Sustainable development

By rolling out Sustainable Development as a strategic area, BFH is playing a significant role in helping to transform our society and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through its teaching, research and continuing education, and by choosing to lead by example.

Sustainable development at BFH

Sustainability is one of the most pressing and complex developmental tasks facing society. Global ecological, social, economic and cultural problems are posing major challenges to humankind. Because of the ethical and socio-political role they play, universities are expected to encourage reflection upon the issue and stimulate social change that will bring about greater sustainability.

The measures for sustainable development highlight in concrete terms how and what the BFH can contribute. With our “Whole Institution Approach” we lay the foundation for a shared and an experience based understanding of sustainability, a reflective and critical sustainability dialogue as well as a targeted ongoing development of the BFH as an organisation in the field of sustainable development.

Sustainability Report 2021

The four focus topics

The four priorities deal with food systems, settlement areas, the economy and social transformation.

This priority deals extensively with food and nutrition. From production to consumption, food systems are comprehensively covered. Considering all relevant players, it addresses the interactions between value chains and the environment in a social and political context. BFH aims to establish new development paths to food systems which ensure the regenerative capability of the natural systems and enable sufficient supply of healthy food to be achieved globally.

This priority deals with the development of settlement areas from a social and ecological perspective. It focuses on upgrading spaces to improve quality of life and incorporating resilient eco-systems. By analysing the multifunctional capacity of spaces and conducting participative experiments, BFH seeks to promote a common understanding and enhancement of spaces. New transdisciplinary methods are being developed to redefine multi-perspective processes of planning, construction and usage.

This priority deals with the transition to a circular, climate-friendly economy. A circular economy is vital if natural resources are to be conserved and climate goals attained. To achieve this, the interaction between energy, mobility, infrastructure, construction and materials systems will be analysed and their dependencies and correlations pinpointed. BFH aims to incorporate these results into the fostering of innovation to a greater extent and to explore successful implementation of such initiatives in the context of social, political and economic framework conditions.

This priority deals with social transformation. New visions and narratives are required to achieve this goal. Existing dilemmas must be resolved and new innovative approaches supported.  BFH is hoping to derive new implementation strategies that take account of social justice and planetary limits, and to place the focus on contributions from the fields of art, culture and education.


Research for sustainable development

For students


One of the first interdepartmental projects at BFH was the launch of the SUSTAINS platform in 2020. Aimed specifically at students, it is designed to help them develop and launch sustainable projects. BFH and its students are to act as stakeholders, supporting the ongoing transformation process in various ways as we move towards greater sustainability in business and society.  

Association for Sustainable Development at Bern Universities (BENE)

BENE is a meeting platform for students and staff at Bern’s universities. The interdisciplinary group of students and staff brings together different views of Sustainable Development and is resolved to tackle and solve challenges holistically.

BFH diagonal – Optional modules for students

With BFH diagonal you can study beyond your own subject areas, expand your skills and individualise your degree profile. The new optional offer comprises over 100 modules - including many on the topic of sustainability.

Master of Science Circular Innovation and Sustainability

The BFH has developed a new interdepartmental Master Circular Innovation & Sustainability, which specifically trains professionals who want to actively shape the transformation to the circular economy. Interested?

News + Events

News + Events