Actions and projects on sustainability

Purchase and waste management

Policy

  • Lansink's ladder (prevention > reuse > recycling > incineration > landfill) forms the basis of the waste policy. While the 'waste' policy mainly focused on the careful selective collection of waste streams, more and more attention is being paid to the prevention of waste.
  • Near auditoriums, at foyers, in corridors, selective collection takes place via waste islands. In addition to the rest, PMD+(packaging) and paper, we also collect GFT (organic waste)!
  • Since 1 January it is forbidden in Flanders to use disposable cups at events. Both at the major staff and student events we had already made great strides in this direction. Now it is time to extend this to all levels and events. And we are happy to help you with that. We provide a handy UGent lending system of reusable cups .
  • Also in our daily operation we try to eliminate disposables.
  • With the campaign 'bring your own cup' UGent people are encouraged to bring their own bottle or bag when using the water coolers and coffee machines.
  • The second-handed shop on campus Sterre offers discarded but still usable products, appliances, furniture, ... both for professional groups and for private use.
  • With a transition plan around fair and circular ICT, we are looking for IT equipment with the best available sustainability label, we are working on a lifespan of ICT material and we want to increase the collection ratio of e-waste.
  • The project close the gap gives IT equipment a second life in development projects and guarantees expert waste processing.
    The Urban Mining project invites staff and students to deposit their discarded cell phones in one of the yellow barrels for recycling.
  • More and more paperwork is being digitized.
  • Sustainable products in the gift shop: fair trade hoodies, Dopper bottles, water carafes, ...
  • A sustainable procurement policy plan now also wants to prevent waste from the source. Social, ecological and economic criteria are also integrated into all phases of the purchase of products and services. For example, Fair Trade products, FSC wood, vegetable inks for printed products, sustainable products in the UGent gift shop, etc. are chosen.
  • With the ReDesign project, we went in search of sustainable communication carriers.
  • The students organize twice a year a swap shop for outgoing and incoming international students.
  • On the Coupure campus, a PC class was set up with 115 refurbished PCs.

Projects in process

  • Less waste and optimal application of the 'Lansink ladder' principle, that's what we're going for in 2020. An overview of what's in the pipeline...
  • Study for the optimization of orders and deliveries of goods, allowing the many small orders to be more grouped and possibly delivered to depots on the outskirts of the city to be distributed with CO2-neutral transport in the city center.

Energy

Policy

  • UGent is committed to an energy policy plan 2020-2030. By doing so, UGent supports the EU ambition and sets itself a specific target for the period 2020 - 2030:
    • Reduce total CO2 emissions from building heating and electricity supply by an average of 1.5% per year.
    • Reduce energy consumption annually through more efficient use of space and energy (% is determined by master plan 2050), and
    • from now on fossil free to build and renovate.
  • The progress of the energy policy plan is monitored and adjusted annually in a follow-up report.
  • The UGent strives for the near-zero energy principle for all new construction and renovation projects.
  • The provision for sustainable energy measures is supplemented annually with proven savings, enabling continued investment in profitable measures that fall outside the legislation or the predefined guidelines.
  • Energy accounting is used to keep a monthly record of energy consumption.
  • Through energy audits the bottlenecks in the buildings in the field of energy are mapped out.
  • Responsability is achieved by passing on excessive and avoidable consumption to the relevant research group.
  • As a result of the renovation program, many heating systems have been renovated, building envelope insulated, windows replaced, roofs insulated, lighting adapted, awnings installed, ...
  • Investments are made in green energy: PV installations, heat pumps, ...
  • On campus Melle there are 3 wind turbines enabling the UGent to purchase green electricity cheaply. This production covers about 15% of the total energy consumption.

Projects in process

  • Permit application for 4th wind turbine on campus Proeftuinstraat
  • Projects to promote joint use of infrastructure: pilot project 'thinking together about space', core facilities, ...

Fossil divestment

Policy

  • UGent developed its own framework for its investment portfolio, which excludes investments in fossil energy companies and companies with a high C02 footprint. Companies looking for coal, oil and gas, extracting, refining and transporting them and generating electricity based on fossil fuels may no longer be included in UGent's investment portfolio. In addition to the exclusion of the fossil sector, it is requested to include companies engaged in renewable energy sources and circular economy.

Fair and circular ICT

Policy

  • As a major consumer of ICT hardware, Ghent University can exert significant influence on ICT companies to make their production chain more sustainable in a structural way. It can also reduce its own use of materials and the ecological footprint of the organization through a circular use of the required ICT. Read the transition plan for fair and circular ICT here..
  • In the purchase contract with Dell, TCO-certified PCs were chosen. TCO is an international label for IT products and guarantees that production takes place in an environmentally and socially responsible way. The inspection is carried out by independent inspection institutions. On top, we start a dialogue with the supplier, in order to map out the risks of human rights violations and to work on improvements. To this end we are assisted by Electronics Watch. Not only they start dialogue with ICT suppliers, they also conduct extensive research into working conditions in ICT-producing countries. This ensures that the dialogue does not remain empty promises and concrete improvements can be demanded.
  • Discarded but still usable IT hardware is initially given a second life in inter-university projects in the global South. In recent years these were VLIR-UOS projects in Cuba and Ethiopia, but in principle this channel is open to all projects. Secondly, material that is still usable but not needed in our own projects is donated to Close The Gap vzw for reuse in all kinds of development projects. Very outdated or irreparably damaged PCs, laptops, printers, cell phones, etc. are disposed of via Recupel, which recovers valuable materials from them.

