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Net zero by 2030

In 2019, the University of St.Gallen has committed itself to climate action and to the goal of net zero by 2030. The rectorate has signed the “Global Climate Letter for Universities and Colleges” which is now part of the UNFCCC`s Race to Zero campaign. The University of St.Gallen (HSG) is one of more than 1’000 global signatories, and one of 14 Swiss higher education institutions, pledging to reduce its emissions to net zero (

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

As a key part of the existing sustainability strategy, HSG’s climate roadmap aims to deliver on the University’s pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2030. As a starting point, we measured our current carbon footprint, which amounted to 25,583 tons of CO2 in 2019. The large majority of those emissions are scope 3 emissions as defined under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, originating from upstream and downstream processes, including long-distance travel by students and faculty.

To address emission hotspots and leverage opportunities for climate action, we have developed a roadmap covering activities in teaching, research, societal engagement, and campus & operations. The roadmap addresses innovation potential while at the same time managing risk and striving for operational excellence. This holistic approach allows us to embed climate action into the University’s core processes and create synergies. As an example, students in the innovative Managing Climate Solutions programme implement low-carbon projects on campus, such as crowdfunding a solar roof on the university gym, thereby raising further awareness and reducing our carbon footprint.

HSG-wide CO2 Accounting, Procurement, and Supply Chain

In order to better understand the HSG CO2 footprint and to be able to identify and prioritize University development projects towards net zero, we are setting up a HSG-wide CO2 accounting. The project, which is based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol ( and is developed with the help of an external partner, complements the energy monitoring, which already measures CO2 emissions related to energy consumption of the cantonal buildings used by HSG.

The aim of the HSG-wide CO2 accounting is to provide a coherent data base for identifying central areas of climate action, implementing carbon neutral procurement and measuring and managing emissions throughout the supply chain.

The most recent report can be found HERE.

Mobility @HSG

The University of St.Gallen is currently developing a new mobility concept. Mobility is part and parcel of any campus university. The new concept aims at ensuring connectivity and easy access while at the same time reducing environmental impacts. This means, for example, encouraging more than 3’000 employees and 9’000 students coming to the University almost every day to use public transport and other forms of sustainable mobility, such as walking and cycling. We also look into the opportunities and challenges of new forms of urban mobility, such as shared e-bikes and e-scooters that have become popular among students. For the longer term perspective, we also take into account changing mobility patterns. For example, the Covid-19 pandemic has made working from home more popular, and while face-to-face teaching will remain an integral part of our DNA, new forms of blended learning and online teaching have become more common. Also, conference travel, which has been a substantial part of pre-Covid emissions, has changed in the last two years with new technological opportunities allowing to remain connected without the same amount of physical movements as before. The aim of the project is to connect these high-level trends with the design of the University’s present and future mobility-related infrastructure.

Knowledge exchange on climate action

Apart from reducing physical emissions on campus and along the supply chain, a university can also positively contribute to climate action by creating and sharing knowledge. As such, the University of St.Gallen (HSG) as a leading European business school is dedicated to raising awareness through research, teaching and executive education.

A number of faculty members have been doing research on connecting climate change to core business school topics such as finance, consumer behaviour, business models and innovation management. The University’s Institute for Economy and the Environment (IWÖ-HSG) has been a hub for sustainability, energy and climate research since its foundation in 1992, and more recently, several faculty positions in managing climate solutions, energy and sustainability management, climate finance, sustainability governance, and environmental economics have been created across different schools of HSG, all of which have a strong climate component.

In terms of teaching, the University is offering a highly popular certificate programme in Managing Climate Solutions (MaCS-HSG) and has been pioneering the award-winning CEMS Model UNFCCC course. An increasing number of elective courses on the Master’s level allow students from a wide range of programmes to acquire competences related to climate action. The objective is to also increase the portfolio of climate-related courses on Bachelor’s and Assessment levels. At all levels, there is very strong demand for student theses combining climate change and business topics.

In Executive Education, we offer dedicated CAS programmes and regular sustainability electives in our various (E)MBA programmes, and are currently launching an entirely new Executive MBA in collaboration with ETH Zürich (embaX) with a strong sustainability, energy and climate change component.

We also regularly exchange experiences with other universities embarking on the Race to Zero. In 2021, we held a Webinar on Net Zero Universities.