Ecological transition at the University of Lausanne: the course has been set!

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On Friday 31 May, at the Dies academicus ceremony, the Rectorate unveiled its CAP 2037 strategy and the 20 major objectives that make it up.

CAP 2037 is the result of a two-year collective process and is a key step in UNIL’s ecological transition. It involves the entire university community striving now to ensure that in 2037, on its 500th anniversary, UNIL will be on a trajectory that is compatible with the Paris Agreement and the planet’s limits.

20 objectives in all’areas

Based on a detailed analysis of the University’s environmental impact, UNIL has set itself 20 transition objectives covering all the areas that have the greatest impact: professional air travel, buildings, laboratories, purchasing, food, etc.

Find out more about each objective on the CAP 2037 website!

Widely discussed within the institution, first at the Transition Assembly, then during a broad consultation phase, each objective is contextualised and accompanied by a list of co-benefits, vigilance points and opportunities, already allowing us to outline the nature of the path to be taken to achieve it.

A key role for the University

On the basis of a breakdown of global limits at the University of Lausanne level, it is possible to set targets to be achieved by 2050. For the carbon footprint, for example, the Paris Climate Agreement, ratified by Switzerland, sets a clear objective: to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. At the University of Lausanne, being on a trajectory compatible with this ambition means reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 75% by 2037 (compared with 2019 levels).

Is CAP 2037 up to the task?

According to an estimate of the expected effects of the 20 CAP 2037 objectives, they should enable UNIL to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2037. Without changes in society as a whole, UNIL alone will not be able to achieve its objectives. This is why the CAP 2037 strategy aims to stimulate these changes at various levels, in particular through :
  • Education, both within the University of Lausanne community and for a wider public, through continuing education and collaboration with schools.
  • Research into issues related to sustainability and the changes it implies.
  • Collaboration with stakeholders in the field on transition issues.

The University, through its missions, has a key role to play in supporting the transition of society as a whole.

A collective adventure

While CAP 2037 brings to a close two years of intense work and in-depth discussions within the university community, it is above all the start of a collective adventure. With CAP 2037, UNIL now has :

  1. Precise knowledge of the nature of its environmental impact.
  2. Clear targets to be achieved by 2037 to be on a trajectory compatible with compliance with the Paris Agreement and planetary limits.
  3. A monitoring system to track the evolution of its impacts and the effect of the measures taken.

This will provide a solid foundation for tackling the next stage in the University’s ecological transition: implementing measures at all levels to move towards each of the targets set. This will require us to question our daily habits and mobilise all’our creativity to invent new ways of working, doing research and studying together in order to build a more sustainable and fairer University.