Projects in progress

  • To extend the life of ICT material and increase the collection ratio of e-waste, a conclusive registration of purchased devices is needed. DICT is working this out.

Mobility

Policy

  • Ghent University pursues an integrated mobility policy in which campuses are easily accessible, traffic safety is increased and the environmental impact of travel by staff and students is reduced. The company transport plan gives shape to this objective. Here you find the different options to travel to and from work.
  • The mode of transport for commuting (modal split) is mapped out annually.
  • There is a bicycle allowance and a reimbursement of public transport costs.
  • Commuters can park their bikes in a reserved bike shed at the station in the evening.
  • Service trips can be made with service bikes or shared cars.
  • A mobile bicycle repair service is available in the event of a bike breakdown and students can rent a bike cheaply from student AND mobility and make use of the bicycle repair facilities.
  • The many bicycle sheds on the campuses try to accommodate everyone and are adapted to the new needs (space for bike trailers and cargo bikes, sockets, ...).
  • There are bicycle lanes on campus Sterre and Ardoyen.
  • On presentation of your UGent/UZGent-personnel card, BSbike gives a 9% discount on the purchase of an e-bike and an additional discount on maintenance up to 15% of the purchase amount. More info at the personnel association.
  • A sustainable fleet policy defines the sustainability criteria a car has to meet at the time of purchase.
  • There is a shuttle service between Tech Lane Ghent and Gent-Sint-Pieters.
  • There is a sustainable travel policy.
  • Car parks will be transformed into green space, square, bicycle parking: rear parking Rectoraat, above-ground car park Dunant, car park Muinkschelde.
  • Streets will be cut and transformed into a square: Rozier and Ledeganckstraat.

Projects in process

  • Elaboration of a centrally controlled car-braking parking policy.
  • Integration of sustainability in the integrated policy plan internationalization.

Food

Policy

  • UGent opts for a sustainable food policy and thus strives for a healthy, affordable and ecologically responsible diet, with less meat and non-sustainable fish consumption.
  • Coffee and tea, fruit juice, white and red wine, sugar and cocoa powder are Fair Trade in all student restaurants. The fruit and chocolate bars in the candy vending machines at the UGent also carry this label. An awareness campaign on fair trade is organized every year.
  • The Thursday Veggie Day and the reverse resto Sint-Jansvest encourage staff and students to reduce their meat consumption. On Thursday Veggie Day, the spaghetti in the Bridge is now vegetarian as well.
  • Only sustainable fish will be on the menu. For example, tuna and anchovies have been removed from the menu.
    UGent students and staff can obtain a weekly fruit and/or vegetable package with organic, locally produced, honestly paid, fresh, affordable products.
  • Departments or services can find the most sustainable caterer for a reception, meeting or event via a sustainable catering list.
  • StuJardin wants to encourage city gardening among staff and students. The vegetable gardens on campus Coupure and campus Sterre are beautiful realizations.

Projects in process

  • The UGent is committed to provide 50% of its vegetarian supply by 2025. To achieve this, the step must be taken to a 2nd day with 2 veggie options and 2 meat/fish options.

Water

Policy

  • Rainwater is disconnected from the sewage system, reused as much as possible, infiltrated or delayed discharged.
  • On the Veterinary Campus, the treated wastewater is reused to clean the stables (grey water circuit).
    Through water audits, the energy bottlenecks in the buildings are eliminated.
  • Through water audits, the energy bottlenecks in the buildings are mapped out.

  • By means of water accounting, the consumptions are monitored and it is possible to react in case of deviating consumptions.

  • Stimuli encourage UGent employees to use water sparingly: awareness campaigns, a financial intervention for water saving measures for existing appliances, ...

  • Responsability is achieved by passing on excessive and avoidable consumption to the relevant research group.

  • The quality of the waste water at the lab sites is checked at regular intervals.

  • Tap water is promoted by installing drinking water fountains and water treatment systems in the kitchens.

Projects in process

  • Put drinking water more in the spotlight so they can replace vending machines.

Green and biodiversity

Policy

  • The aim of the Biodiversity Plan is to pursue an ambition in the field of biodiversity, to pursue an active policy and to find levers to overcome any barriers. The many actions proposed already show a strong commitment and a large bottom-up commitment. With the framework, the board can give direction and support.
  • UGent's campuses are managed ecologically. In more places the grass is now extensively managed.
    A climate forest has been planted in Melle.
  • Small green elements were planted on various campuses: facade plants, bulbous plants, flower meadows, fruit trees, ramparts, ...
  • The student association StuJardin manages a vegetable garden on campus Sterre and on campus Coupure.

Projects in process

  • We have to stop creating green space for new construction projects over and over again. If it really can't be done otherwise, it has to be compensated by removing pavement. This has to be done for the new homes on campus Sterre and Farmacie and for the new construction in the Proeftuinstraat.
  • Unnecessary parking spaces can be converted back into green zones.