoing projects with regional companies, reflecting the responsibility

of the university to strenghten regional networks and to help regional economy to

improve its competitiveness.

The economic consequences of the environmental management have not been

systematically monitored, because cost reductions have so far not been the pre-

dominant motivation for universities to implement an EMS. But an explicit result

in this way is: the costs (for both electricity and heating) have stayed up to 004

on the 998 level although the number of students have increased since then by

approximately 0%, new laboratories and lecture halls with an equivalent of about

5% of the all over university area have started to operate, and the energy price

has increased by nearly 5%. The relative cost saving linked to the EMS is then

approximately 0%.

The costs for the implementation and the maintenance of the EMS may be

summarized as:

Labour costs for personal (approximately 50% of an academic position for

coordination once the EMS has been implemented, and an additional ca.

0.5% equivalent to various personal involved in the EMS working group)

Costs for the external environmental inspector (ca. EUR 6,000 every 3

years for the validation audit and ca. EUR ,000 for the annual audits)

Costs for public relations (publishing of the annual environmental declara-

tion, events and presentations etc., approximately EUR 3,000 p.a.)

Costs for technical measures.


Organisations are repeatedly reporting other than economic benefits from imple-

menting an EMS. These include improved understanding of internal processes,

improved information and communication, higher motivation and (economic)

performance. An organisation, not only a university, which properly applies environ-

mental management and related management systems such as quality management


and health & safety management may achieve other advantages, e.g. the ability for

quicker and more flexible reactions towards modified market situations and better

conditions to meet stakeholder expectations.

The efficiency and effectiveness of an EMS is thereby not only determined by

technical prerequisites, organisational structures and the paper documentation.

Indeed, it needs the motivation and broad participation of all people concerned, as

staff and students to be vital. This again is depending on individual mindsets and

the level of information. The technical and organisational foundations for EMS at

the University of Applied Sciences are seen as present, e.g. the material specific

rubbish cans in all university buildings. A certain focus for future activities lies on

further enhancing personnel and student participation and motivation, e.g. regard-

ing the individual behaviour concerning waste separation.

Environmental Management System can help to improve the university´s attrac-

tion towards future students. The University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Goerlitz is

facing the objective that institutions of higher education contribute outstandingly

to the “production” of well educated decision makers and well informed practition-

ers. Through its integration of SD issues in a variety of curricula in both economic

sciences and natural and engineering sciences higher education at the University

of Applied Sciences Zittau/Goerlitz accomplish preconditions to foster ecological

sound and sustainable production and responsible entrepreneurship.


Confucius / Epigraph to the nd European Conference of Sustainable Cities and Towns, Lisbon.


Delakowitz, B. & Hoffmann, A., 000. The Hochschule Zittau/Goerlitz – Germany´s First Registered Environmental Management System (EMAS) at an Institution of Higher Education. Int. J of Sustainability at Higher Education, ():35-47. Delakowitz, B., Leal Filho, W., Hoffmann, A. & Will, M., 005. Sustainability as a tool towards an improved university profile – Experiences, practice and expectations at the Hochschule Zittau/Goerlitz (FH). In: ENCOS 004 Conference Reader ( Berlin. DIN EN ISO 400, 004. Umweltmanagementsysteme – Anforderungen mit Anleitung zur Anwendung. Hoffmann, A., 005. Implementation Strategies in the Framework of an European Higher Education Network: The Baltic University Programme (BUP) and the Trinational Neisse University. Projects at the Hochschule Zittau/Goerlitz (FH) – University of Applied Sciences. In: Proceedings of the conference “Committing Universities to Sustainable Development. April 0-3, 005. Graz, Austria. Leal Filho, W. (ed.), 999. Sustainability and University Life. Environmental Education, Communication and Sustainability, Vol. 5, Peter Lang. Leal Filho, W. (ed.), 000. Communicating Sustainability. Environmental Education, Communication and Sustainability, Vol. 8, Peter Lang. Leal Filho, W. (ed.), 00. International Experiences on Sustainability. Environmental Education, Communication and Sustainability, Vol , Peter Lang. Leal Filho, W. & Delakowitz, B. (eds.), 005. Umweltmanagement an Hochschulen: Nachhaltigk eitsperspektiven. Environmental Education, Communication and Sustainability, Vol 8, Peter Lang.


