At the University of Gävle, we use an environmental management system to coordinate our work for sustainable development: ecological (environment), social (work environment for staff and students) and economic (quality). The environmental management system is a systematic and structured method to organise environmental work and to share responsibility, prioritise, communicate, follow up and monitor efforts for a better environment.
To identify what activities and areas that can affect the environment, and what environmental measures we need to take, we engage in environmental reviews. This review comprises risks and opportunities for the activities, as well as stakeholders' needs and expectations. Our most significant environmental factors, those that can have the largest impact on the environment, are education, research, collaboration, energy use including refrigeration, transport and purchase and procurement.
Policy for sustainable development
The Policy for Sustainable Development outlines an overarching vision in line with our mission statement about how we should conduct our work for a sustainable living environment (ecologically, socially and economically). Work environment management and quality management are encompassed in the operative work for sustainable development. Work environment management and quality management are presented on our respective websites and in annual reports.
The senior management of the University of Gävle determines the direction for our management system and provides physical and financial resources. This includes active participation and support for the management system and responsibility for communicating the importance of working efficiently.
The overarching environmental objectives are common for the whole University; the Council for Sustainable Development (RHU ) draws up a proposal for the Vice-Chancellor's Management Council. The overarching objectives are then established by the University Board. The faculties, the university administration and the library (the units) each draw up their own specific objectives and courses of action, a plan describing how the objectives should be reached and appoint people to be in charge of the process. All environmental objectives must be compatible with our policy for sustainable development and judicial demands.
Support and implementation
In order to reach our environmental objectives, which means improving our environmental performance (that is reducing our negative impact and increasing our positive impact), the management must provide resources to enable a functioning management system. The University of Gävle has a central system operator to coordinate the work and every department has one or two coordinators.
Environmental performance evaluation
We follow up our activities and evaluate them with regard to the defined objectives. Every year, our results are described in an environmental management report that is sent to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Education. The report is also published on our website for sustainable development.
At the University of Gävle, annual external and internal audits are carried out according to the audit plan. The suggestions for improvement and any nonconformities are documented and followed up on an on-going basis via a web-based system by the Council for Sustainable Development. Suggestions for improvement and any nonconformities are managed in the departments where they originated. We also take measures to prevent future nonconformities.
The audit reports, the deviation reports and the suggestions for improvements comprise part of the basis for the management's decision-making concerning the future direction of our work.
The management of the University of Gävle follow-up the environmental management system twice a year. They then make decisions about changes in policy, about overarching objectives and other areas of the system.
We continuously strive to improve our performance, and we tighten up our demands on our system on the basis of the results we have achieved. This process ensures that we live up to the demands for continuous improvement.