23 April 2020

Small changes today can make a big difference tomorrow

Climate change

As the world increasingly strives to restrain the spread of COVID-19, we must not forget to continue to respond to the environmental challenges our world is facing. While we firmly believe in the positive impact of student mobility, the international education sector’s role in carbon emission is indisputable.

At International Education, we constantly evaluate our environmental impact and find ways to contribute to the University’s overall sustainability strategy. In this context, UCPH believe that even a small contribution such as taking a more sustainable approach to the production of flyers, brochures and merchandise can make a positive difference when advocating for international student mobility and participating in fairs and conferences.

Raising the bar

UCPH exchanges roughly 2,000 students each year, and with students going back and forth, UCPH cannot overlook the responsibility for our institution’s carbon footprint. In addition to looking into travelling more sustainably, UCPH have implemented a set of sustainable printing practices to limit the production of flyers and brochures to the strictly necessary and to commit to using non-hazardous printing materials.

Although we are aware that the overall impact of sustainable printing practices is modest compared to the emission reduction obtained by e.g. travel regulations, it is still a step towards the achievement of the University’s targets for energy and CO2 reduction as described in our sustainability strategy Green Campus 2020. The strategy sets ambitious targets for the reduction of UCPH's own energy consumption, CO2 emissions and waste volumes as well as for recycling increases and making a more sustainable everyday life for staff and students. Prorector Bente Stallknecht further wants to raise the bar of UCPH’s green transition:

“We’re very keen to limit climate changes and we intend to reduce our total CO2 footprint even more. We simply need to raise the bar in relation to the green transition. Transport and air travel are key elements in this respect.”

It’s all about committing to making good choices

The production of large amounts of printed materials is widespread when it comes to promoting international education. Simultaneously, the waste of printed materials at study fairs, conferences and seminars, is still an all-too-familiar sight.

While some printed materials are necessary, promoting internationalisation does not have to be bad for the environment. It is all about committing to sustainable choices. UCPH are committed to printing less, using recycled paper, choosing mate paper finishes and environmentally friendly ink as well as choosing two-sided printing and reducing the printing of photos – all this in collaboration with eco-friendly printers.

Inspired by our recent visit to our partner at the University of British Columbia, UCPH is also reconsidering the custom of bringing gifts when visiting our partners. The same goes for our production of merchandise, which UCPH are looking to produce more sustainable because it is often at risk of being thrown away when returning home from an international visit.

Today, more than ever, it is time to take responsibility and trust that the small changes we make today will make a big difference tomorrow.

By Alexandra Osorio Brito & Aske Stick