Leal Filho, W., Greif, D. & Delakowitz, B. (eds.), 006. Sustainable Chemistry and Biotechnology – A Contribution to Rivers Management. Environmental Education, Communication and Sustainability, Vol , Peter Lang. Leal Filho, W., Mac Dermott, F. & Padgham, J. (eds.), 996. Implementing Sustainable Development at University Level. CRE-COPERNICUS, European Research and Training Centre on Environmental Education, University of Bradford, UK. UNECE (ed.), 005. UNECE Strategie über die Bildung für Nachhaltige Entwicklung. UNESCO (ed.), 005. Guidelines and Recommendations for Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability, ESD in Action. Technical Paper No. . Paris: France. http://unesdoc. (7.0.006) Weiss, P. & Bentlage, J., 006. Environmental Management Systems and Certification. The Baltic University Press, Uppsala.


Joachim Mueller, HIS GmbH Hanover and own enquiries.


2.2 ISO 14001 in a Higher Education Institution in Finland

Tove Holm & Kristina Sahlstedt, Sydväst University of Applied Sciences, Finland

Introduction and background

This article describes the process leading to the certification of an environmental

management system in a higher education institution and illustrates the integra-

tion of sustainable development in its operation and organization. A critical look is

taken on what has been achieved and where more effort is still required.

Sydväst University of Applied Sciences is the first higher education institution

in Finland to have implemented a certified environmental management system for

the whole university. The ISO 400 Certificate was awarded in February 006.

The certification covers the entire organization of Ab Utbildning Sydväst, which

is a private limited company consisting of Sydväst University of Applied Sciences,

Sydväst Vocational Institute and Central Administration.

Sydväst University of Applied Sciences is a multidisciplinary institution with 8

different Degree Programmes leading to Bachelor’s degree after 3.5 to 4 years of

study. Master’s Programmes in Natural Resources and the Environment as well as

in Social Services, Health and Sports were started in 007. Sydväst cooperates with

Åbo Akademi University through the joint R&D Institute Aronia.

The number of enrolled students is about ,900. Studies are carried out at a

total of 7 locations on the southwestern coast of Finland, the two main campuses

are in Turku and Ekenäs. These coastal areas as well as the adjoining archipelago

are largely inhabited by Finland’s Swedish-speaking population, a minority of ap-

proximately 5% of a total of 5. million Finns. Catering mainly to this minority

the language of instruction at Sydväst is Swedish, the second official language in


Given the geography, sustainable development of coastal zones and archipelago

regions is a priority and special competence area at Sydväst. By training profession-

als e.g. in sustainable agriculture, forestry and tourism, traditional building skills,

navigation, ICT skills and small-scale entrepreneurship, Sydväst strives to increase

employment opportunities in an environmentally and economically vulnerable


Environmental policy

Ab Utbildning Sydväst was founded in 995 through a merger of 3 formerly

independent vocational colleges, several of them dating from the early 900s. In

999 the Board of Directors decided on to make environment and sustainable de-

velopment a principal focus area for the entire organization. To ensure systematic


and structured work and across-the-organization engagement it was decided to

implement an EMS system according to the ISO 400 standard. Environmental

Policy and Environmental Objectives were endorsed.

The Environmental Policy illustrates that from the very start the concept of

sustainable development at Sydväst went beyond the ecological dimension. There

were ecological, social and economic goals to be achieved (see the box below).

Environmental objectives

The most significant environmental aspect is education for sustainable develop-

ment. Teaching and learning as well as research and development create positive

environmental impacts that influence behaviour in everyday life. Sydväst’s most

important goal is to support the students’ progress into responsible, skilled and

environmentally conscious citizens who can promote sustainability in their future

roles. To increase the environmental consciousness of the students and personnel

it is also important to consider the environmental impacts of the ancillary func-

tions. “Practice what you preach” is a prerequisite for credibility in an educational


Involvement and visibility are achieved through special events, exhibits, and

projects, where students, personnel, community members, entrepreneurs and other

interest groups join in hands-on work for positive environmental impact.

Environmental Policy in Sydväst:

In all our work we advocate sustainability which is ecologically, economically, and socially sound.

These dimensions of sustainable development are incorporated in our curricula and in the further environ- mental education of our personnel. In this way we promote a sustainable society.

In all functions we strive to save energy and raw-materials. The waste we produce is separated and recycled in order to reduce the volume of waste treatment. By doing this we want to set an example – and we can save money!

