What is sustainable development at University of Gävle?

At the University of Gävle, we acknowledge the definition of sustainable development that means that any development should cater for the needs of today without jeopardizing future generations’ possibilities to cater for theirs (The Brundtland Commission, 1987). This is also the definition that the Higher Education act takes as its starting point (see 1 chapter, 5 § 1). This definition of sustainable development recognises a holistic view concerning how different dimensions of sustainability interact within the boundaries of the Earth.

The concrete work with sustainable development is usually divided into ecological, social and economic sustainability and a holistic view.

Weak sustainability means that ecological, social and economic sustainability are viewed as separate entities. To create a strong and long-term sustainability, all three dimensions must be considered as a whole. Our use of resources must be reduced and be carried out within the boundaries of our planet’s viability.

Economic system Social and cultural system Life supporting system

Integration of sustainable development

At the University of Gävle, we integrate sustainable development in teaching, research and other activities in different ways.

The way we do it depends on the subject, the kind of course, the research direction and daily activities among other things.

  • Ecological sustainability
  • Social (and cultural) sustainability
  • Economic sustainability
  • Understanding of holistic view and need for a long-term perspective

In day-to-day situations, different aspects of sustainability may be in focus, but it is important to maintain a long-term holistic perspective.

A few examples of integration

Here you can find a few examples of how we integrate sustainable development in our daily activities. Naturally, there are many more ways of integrating sustainable development in teaching and research than the few examples we take up here. Our lecturer and researchers integrate sustainable development by using the expertise of their subjects. Many concerns can be studied within, or be relevant to, a number of fields.

Examples of concerns within a few subjects.

  • Psychology: how do you motivate people
  • Health care: environment and health, medicinal products in the environment,
  • Language: literature about sustainability issues
  • Economy: increase profit=reducing costs, economic instruments
  • Technology: sustainable production, LCA, new technology
  • Mathematics and data: calculations and simulations of different scenarios
  • Media: global threats and their effects and reporting
  • Physics: radioactivity as a threat and possibility
  • Statistics: hypothesis testing of measurement results

Examples of concerns that are relevant to several subjects:

  • The effects of climate change on society and individuals
  • The effects of politics and economy on the environment/sustainability
  • Risks and advantages with genetically modified organism (GMO)and how they are experienced
  • Attitudes, values and behaviours
  • Media and their reaction to sustainable development
  • Actions for sustainable development as a new type of social movement
  • Population growth and sustainable development

Examples of fields in our supporting activities in which we integrate sustainable development:

  • Waste disposal
  • Energy use/concerns
  • Resource efficiency
  • Personal treatment of students, staff and managers

If all people on Earth should use as much of our resources as an average Swede, we would need 4,2 planet Earths.

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Published by: Veronica Liljeroth Page responsible: Gunilla Mårtensson Updated: 2022-04-08
Högskolan i Gävle
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)