Sustainability at HFU
On the one hand, core values provide orientation.They also serve to motivate. When it comes to the central challenges of our society, universities of applied sciences play a particularly important role. The faculties and various institutes of Furtwangen University offer a wide spectrum of expertise which can be used constructively to meet the challenges of the 21 Century.
The success of HFU as an educational institution over the last 160 years was only made possible by our constant awareness of our regional, social, economical and ecological responsibilities. The metaphor used in the HFU sustainability strategy, "Sustainability to go", links a sense of historical and regional uniqueness to this history. HFU builds on an existing foundation and takes sustainable development further. These core ideals are embedded throughout our university so that in the future too, we will play a responsible role.
HFU is involved in the following areas of sustainability.
EMAS Eco-Management and Audit Scheme
Furtwangen University has successfully fulfilled all environmental testing requirements for the EMAS Eco-Management and Audit Scheme. In doing so it is one of the first universities in Germany to achieve this environmental award. EMAS is a voluntary environmental management tool set up under the aegis of the European Commission. Its objective is to improve the environmental performance of organisations by having them commit to both evaluating and reducing their environmental impact, and continuously improving their environmental performance.
In April 2016 all three campuses of the university were visited to carry out random testing and it passed with flying colours. The EMAS award is valid for 3 years
The award was the final step in a complex process at the university. Preconditions of EMAS registration included an initial environmental review, the implementation of an environmental management system and the development of an environmental statement. Environmental factors considered were energy consumption, emissions, refuse or waste water, but also indirect factors such as the durability of products or administrative and planning decisions. For example, the university examined among other things the way it deals with dangerous substances in the labs, workplace safety or mobility between the various campuses.
The new environmental management system of the university is a long-term committment. To ensure the sustainability of the process, regular internal checks will be carried out by the university until the external auditor confirms the effectiveness of the environmental management system next year. The sustainability unit of the university is responsible for the EMAS implementation process.
During the visit of the auditors to the university, various professors gave talks on how they are integrating sustainability issues into their teaching, project work and research. Examples of these included an electric bike charging station project, the Rheines Wasser scientific swim marathon carried out by Prof. Andreas Fath, or the new Sustainable Bioprocess Technologies degree programme.
RCE South Black Forest
In the summer of 2014, educational institutes, organizations and individuals joined together to set up a Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainability (RCE) in the southern Black Forest. In December 2014 it was certified by the University of the United Nations. Since then the RCE has been coordinated by the Office for Sustainable Development at Furtwangen University.