Within our own organization and with our regional collaborators we develop systems and ways of action to reduce the environmental load.

Environmental aspects are given priority in our tendering and purchasing procedures and in resource management.

We follow environmental laws and recommendations and take part in the development work of environ- mental protection and administration.

With an optimal workplace as our aim, we strive to improve the safety and comfort as well as the physical and mental well-being of the members of our organization.


A certified EMS requires a continuous effort of improving the overall perform-

ance to meet the ISO 400 standard. For the years 007-009 Sydväst has two

environmental objectives:

To further integrate sustainable development as a natural part of course

work in every Degree Programme

To reduce the consumption of material resources (energy, electricity and


Organization and actions for environmental management

From the beginning there has been a conscious and continuous effort to build up a

well functioning organization for the environmental management system (Figure ).

The responsibility for development and coordination lies with the Environmental

Management Group who reports to the Managing Director. As the only educa-

tional institution in Finland Sydväst has a full-time Environmental Coordinator. In

addition, each unit has an Environment Group with student and personnel repre-

sentatives. Each group has drawn up an environmental programme based on the

specific environmental aspects of their unit. The group sees to the implementation

of the programme and plans ‘action days’ and events around special themes to

promote environmental issues.

The Figure illustrates the annual agenda of the Environmental Management

System, EMS, at Sydväst.

Integrating sustainable development in the curriculum and everyday work

The economic, social, environmental and cultural aspects of sustainable develop-

ment are linked to all course work. Det Norske Veritas, who audited Sydväst’s


Environmental Management Group
















and personnel

and personnel

and personnel

Figure . Organisation for Environmental Management in Sydväst University of Applied Sciences.


1 Nov – 15 Dec 2nd meeting of the Environmental Groups: Updating of the list of
1 Nov – 15 Dec
2nd meeting of the
Environmental Groups:
Updating of the list
of applicable legal
Feedback and exchange of ideas
on Environmental Report and
Sustainability Day
Internal audits
Publishing of the
Report of Ab
Utbildning Sydväst
3rd meeting of the
Groups: Updating of
Sustainability Day
15 Feb – 31 Mar
for students and staff.
Audit programme
Sustainability Day
for students and
staff. Evaluation and
further education in
1st meeting of the
Groups: Planning of
annual activities
Internal audits
4th meeting of the
Environmental Groups:
1 Aug – 31 Sept
Reports of annual activities
1 April - 15 June

Figure . The annual agenda of the Environmental Management System at Sydväst.

environmental management system, considered this integration a strong asset.

Sustainable development is incorporated in the curriculum in several ways:

A study module in sustainability worth 3 credit points is part of every

student’s programme (see the box below)

All Degree Programmes include an additional 5 credit points of sustainabil-

ity studies integrated in professional and common core subjects

Every course description includes the heading Sustainability Aspects stating

briefly how sustainability themes are dealt with in the course (see the box


During their practice placements students observe their work environment

from the sustainability point of view and include the observations in their

placement report

Relevant courses given in partner schools are offered virtually. Students in

the Degree Programmes for Tourism and for Culture Production took part

in the virtual course “The Challenge of Sustainability” created and given by

Laurea University of Applied Sciences in 006.


An example of integrating sustainability in the curriculum

Sustainable Development is a 3-credit course taken by every Sydväst student as part of their common core studies.

Goals of the course

The student understands that future possibilities for survival and good life depend on a frugal and sustainable use/utilization of nature, environment and human beings can specify the threats against the environment and the reasons for them, can describe how the global ecosystem constitutes the basic resource for human beings and how man can be a resource in the global ecosystem understands that sustainable development comprises an ecological, technological, eco- nomic, social and cultural dimension which are all interdependent and can be realized through global and regional cooperation is capable of seeing the role and responsibility of his/her own professional area in working toward a globally sustainable society has an understanding of the Environmental Management System of Sydväst.

Content of the course

from hunter and gatherer to farmer, the increasing pressure on natural resources population explosion, the industrial revolution and the environmental consequences of the interaction between the modern human society and the rest of the global ecosystem sustainable administration of natural resources and energy supply global allocation of resources and questions of life style international standards of environmental management systems and the EMS of Sydväst

Practice what you preach

There is a conscious effort of trying to reduce the environmental impact in the

everyday life of the organization. Environmentally friendly purchases are recom-

mended, priority is given to products with an environmental label. For instance the

purchase of cleaning products has been concentrated, which is economically more

sound and also reduces the need of transportation. In renovation and construction

work on the campuses environmental aspects have been taken into account e.g. in

the choice of building materials.

