Sustainability is part of Aalto University’s strategy and values. In February 2018, as the first Finnish university, Aalto University signed a global accord for universities to commit to the advance Sustainable Development Goals in our teaching, research, innovation activities and campus development.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
What can a university do?
The accord is an important and strong sign of commitment, but we still need the actions in order to achieve the goals. Therefore, the underlying question is: “What can we do?”
From a practical point of view, there is a need to discuss and understand the goals and find ways to scale them to match our means. This requires content and visibility to Aalto University’s SDG work. The SDGs are not only difficult to measure as such, but they are also heavily cross-linked and affect each other. However, this means that even small actions can result in progress of several goals.
Aalto University’s digitalization project strives to find new ways of providing visibility to SDGs. In particular, combining and scaling the goals into meaningful and practical actions. Therefore, we are organized an innovation challenge to find new digital solutions to support actions on implementing SDGs including following advancement and enhancing communications on SDG goals. The challenge took place in spring 2019 and it includes a pilot project focusing on SDGs. With the challenge, we found a partner with whom to continue development of digital Aalto SDGs.
Aalto University is committed to SDG Accord
SDGs at Aalto are all-inclusive principles that need to be part of our everyday life.
In the accord, Aalto University is committed to:
- Align all major efforts with the Sustainable Development Goals, targets and indicators, including through our education, research, leadership, operational and engagement activities;
- Aim to involve members from all key stakeholder groups in this endeavour, including students, academics, professional staff, local communities and other external stakeholders;
- Collaborate across cities, regions, countries and continents with other signatory institutions as part of a collective international response;
- Using our own unique ways, inform, share our learning and account to both local and global communities our progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals;
- Annually report on 'how does my institution contribute to the Goals and what more can we do'.
SDGs are global and their level of ambition is high. As a matter of fact, so high that they require actions, efforts and partnerships from all countries. And the success of the agenda 2030 depends on how the SGDs are implemented and measured. True impact comes from true actions, true work, not just the words.
SDGs in Action is a tool for everyone to create, join and find such actions. On national level, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture is working on their Agenda 2030 strategy.
Aalto University IT Services
Senior Advisor, Sustainability
Aalto Sustainability Hub