Universiteit Leiden

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Sustainability Report 2021: continuing to reduce our CO2 footprint

Leiden University continued to reduce its carbon footprint in 2021 by being more careful with natural resources and making structural reductions to its energy consumption. This is what it says in the Sustainability Report 2021.

Leiden University is committed to sustainability, says President of the Executive Board Annetje Ottow. ‘By collecting and collating our efforts, we can see where we as an organisation stand in relation to our sustainability ambitions. Transparent reporting on our results allows us to monitor and adapt our sustainability transition.’

Sustainable research and teaching

Sustainability plays an important role in the teaching and research at Leiden University. One example of sustainable research is the  Vrouwe Vennepolder living lab at Oude Ade, a village close to Leiden. In 2021 researchers from Leiden, together with citizens and farmers, started a project to investigate how to manage peat meadowland sustainably.

There were also various initiatives in 2021 to integrate sustainability into our teaching. Students could take the new ‘Circular Economy: from Challenge to Opportunity’ honours class, for example, or participate in the ‘Interdisciplinary Thesis Labs’ at the Centre for Sustainability. At the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) sustainability topics are increasingly being integrated into existing courses and more students are choosing these topics for their assignments, research or thesis. A survey of students showed that they think more attention should be paid to sustainability in their degree programmes. Sustainability in our teaching will therefore be an important focus of our Sustainability Implementation Agenda 2023-2026, which will be published in 2023.

Energy transition

The University is committed to energy transition: fossil fuels should make way for sustainable sources of energy such as solar, water and wind energy. This is being done in three ways: by reducing our energy consumption, generating renewable energy and purchasing renewable energy.

The University generates electricity with solar panels and a combined heat and power system (CHP). In 2021 this was responsible for respectively 598,262 kWh and 238,343 kWh. Our electricity consumption in 2021 was 9.2 per cent lower than in 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic was clearly visible here.

To find out more about the results, activities and plans relating to the University’s sustainability policy, see our ‘The Sustainable University’ dossier.

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