In an organization that operates at many locations transportation uses up a great

deal of time and energy. The need of traveling for internal meetings has been cut

by installing video conference equipments to the units.

The sorting of waste has been promoted by clear instructions and proper contain-

ers. To reduce unnecessary use of paper students are allowed free of cost printing of

documents only to a certain limit.


An example of integrating sustainability in the curriculum

In all Degree Programmes every course description includes the heading Sustainability Aspects, stating briefly how sustainability is dealt with in the course. Some examples:

Degree Programme in Construction Engineering Course: Concrete construction Sustainability Aspects:

the life cycle of concrete constructions how to treat and recycle concrete ware

Degree Programme in Health Care Course: Geriatric Care Sustainability Aspects:

the impact of the immediate environment and technology on the elderly person and the next of kin in home nursing care economic, social and qualitative aspects in home nursing care of the elderly

Degree Programme in Business Administration Course: Business Administration Sustainability Aspects:

the social responsibilities of a business enterprise.

Degree Programme in Tourism

Module: Tourism Planning and Management

Sustainability Aspects

The module adopts a sustainability-oriented approach to the planning and management of tourism destinations and students are required to understand the principles of sus- tainable tourism development and recognize the critical role of ecology and economics

in the tourism system.

Engagement on Environment Days

In a learning environment it is important to involve as many as possible to hands-

on schemes that show results. Environment Days and special events at the units

provide an opportunity for students and staff to work together. The ecological,

economic and social dimensions of sustainability come together, for instance, in:

Repairing old bikes for free use to students

Auctioning obsolete computers and school furniture for the benefit of the

Student Union

Cleaning of campus areas

Finding your favorite mode of exercise; bowling, aerobic, work-out, golf etc.

Town orienteering with environmental themes

Lectures on ecological cleaning methods, ergonomics, maintaining the

working capacity.


Involving the general public

Involving community members, entrepreneurs and other interest groups is one

of the environmental objects of Sydväst. Visibility is also a tool in the recruit-

ment of students, where there is increasing competition within higher education

in Finland.

A series of Studia Generalia lectures open to the public were given in 006 to

celebrate the 0 th anniversary of Sydväst University of Applied Sciences. The lec-

tures featured sustainable development from the ecological, economic, social and

cultural perspectives ranging from global issues to the development of the local

coastal areas. The purpose of the series was to draw attention to the many dimen-

sions of sustainable development and to encourage contacts between the scientific,

the educational and the business community in the region.

An annual Energy Fair was arranged at Campus Sydväst Ekenäs in cooperation

with Ekenäs municipality and its power company Ekenäs Energy. The fair features

e.g. renewable sources of energy, sustainable production, frugal consumption. Over

twenty local businesses presented their products and services to some 600 visitors

during the most recent Energy Fair in February 007.

National and international networks

Sydväst University of Applied Sciences is a partner in several national and inter-

national networks promoting sustainable development. Among them is Baltic Sea

Sustainable Development Network, coordinated by Laurea University of Applied

Sciences in 005-006, and after that by Sydväst in the years 007-009. The

project is funded by the Ministry of Education in Finland as part of the Baltic

E process. The aim is to facilitate cooperation between different higher education

networks for sustainable development in the Baltic Sea region. One of the sched-

uled projects is Management Systems for Sustainable Development in Institutions

of Higher Education in the Baltic Sea region.


The following factors have contributed positively to the implementation of the

EMS at Sydväst:

1) The management’s engagement

The initial decisions for making sustainable development a focus area and for im-

plementing an EMS were taken by the Board of Directors and thus involved the

entire organization from the start. The Environmental Policy, being a formal public

document, expressed the commitment of the organization. These factors have pro-

vided a foundation to fall back on at the grass root level.


2) Environmental Handbook

The Environmental Handbook was published in 00, only a year after the work

started. It is a practical tool for everybody involved in the planning and implemen-

tation of environmental work. The handbook has been gradually modified as the

work has proceeded. In addition to the Environmental Handbook, which is intended

for the entire organization, there are separate handbooks for each unit outlining

the EMS work for their specific needs.

