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Our goal is to become carbon neutral by 2030. To achieve this goal, the Climate Solutions Taskforce coordinates and manages measures at our campus in four areas: Transport & Travel, Building & Infrastructure, IT & Services, Food.  

Climate Solutions Taskforce

The Climate Solutions Taskforce is led by the directors of the Institute for Economy and the Environment (IWÖ-HSG), Prof. Judith Walls and Prof. Dr. Wüstenhagen, with managerial support from Prof. Moritz Loock. The taskforce and the associated Advisory Board is comprised of ten people and represents a variety of stakeholders within the University:

Prof. Dr.
Judith Walls


Co-Head Climate Solutions Taskforce

Prof. Dr.
Rolf Wüstenhagen


Co-Head Climate Solutions Taskforce

Prof. Dr.
Moritz Loock


Manager Climate Solutions Taskforce

Transport and Travel

The international outreach of our research and teaching is an important trademark and strength of the University of St.Gallen. Having such a strong international orientation and associated travel and transport, carries with it a substantial carbon emissions footprint. We are in the process of developing guidelines and awareness to help institutes and university departmetns to balance the trade-offs between international reach and environmental responsibility.


Mobility Car Sharing

All HSG employees receive a 20% discount on their Mobility membership and travel expenses, including their private use. Moreover, the University of St. Gallen has its own Mobility location for two cars.


E-bikes
Sockets for charging the batteries of E-bikes are available at the University bicycle stands and in the library building’s bicycle cellar. Moreover, the University owns E-bikes which can be used for business travels within the St. Gallen region.


Business Trips
University of St. Gallen employees use public transportation whenever possible. Their full costs are refunded if they do not own a public transport subscription. The administrative management only refunds the costs of travelling by car if it agreed to do so beforehand, if the destination cannot or is very difficult to reach by public transportation and Mobility Car Sharing is not available.


HSG Carpooling
The Student Union (SHSG) of the University of St. Gallen and the student association oikos Sustainable University (SU) have launched a platform for matching students who want to share car journeys. This makes it easier for them to find co-drivers/passengers, save fuel costs and protect the environment. Additionally, it allows them to get in touch with other HSG students.

Building and Infrastructure

The University of St.Gallen plans to integrate sustainability into existing buildings and to make it a central element of the planning of new buildings. We measure, track and have reduction targets for our consumption of energy, electricity, water and waste on campus.

Energy use and electricity

HSG consumes a substantial amount of energy. To minimize CO2 emissions, HSG continuously aims to optimize its operations.


Energy efficiency
In 2018, the University was able to increase its energy efficiency by 20%, which results in savings of around 700,000kWh of energy. The switch to LED accounts for a great amount of these savings and equals the average power supply of 100 single-family houses.


Electricity purchase
Since 2019, 100% electricity from hydropower is purchased for the main buildings on the HSG campus. The photovoltaic system on the roof top of an HSG building annually generates around 55,000 kWh of electricity. An average household consumes between 4,000 and 5,500 kWh of electricity, the solar plant thus generates electricity for 10–11 households.


Carbon neutrality
In 2010, the first carbon footprint of the HSG was calculated. In 2019, the HSG signed to UN Climate Emergency Letter and committed to become carbon neutral by 2030. The Climate Solutions Taskforce set up in 2020 will measure and reduce the footprint again. Latest data will be published soon.

Water

As a Blue University, HSG promotes the idea of water as a public good, as well as the consumption of tap water. It works to continually reduce the use of water and preserve this precious resource through various measures. Amongst these are the use of flow regulators, and using air blade dryers instead of paper towels which saves about 20 tonnes of paper and indirectly 330,000 litres of water per year.

Waste

With over 8300 students and more than 2800 faculty members and staff, the HSG produces a significant amount of waste every day. Consequently, a comprehensive recycling plan is in use, with waste sorted and then distributed to the University’s recycling partners.

PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and aluminum containers as well as boxes for paper collection are found across the campus.

PET
2076 kg of PET recycled in 2019, saving ~6228kg of greenhouse gas emissions and 1972 litres of oil and for which HSG was recognized with a certificate issued by PET Recycling Schweiz.

Paper
On average 50 tonnes of paper (incl. cardboard) are used annually. They are collected, distributed and separated based on their different qualities to improve the recycling process.

Metals and other waste
Metals and polystyrene are also separated from the other waste. Nespresso capsules are collected and forwarded to the respective recycling operator.

Food

Food is an important aspect of a sustainable university campus. Our canteen has a diverse offering of fresh, healthy and sustainably sourced products. The canteen continuously improves its sustainability by for example implementing measures to reduce food waste.

What we offer
Regionality is a top priority in the HSG-Mensa. A high share of regional products is ensured by the Migros East Switzerland’s logistics network. Cooking is fresh, healthy, seasonal and balanced every day. Moreover, every Tuesday the buffet is purely vegetarian, tap water is offered free of charge and multiple healthy snacks for in-between are available.

Supply
Sustainability is omnipresent and not limited to the food itself. Under the transportation strategy “prevent, relocate, improve”, Migros East Switzerland has been testing biogas trucks since 2019 which also supply HSG’s gastronomy. They use 100% Swiss biogas; Thus, the transport of the food is alomst CO2 neutral. Moreover, Migros is experimenting with fuel-cell technology, optimizing the delivery to HSG step-by-step.

Healthy and Sustainable Nutrition
As a result of oikos St. Gallen efforts, the lifestyle menu was introduced in 2013. This menu aims to reduce the environmental impact of food through seasonal and mostly vegetarian options. Once a week, MSC fish, chicken and pork may also be offered. The menus impress with their variety and are put together in cooperation with university sports to ensure a healthy diet. During 2014/15 on average 1400 lifestyle menus a month were consumed, already 2200 in 2016/17 and has increased to 2400 in 2018/19.

Food Waste
HSG-Mensa’s platform «Studienhungrige.ch» saves 1900 meals annually. Moreover, HSG-Mensa joined the «To Good to Go» platform to offer no longer needed foods at a reduced price to protect food from going to waste.

Reusable Tableware
The Migros label «Generation M» offers environmentally friendly reusable tableware as a useful solution for take-away meals which can be utilized and returned (for a pawn of CHF 5) at HSG. About 230 of these solutions are currently in circulation at the University. Since fall 2019, reusable cups were added to this offering. Today, roughly 550 environmentally friendly coffee cup alternatives are in circulation at HSG. Both of these solutions are produced sustainably and CO2 neutral. Users thus contribute to reduced environmental pollution resulting from take-away meals. More information: https://generation-m.migros.ch/de/nachhaltigkeitsthemen/plastik.html