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Report sums up Tampere University’s contribution to building a more sustainable world

Published on 8.3.2022
Tampere University
Tampere University has published its 2020 Sustainable Development Report. The report gives a snapshot of all the University’s research, education and other activities that promote social, cultural, environmental and economic sustainability. This is the first Sustainable Development Report released by the University, and future reports will provide a more comprehensive overview of ongoing sustainability activities and hopefully lead to new collaborative initiatives.

Read the Sustainable Development Report and find out more about the reporting principles.

The 2020 Sustainable Development Report describes the efforts that were underway at Tampere University in 2020 to build a more sustainable world through teaching, research and other activities. The university community was invited to provide input for the report.

“We are delighted to highlight the enormous amount of work that is being done across our community to promote sustainability. The report explores the various dimensions of sustainability and shows that we are committed to working towards a sustainable future. Naturally, this first report only scratches the surface – there is still so much more to tell,” says President Mari Walls.  

When drawing up the report, the team largely relied on the university community to share information about their work. Internal stakeholders submitted almost a hundred proposals and virtually all of them were included in the final report. The report was compiled by Matias Nurminen, senior specialist in sustainable development and innovation culture, and Niina Broman, communication specialist at Tampere University.

“We hope the report demonstrates how much our community is already doing to promote sustainability and responsibility, but we will keep moving forward instead of resting on our laurels. We set out to create a report that is not only inspirational but also educational. The report is based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that we can all use to measure our sustainability performance,” says Senior Specialist Matias Nurminen.

The 17 SDGs adopted by the United Nations provide a shared blueprint for sustainability activities and were selected as the framework for reporting on the University’s impact on sustainability.

Assessing progress towards the SDGs is a collaborative effort

The Sustainable Development Report is still a work-in-progress and also includes a critical afterword. The university community has been invited to participate in the further development of the reporting format.

The report is a promising start although not fully up to date as it describes the University’s sustainability activities in 2020.

“We are planning to turn the report into a continuously updated document that highlights our ongoing sustainability activities. We got the idea from the Sustainable Tampere Universities network which was launched in the autumn of 2021. The network brings together researchers, teachers, students and support staff across disciplinary boundaries who are working to continually improve the University’s sustainability performance. Ideally, the report will stimulate further collaboration across our community and beyond. Often the realisation that someone shares our specific interests is enough to initiate a discussion,” Nurminen says.

The Sustainable Development Report opens a new avenue of communication with internal and external audiences and will hopefully lead to new collaborative sustainability initiatives. Still, it is important to lay the groundwork first. There may still be people both inside and outside the University who are not yet familiar with the SDGs, but interest in the topic is increasing. The team is working to address these and many other questions in cooperation with its partners.

”At the moment, we are involved in the Media Laboratory project, which is a collaborative effort between Yle, the City of Tampere and Tampere Universities. We are working to come up with an easily understandable, domestic context for defining the SDGs. This process relies largely on the expertise of the members of the university community. We are also planning to publish a series of articles discussing the SDGs in the Alusta! e-publication. Collaborations are also underway with students at Tampere University. One of the students enrolled in the new Master’s Degree Programme in Sustainable Digital Life is helping us to develop the reporting format and reach out to students and student associations to encourage them to share their sustainability stories. We want to help our students highlight the great work they are doing to promote sustainability,” Nurminen says.

Early this year, the contact details of the University’s experts specialising in climate and the environment were added to the Find an expert section on the University’s website. The directory of experts helps the media find academics who are happy to share their expertise with the media on a wide range of topics. Both the directory and the Sustainable Development Report will be developed further this spring.