3) Involving students and staff

In order to involve the staff a 7.5 credit course in the implementation of an EMS

was offered. The course assignments focused on the specific environmental situa-

tion and needs of each unit in the organization and thus the course work laid the

foundation for the work of the Environmental Groups.

Since the seven locations of our operations vary from rural settings to central city

areas, the problems are partly very different. The fact that each unit approaches the

work from their own situation has contributed to the involvement.

From every unit 5 to5 persons have been active in the Environmental

Groups, which means that about 30% of the staff has actively participated. Each

Environmental Group has one or more student representatives.

Several Degree Programmes have offered courses involving the theory of EMS

as well as practical environmental tasks which students performed as course assign-

ments at their own unit. The external auditor’s report pointed out the successful

application of the “practice what you preach” principle in relation to the everyday

work has been done at the different units.

4) Sustainability Day

Further education of students and staff is central and therefore part of the an-

nual agenda. Sustainability Day twice a year includes evaluating the work done,

exchanging ideas and getting new ones from expert lecturers.

5) Communication

Spreading information both within the organization and outside has received a

great deal of attention. Four Environmental Reports have been published, the lat-

est one of 006 also summarized in English. Internal information has been given

at different meetings of staff and management and during Sustainability Days.

According to the external auditor Sydväst has succeeded in communication and

in anchoring the EMS into the organization because the same proposals are dis-

cussed on Sustainability Day, in the Environmental Management Group and in the

Management Review. The Management Review is a meeting, held twice a year,

where the top management reviews the EMS to ensure its continuing sustainabil-

ity, adequacy and effectiveness. The Environmental Coordinator writes a monthly

Environmental Bulletin which is distributed in electronic form throughout the or-

ganization. New employees familiarize themselves with the EMS as part of their

introduction to the organization.


6) Evaluation

The first internal audit was conducted in 00, after two years of implementa-

tion of the EMS. The internal audits are systematic, independent and documented

processes for evaluating the EMS to determine the extent of its implementation.

At the Management Review, held twice a year, examples from the units and fields

of studies have been brought up to show the extent of the work.

By definition an EMS is a process of continuous improvement. At Sydväst the

following factors require special effort and attention in the future:

  • a) Acceptance of change

The entire system of higher education in Finland has been subject to continuous

change for the last 5 years. At Sydväst the implementation of an EMS has meant

yet another process of adjustment and another effort consuming time and energy.

Where there has been universal agreement on the principle, practical work has not

always been easy. It has been difficult for both the administrative and the teaching

staff to find time to participate in the development of the EMS. Many lecturers find

the integration of sustainable development in their courses problematic, and some

feel their teaching is being interfered with from above.

A lot of effort has been put into internal communication to reduce the resistance

to change. Sustainability Days have highlighted best practice examples from the

units. Three annual awards for relevant initiative or successful events are presented.

The broad interpretation of sustainable development has gradually made it easier

in the Degree Programmes to see their specific links e.g. to the economic, social,

cultural or ethical dimension of sustainable development.

  • b) Degree of engagement

The work has started and progressed at a different pace in the various units. There

has been a natural and enthusiastic engagement in some units, others have been

less motivated. It is hard to write guidelines and instructions that will apply to all.

The staff and students at the units which show good results should be inspired to

continue and constantly improve their work. Those still at the beginning should be

motivated to better engagement to fill the demands.

  • c) ISO 14 001 terminology

The terminology in the environmental management standard arises from and was

created for the business world. Parts of it are hard to understand and implement

at an educational institution. Many of the words – such as environmental aspect,

impact, policy, performance and management system -need to be explained.

  • d) Monitoring the work done

The achievements of the work done so far have not been measured sufficiently. It

is necessary to improve the monitoring of the environmental impact. At the mo-

ment the focus is on developing clear ways to monitor our present objectives. The

documentation needs to be simplified and clarified. At the units the Environmental


Groups concentrate on improving their handbooks to make them more specific

and concrete.

e) Further integration

Progress has been made at integrating sustainable development in education.

However, much remains to be done. Hence one of the two specific environmental

goals for the next two-year period is to further integrate sustainable development

as a natural part of course work in every Degree Programme.

