Annual report 2015: Sustainable development

Karolinska Institutet’s, KI’s, vision is to significantly contribute to the improvement of human health. Good public health is both a prerequisite and a goal for sustainable development. In addition, KI contributes to sustainable development by taking environmental and social responsibility in its daily activities. A large part of the university’s sustainability work is carried out within the framework of KI’s environmental and sustainability management system, which aims at meeting the requirements of the international standard ISO 14001.

Research and education for sustainable development

In accordance with Strategy 2018, KI’s activities are to be characterised by a strong social commitment and contribute to sustainable development within and outside Sweden’s borders through our education and research.

In 2015 KI made efforts to increase knowledge and awareness of sustainable development among the general public, students, researchers and teachers. The results from an online survey about sustainable development, addressed to KI’s doctoral course directors, have been compiled in a report presenting good examples and other subject areas in which doctoral programmes can further clarify the aspect of sustainable development. During the year an interprofessional elective course, Sustainable development in healthcare, was offered to second-cycle students, and the number of students admitted has doubled in comparison with the previous year. Sustainability issues have also been clarified on the university’s web portal for the environment and sustainable development.

Sustainable campus

In accordance with Strategy 2018, KI’s activities are to be characterized by care for the internal and external environments. In 2015, KI completed several projects and measures to promote the environment and sustainable development. A selection of these is presented below.

KI has an objective to reduce the climate influence of travelling. One means is the commuter bus that has been running exclusively on renewable fuel between Solna and Huddinge since

1 September 2015 by agreement between KI and Karolinska University Hospital. An electric car has been purchased for catering on the Solna campus. The electric car has symbolic value as it is a small step on the path towards a fossil-free fleet of vehicles and reduces climate influence, noise and particle emissions on campus.

In order to reduce the need for travelling there are various solutions for virtual meetings that are being gradually developed/supplemented, in order to follow developments and to cover various needs. Training in this area can be obtained from the University Administration as necessary.

The virtualisation project at the central IT Office at KI is more or less completed. In its next stage KI will endeavour to offer the KI departments the opportunity to replace their traditional data servers with virtual servers in the the central IT Office’s system. The university will thereby raise the security of the IT environment at the departments, reduce electricity consumption and reduce the use of old equipment. The standard workplace project has also been implemented centrally at the University Administration and will be offered to the departments. The project will make it possible to purchase from a selection of “green” standard computers that are configured as environmentally efficiently as possible.

Other important contributions are the environmental activities at the departments, for example aiming at reducing the amount of hazardous substances used in laboratories.

The role of environmental and sustainability representative has been formalised during the year and is now included in an appendix to the Vice-Chancellor’s decision-making procedures and delegation rules for Karolinska Institutet. Environmental and sustainability representatives are now appointed at the departments through delegation by Heads of Department, and training for them has been implemented during 2015.

In order to improve chemicals management with respect to the environment, work environment and safety, chemicals representatives have also been appointed at the departments through delegation by Heads of Department. Training, activities and meetings have been initiated. Chemicals inventory takers for each research team have similarly been appointed. During the year a KI-adapted course has also been designed and offered to acting supervisors and deputy supervisors for flammable goods.

In 2015 the bar code system of the KLARA product database has been implemented at KI and training has been carried out. The bar code system can be used for chemicals inventory and management and has been introduced in order to increase safety and to reduce the quantity of hazardous chemicals at Karolinska Institutet.

Annual report