In 2021, the Delegate for Responsibility & Sustainability developed a university-wide sustainability strategy, focusing on environmental topics that underpin socio-economic systems. This strategy has the intention to achieve two main goals by 2025:
1. preparing HSG students to become organizational leaders in a world that must solve severe environmental crises such as climate change and biodiversity loss;
2. leading by example and getting halfway to net zero.
Building on the Planetary Boundaries framework by the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the current sustainability strategy seeks to embed the topics of climate change, biodiversity loss, and circular economy into all three core activities of the University: teaching, research, and campus & outreach.
To address the topic of climate change, a detailed climate strategy is being developed to reach the goal of net zero by 2030. Apart from that, the current sustainability strategy is the foundation of an integrated sustainability strategy being developed to embed the socio-ecological and socio-economic dimensions more deeply. These two developments will be expanded upon more fully in the following sections.
As a key part of the existing environmental sustainability strategy, HSG’s climate strategy 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 that focuses on six action areas, covering activities in teaching, research, and on campus & outreach. 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.
Towards a More Integrated HSG Sustainability Strategy
The Working Group on Social and Economic Sustainability is applying a systematic approach to identify material socio-ecological and socio-economic topics that are relevant at HSG. The process is inspired by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the SDG framework for systematic sustainability management and reporting, but is tailored to HSG as a public higher-education institution. The strategic formulation of the social and economic dimensions of the sustainability strategy will build around the existing core elements: teaching, research, and campus & outreach.
The working group will also assess how the University is creating direct and positive impacts internally and beyond. In doing so, the working group is defining concrete goals and a roadmap of measures and indicators to achieve those goals.
The Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Team designed an equality, diversity & inclusion strategy in 2021. It is embedded in the overarching HSG Strategy 2025 and includes the following key strategic goals:
1. embedding equality, diversity and inclusion in our structures and culture;
2. ensuring equal opportunities and respect for all members of the University;
3. integrating equality, diversity and inclusion into teaching, research, and executive education.
Several related initiatives and processes are ongoing within the three focal areas structure, culture, and individual. For example, measures have been implemented to enhance female representation among faculty to 30% by 2025. Further, HSG has taken actions to raise awareness of the reality of life faced by University members with special needs. Apart from that, HSG is committed to develop academic specialisations on the topics of equality, diversity and inclusion in the core disciplines, in academic programmes, and in research.