Experience, expertise, and co-construction are the foundations on which UCLouvain erected its first Transition Plan, a guiding document applicable from 2021 to 2026. Its vision, in addition to being ambitious, is also holistic, encompassing all facets of the institution and its seven locations.
Rector Vincent Blondel: “Our generations are accountable for the future of our ecosystem; I am also accountable to you for the transition undertaken by the University. It will only be possible with the support of you all.”
A co-constructed strategy
The Sustainability Transition Plan addresses three areas: education, research, and sustainable campuses. The last area is divided into specific themes: energy, mobility, consumption, investments, food, biodiversity, territorial development, and culture.
Each area has its own objectives calling for concrete actions and a variety of goals to be achieved in only five years. All of these actions are based on research and analysis carried out by students and members of the academic, scientific, and administrative staff.
In 2020, in order to open up the field of possibilities, 6 working groups met. Each group, co-chaired by members of the Sustainable Development Council, brought together around ten people from the academic, scientific and administrative staff and students.
Their mission: to identify ambitious objectives relating to their themes and translate these into concrete actions. To this end, the Louvain Learning Lab (LLL). helped students and staff create a participatory process. Their insights were fuelled by, among other things, ideas generated at four workshops which brought together more than 270 members of the University community.
Several bilateral consultations were subsequently held in order to refine and operationalise the completed proposals. The Sustainability Transition Plan was born, with the goal of reflecting UCLouvain’s ambition to establish impactful and innovative approaches for an ecological and social transition to a sustainable university.
Overview of key objectives
- Integrate, within 5 years, cross-cutting learning outcomes related to sustainable development in all bachelor programmes
- Establish a minor on "social issues"
- Give visibility to disciplinary courses and specialised programmes related to sustainable development at master level
- To stimulate and support the emergence of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research in the field of sustainable development and transition.
- Energy and buildings
- Territorial development
Energy and built heritage
- Achieving carbon neutrality by 2035
- Reducing consumption by combining sobriety and efficiency
- Decarbonising energy supplies
- Reduce the quantity and improve the quality of travel for the entire university community
Sustainable consumption and investment
- Less consumption
- Better consumption
- Discard less
- Investing sustainably
- Strengthen the supply of sustainable and affordable food on campuses
- Support sustainable agricultural and market garden production
- Provide access to and encourage consumption of quality tap water
- Promote fauna and flora, habitats and ecological continuity on the sites.
- Raise awareness and educate the community on biodiversity issues.
- Apply the STOP principle on all campuses
- Develop Athena-Lauzelle as a sustainable and ambitious housing district
- Move towards a sustainable and ambitious science park
- Support the establishment of businesses linked to the transition
- Creating links with culture to think and imagine the world of tomorrow
- Inform, raise awareness and involve the community
- Create a sustainable development fund to support the emergence of innovative projects
Monitoring and evaluation
In order to oversee and document the implementation of the Sustainability Transition Plan, UCLouvain will establish thoughtful, objectively measurable indicators which can then be used to monitor performance and progress. These are concepts useful for mobilising the University community and for oversight of the Sustainability Transition Plan by the Sustainable Development Council.
To ensure that this annual process of recording indicators is rigorous, UCLouvain is systematising and standardising data collection related to the major themes of sustainable development. This is a prerequisite for systematic measurement of our carbon footprint, reporting, and participation in the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking.