Sustainability Report 2022/2023

The Sustainability Report shows how we contributed to a more sustainable development in 2022/2023, the extent to which we achieved our sustainability goals, and the goals we have set ourselves for the future.

“Our goal is to do sustainability as a matter of course”

Sustainability has become a social imperative, and in some cases a self-serving statement. Nowadays, hardly any provider of products or services communicates without referring to their commitment to sustainability.

But is this really progress or just effective marketing? Most likely a bit of both. But one thing remains clear: when it comes to making our world more sustainable, actions speak louder than words. Else, we run the risk of adopting sustainability just to have a clear conscience, rather than consume sustainably out of conviction. We need to ask ourselves what we can settle for to keep everything in acceptable limits.

BFH sees itself as an engaged and action-oriented university, also in the field of sustainability. Less talk and more action, always questioning ourselves critically instead of being overly optimistic with the current situation. This Sustainability Report provides a comprehensive account of what we have accomplished so far.

But our ambition goes far beyond that. We will continue to work hard to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals in teaching and research, in collaboration with the public. Our particular focus is on the development of resource-conserving, resilient and health-promoting food systems, the development of a circular economy, and a holistic approach to the sustainable development of human settlements.

We are also aware that we have not reached all our goals yet. There is still a lot to achieve if we want to live up to our mission of being a good role model. Our continuous development and reassessment is also necessary, so that our students, employees and field partners have the skills they really need to actively shape social transformation.

It is a matter of attitude. Our goal is to do sustainability as a matter of course. We are working on it. Our Strategy 2023-2026, our three strategic thematic fields and our many committed employees and students are a testimony of our achievements in the reporting period and show that we are well prepared for the coming years.

Prof. Dr Sebastian Wörwag

Portrait of BFH Rector Sebastian Wörwag
Sebastian Wörwag, Rector of Bern University of Applied Sciences

Key points at a glance

Education: sustainability is now more firmly integrated in our quality assurance in education and continuing education. Moreover, we have launched various new education and continuing education courses, and have supported teaching and learning concepts that specifically develop the sustainability skills of our graduates.

Research: the new funding programme has produced first results. Thanks to start-up financing, we were able to initiate 17 interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary projects, and to strengthen the interdepartmental dialogue on sustainability-oriented research on various occasions at special events.

We have also made great progress in operational terms: we have brought sustainability to life on campus, particularly in the areas of catering, air conditioning and energy, but also with a variety of smaller activities and projects, many of which were initiated by BFH members.

Last but not least and in line with our strategy, we have become increasingly involved in social discourse through several projects and events, and new local and international partnerships.

Our 2023 highlights

Events merging art and climate research, bike challenges, continuing education courses, national conferences, a “Bio Cuisine” star for one of our chefs, scientific integrity, local alliances, mental well-being courses, marl in road surfacing, or unlearning racism: our commitment to sustainable development has many faces but one goal: to enable the transformation process towards a sustainable society, environment and economy. Through our interdisciplinary and application-oriented research, our future-oriented teaching, our inclusive university culture and an active knowledge transfer, we take our social responsibility seriously, and thus make a contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

To find out how we do this, why BFH is a good place to study and work, and what walking has to do with sustainability, read our Sustainability Report 2022/2023.

SDGs und GRI

We are guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda. In other words, we ensure that our activities in teaching, research and operations and our social commitment contribute to achieving those goals.

Quality education, climate change measures and the reduction of inequalities: these three Sustainable Development Goals are particularly central to BFH. Our activities also focus on innovation, infrastructure and sustainable settlements.

The Sustainability Report 2023 complies with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards. We use the GRI standards to ensure that our Sustainability Report is comprehensive, reliable and provides comparability.

The chart breaks down how many BFH projects contribute to the individual Sustainable Development Goals. Enlarge image
The graphic breaks down how BFH’s projects contribute to the individual SDGs. Click to enlarge.