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Aalto University adds steps to reduce emissions

Aalto University has mapped key measures for reducing climate emissions in all areas of its operations. The greatest reductions will be in energy use and procurement.
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‘We have now completed a very detailed investigation into the climate effects of all of our activities and identified the most effective means for reducing their impact’, reports President Ilkka Niemelä.  

The university’s carbon roadmap 2023-2030 examines both the university’s direct emissions, such as from fuel consumption, and indirect emissions, such as Aalto’s carbon footprint relating to its procurements of various kinds.  

The university’s main sources of emission in 2023 were due to flight travel, construction, procurements and energy purchases. Measures are being launched to reduce emissions in every category.  

Aalto has already succeeded in achieving some emissions reductions. Aalto’s emissions fell by 17 per cent compared to 2022. The main reasons for the drop included reduced consumption of heating and electricity, lower emissions in energy production, more detailed procurement planning, and changes in how staff and student commuting is calculated.  

"A very positive development was that emissions were reduced despite an increase of over 1000 in the number of Aalto students and staff. This means an even greater drop in emissions when calculated per capita", explains Niemelä. 

In addition to reducing climate impacts, Aalto University is committed to reducing other environmental impacts of its operations. For example, in managing the campus grounds, Aalto takes into account biodiversity as well as the species that typically make their habitat in the area.

Aalto is seeking to achieve its carbon neutrality aims by 2030. Based on the more detailed calculations, Aalto will be able to achieve the target of carbon neutrality in terms of its own energy use. As for climate emissions from other sources, Aalto will through its own actions be able to reduce them by an average of half by 2030.   

"Achieving the goal of carbon neutrality calls for a decrease of carbon emissions in society overall. The university uses goods and services that it buys from outside providers, whose emissions we cannot directly affect. However, we would call upon our partners to reduce their own emissions," says Niemelä.  

Aalto University wields considerable influence in society in combatting climate change  through its adapting of research, innovation and education towards emissions reductions. A large part of Aalto’s research is directly related to sustainable development.  

"We are a university of doers, as can be seen in how many sustainable development innovations we produce and in the expertise and attitudes of our alumni. I am convinced that Aalto will have a meaningful role in the future in advancing solutions for the sustainability crises," says Niemelä.

Carbon Neutral Aalto 2030

Aalto University is committed to reducing its climate emissions in all operational areas with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. The university has identified the critical steps to be taken to reduce climate emissions in each area. In the coming years, the greatest reductions will be obtained in the category of energy procurement.

Read more on Aalto's work for carbon neutrality
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