Universiteit Leiden

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How sustainable is Leiden University?

How does Leiden University save energy? Could we organise our recycling better? Do our study programmes devote sufficient attention to the importance of sustainability? And how do we address this theme in our research? These and other questions are answered in Leiden University’s Sustainability Report for 2019.

Leiden University wants to make its research and education as sustainable as possible while taking into account the interests and needs of future generations. Our world is changing and so is our climate.

The University accounts for its policies in this area in its annual sustainability report (in Dutch) which was recently published. In this report we devote attention to the steps taken by the University to make its operations more sustainable based on the goals articulated in our Environmental Policy Plan, which covers the period from 2016 to 2020. The report covers, among other things, the ways in which we have made our operations more sustainable, and sustainability in our education and research. 


Leiden University is proud of the progress it has made thanks to the fantastic efforts of its staff and students. The University’s entire vehicle fleet is now electric, nearly every location has a Join the Pipe tap, and our PURE restaurants and cafés sell almost no beef products. These and other examples from the report show that our staff and students are working hard on sustainability. Leiden University also scores seventh on the UI Green Metric, the worldwide raking of sustainable universities. 

CO2 footprint

DOver the past years the University has also worked intensively on reducing the CO2 footprint of the entire organisation by being more economical with resources and reducing its energy consumption. The University also compensates for its energy consumption by purchasing green certificates (VERs), thus financially supporting projects that help reduce CO2 emissions around the world. In 2019 our CO2 footprint had dropped by 51% in comparison to 2016. We expect it to decrease further this year. 


We also encourage reflection on sustainability: we have increased our range of courses on ‘green’ themes and communicate about sustainable initiatives and research projects originating on campus. Students who are active in the Leiden University Green Office (LUGO) keep the University on its toes and recently presented their own ideas in a Green Paper. All these activities, the communication surrounding them, and the commitment of our students and staff are helping us transition to an ever more sustainable university where we can all enjoy learning and working.

New plans

The current coronavirus crisis is not only forcing us to find new ways of working and learning, but in future it may also impact the University’s sustainability and its sustainability policy, although we do not yet know how and to what extent. The year 2020 marks the end of our current Environmental Policy Plan and we will formulate ambitious new goals for the period after 2020 in a new and future-proof vision on sustainability. 

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