Sustainable Aalto

Social responsibility and sustainability are an integral part of all activities at Aalto University. They build on the University’s values and strategy, and are implemented into research, learning and other operations of the University. Campus development also has a key role in implementing and creating new models for sustainable practices.

See Aalto University’s sustainability reports and key figures.

Responsibility in education and learning

Our aim is to integrate responsibility and sustainability as a cross-sectional theme to all teaching. For example, the objectives of Aalto's Bachelor's and Master's programs will include connections to responsibility and sustainability. In addition, teaching staff are offered models and good practices on how to consider responsibility in the everyday learning, course practices and contents. Sustainability is promoted in Aalto University’s teaching in all the six schools, as well as in multidisciplinary programs, courses and student projects.

Here are some examples of the programs focusing on sustainability:

Research and art contribute to sustainable society

Aalto University's key areas of research are connected to clearly identified societal challenges, such as climate change, access to energy, wellbeing and health as well as nutrition. The key areas focus on questions such as sustainable transport, renewable energy, bioeconomy and robotics. The competence and new solutions based on research results are part of the University’s societal impact.

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Responsibility and sustainability are present in both research contents and results as well as research processes and practices. Also the artistic activities at Aalto University have a strong connection to responsibility and societal impact. Their societal role is multifaceted – for example to build critical thinking and ability to create new conceptual ideas and models for societal challenges.

Aalto University has several research groups that focus on responsibility and sustainable development, for example:

  • Aalto Energy Efficiency Research Programme and Energy Garage focus on sustainable energy solutions in a multidisciplinary way.
  • Aalto Global Impact advances and facilitates Aalto University’s societal impact in a global context.
  • Impact Iglu supports entrepreneurs who do business to solve societal challenges.
  • Social Acceptability Study (SAS) network is a research platform for sharing research and knowledge to build a sustainable bio-based society.
  • Sustainability in Business Research group focuses on e.g. the role of social responsibility in organisational learning and relationships, as well as in evaluating corporate social responsibility and sustainability.
  • Water & Development Research Group is a multidisciplinary research group that focuses on interconnectedness of water and development as well as research on integrated water systems.
  • NODUS is a research group and open network situated in Department of Design, focusing on new and emerging theories and practices of systemic implementations in design for sustainability.

Sustainable campus

The key environmental impacts of campuses are related to energy consumption, transport and recycling. Campuses operating in line with the principles of sustainable development are an important part of Aalto's campus strategy. Aalto works actively to develop the energy efficiency of the current real estate stock and to reduce energy consumption.

Aalto University Properties Ltd also invests in producing its own energy in an environmentally-friendly manner. Aalto University Properties owns approximately 75% of the University’s premises. The objective is for the Otaniemi Campus to be energy self-sufficient by 2030.

Read more:


About 95% of students and 55% of staff arrive to the campus by public transport, bikes or by foot. Aalto University offers campus bikes for staff.

Responsibility in Aalto’s daily practices

Responsibility is a part of Aalto University’s all daily activities, e.g. procurement and services. Operations are guided by for example equality and diversity guidelines and accessible learning plan. The University also has a committee on research ethics and a working group on sustainability and responsibility, which promotes sustainability in the University’s various functions, and develops sustainability reporting.

Read more about sustainable practices at Aalto University (pdf).

Building responsibility in co-operation 

Aalto University coordinates the Nordic Sustainable Campus Network (NSCN), which was established in 2012 by Aalto and its Nordic university partners. In addition, Aalto is an active member in International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN), Global Alliance and in Finnish University partnership for development (UniPID). In 2015 Aalto University joined Climate KIC, a knowledge and innovation community of the European Innovation and Technology Institute EIT. In the context of Climate KIC new education and innovation as well as start-up activities will be developed. Aalto University has also signed Rio+20 agreement.

Aalto University is a member of several international and national networks on responsibility and sustainability:


Page content by: | Last updated: 08.11.2017.