To support the Degree Programmes in finding their links to sustainable devel-

opment is important. Material for this has been collected at the virtual learning

environment Moodle, open to all students and staff. Definitions of sustainable devel-

opment, reading material, links to free virtual courses, relevant course assignments,

examples of questions for evaluation of courses, names of resource persons within

the organization and contact information of outside expert lecturers, NGOs and

other organizations that work with questions of sustainable development, ideas for

further education, etc can be found.

Future commitment

Sydväst strives to expand its environmental management system into a management

system for sustainable development more accurately, to cover also the economic,

social and cultural dimensions. There is much done already, but as sustainable de-

velopment the management process for sustainability is a continual process for a

better future.




Anne Virtanen and Liisa Rohweder

This part of the book gives examples how to integrate sustainable development

into the whole of curriculum as well as examples about pedagogical approaches

and methods conducted in courses promoting sustainable development. There has

been a lot of discussion whether sustainable development should be integrated as

part of the “normal” courses in the curriculum or if there is a need for the courses

which concentrate to sustainable development related issues. Separate courses give

the basic understanding of the challenges associated with sustainable development,

as well as the tools to develop our society and environment to be more sustainable

in the future, while an integrative approach gives a possibility for transformative

learning during the whole education period in university.

The next chapters introduce eight concrete examples of the ways to integrate

sustainable development in higher education institutions in the countries of Russia,

Finland, Germany, Ukraine, Poland and Estonia. The articles formulated the ba-

sis for discussion and further development work for the pedagogical model for

education for sustainable development, which was conducted in the workshops

organised by this project.

The first case in this part of the book is an example from Russia. Victor Ionov

and Ksenia Shelest from St.-Petersburg State University introduce how the niche

of sustainablility has been integrated at the universities in St.-Petersburg. The in-

novative idea is to improve the educational system so that it would stimulate the

creation of a new mentality of people in the st century – the new generation

SD in strategies Activities for SD in higher education: Background: - DESD SD in - Baltic
Activities for SD in higher education:
SD in
Baltic 21E
needs for
for SD
for SD
TEACHING AND LEARNING FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 3 Anne Virtanen and Liisa Rohweder This part of the
Sustainable future


that will be able to bring nature and mankind to the path way of sustainable devel-

opment. In addition, they introduce the importance of networking in promotion

of education for sustainable development. This is illustrated by examples about

the Baltic University Programme activities in Russia. They argue that wide-spread

multicultural and interdisciplinary co-operation is one important part of education

for sustainable development.

The next case from Finland is from Laurea University of Applied Sciences intro-

duced by Anne Virtanen. The article describes the basic ideas and the pedagogical

background of the innovative competence-based core curriculum prepared at

Laurea in 006 as a way to integrate sustainable development into education. The

curriculum renovation done in Laurea also means a change in the organisational

culture. Teachers need to re-orientate to their work and see students more as part-

ners than as objects. Sustainable development should also be understood as part of

everyone’s activities, not as a matter of the teachers who are especially devoted to

it. At the end of the article the research findings about the prevailing knowledge,

attitudes and practices for sustainable development are presented. It was important

to conduct such research as to find out what kind of support teachers need in order

to be able to promote sustainable development in their own work and also in order

to break the resistance to change.

Anja Grothe and Miriam Schmeling from Berlin School of Economics, Germany,

suggest different innovative teaching methods to use in learning for sustainabil-

ity at the university level. All the methods emphasize participation as such; the

methods for ESD demand that students become actively involved and contribute

intellectually through problem solving. The article describes appropriate strategies

and methods that will allow students to acquire the necessary competencies for

becoming active in solving problems and shaping society’s social, economic, techni-

cal, and ecological transition towards a sustainable future.

The rest of the articles in this part of the book describe study courses and peda-

gogical approaches to teach and learn sustainable development. The first two cases

are from Ukraine. The writing group Roman Zinko, Natalie Horal, Igor Lozovyj and

Olexandr Makovejchuk from the University of L’viv introduce, in the first article,

two interdisciplinary courses for education for sustainable development by combin-

ing the fields of transportation, psychology and life safety. The innovative idea in

the article is the creation of an intellectual transport system (ITS), the use of the

matrix of the transportation flow and ecological control on the streets and how this

information is transmitted to electronic big-boards through the channels of ITS

communication. The other Ukrainian example introduced by Natalie Horal raises

the importance of ethics when we talk about sustainable development and human

attitude to nature. The important starting point in the article is to see the world

as an integrated system, and in that way, the article is an example how systemic

thinking can be implemented in education. The article also raises the importance

of partnerships and networks between the communal organisations and educa-

tional institutions. The article as such is an example of an innovative way to handle

the subject of sustainable development – as well as scientific writing and artistic



Karolina Krolikowska, Piotr Magnuszewski and Jadwiga Magnuszewska from

Centre for Systems Solutions, Poland, and Jan Sendzimir from International Institute

for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria, introduce the study course pursuing the goal

of analyzing and understanding the basis for sustainable development. The empha-

sis is on dynamics points needed in the transition to sustainable development. The

authors question how we can both study and navigate toward sustainable develop-

ment at the same time. The critical features of the approach the authors introduce

are, in particular, multi- and transdisciplinary, systemic thinking and participation.

The study course integrates disciplines from ecology and economy through social

studies and psychology to concepts that integrate across disciplines, i.e. systems sci-

ence. Role playing simulation and systemic thinking methods help all participants

to communicate and work together and integrate the complex ideas about how

society and nature are changing.

A case from Estonia is presented by Tiina Elvisto from Tallinn University, and

Imbi Henno from National Examination and Qualification Centre focuses on

sustainable development in teacher education in Estonia. In the background of

the article is the important notion that teachers and educators have a key role

in education for sustainable development. In the article the authors describe the

sustainable development study courses that have been taught in Tallinn University

to the teacher education students.

The last example is from Finland prepared by Liisa Rohweder, Haaga-Helia

University of Applied Sciences. The author argues that oil combating education

is a proactive way to prepare for a potential oil spill. Behind is the fact that oil

transportations are dramatically increasing on the Gulf of Finland, and therefore,

there is an increasing risk for oil spills in the future. The article discusses about oil

combating education and brings out an example of a study course implemented in

the year 006. The course is based on the idea to enhance a holistic understanding

of an oil spill and oil combating from the sustainable development point of view as

well as from the management point of view. The education was based on the peda-

gogical approach called transformative learning circle, which emphasises critical,

reflective and collective learning and the importance of open learning environ-

ments as a basis for life long learning. The participants of the education were both

professionals and degree students from Savonia University of Applied Sciences in

eastern Finland.

All the articles in this part describe how to integrate different aspects of sustain-

ability into teaching and learning in higher education. The articles give writers

insights to the innovative ideas and critical factors of teaching and learning for

sustainable development. The following introductory chapter outlines theoreti-

cal viewpoints to the learning for sustainable development according to Tilbury

and Cooke. Tilbury´s and Cooke´s critical factors have served as a theoretical

framework for the development work done in this project as well. The aim was to

develop Tilbury´s and Cooke’s ideas further and to examine whether their ideas

are supported in teaching and learning for sustainable development in the Baltic

Sea region.


From traditional education towards critical education

Learning can be determined as “the result of the process of continuous interaction

of an individual or a group with its physical and social environment” (Dam-Mieras,

006: 4). Thus, learning is much more than competence building in formal ed-

ucation. Life-long learning has become an important concept in general and, in

particular, in the discussion of sustainable development. However, formal education

constitutes a basis for life-long learning as offering and constructing possibilities for

continual learning. Education is to be described as “an institutional process aimed

at realising defined learning objectives for defined target groups” (Dam-Mieras,

006: 4). Learning objectives vary from one discipline to the other, as well as from

one country and institute to the other. Despite the large variety there are many

common features in formal education as well; for instance, theoretical concepts,

scientific findings and global challenges such as sustainable development determine

education in universities.

The discourse and demand of sustainable development require transformation

in our way of living but also a shift from traditional ways of thinking and acting.

A new approach for sustainability implies a need for future oriented thinking and

action involving questioning and reflecting upon our contemporary actions and

decisions in a way that we can re-think and re-organise our activities. In an initial

stage, environmental educators or widely educators for sustainable development

integrated ecological, socio-cultural and economic dimensions simply as a sub-

ject matter into their courses without paying much attention to the pedagogical

approaches. Tilbury and Cooke (005: 6-) have described a change in envi-

ronmental education as a shift from traditional education to a critical approach.

The important features of education in the traditional approach are focusing on

increasing the awareness of issues, teaching values and attitudes for sustainability