The Planetary Wellbeing institutional framework aims to operationalise University Pompeu Fabra’s core belief in the value of environmental and social sustainability. As defined in the concept paper, it is the highest attainable standard of wellbeing for human and non-human beings and their social and natural systems. It inherently acknowledges climate change as a threat to humanity and calls for higher education institutions to lead by example in this urgent societal transformation in all of its fields of activity.
The Planetary Wellbeing institutional framework was endorsed and established in 2017 by rector Jaume Casals and Josep Maria Antó and aims to transform UPF into an institution committed to tackling the pertinent challenges facing global society in the twenty-first century, and to create synergies to transform the university and its urban environment. Establishing the Planetary Wellbeing framework was visionary: four years after its creation, many other higher education institutions are embarking on the same path as an absolutely necessary transformation of their organisation and functioning.
Planetary Wellbeing Institutional Framework’s achievements are numerous and multifaceted, and its aims and strategies ever more ambitious: the Climate Emergency Declaration has not only been accompanied by the signature of the climate emergency letter, but has been put into action through the work of the UPF Climate Emergency High-Level Working Group that has been working on the basis of the carbon footprint calculation, carried out by the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change, and has culminated in the UPF Environmental Sustainability Plan 2021 to 2024. Based on the work done, the University is being led by three institutional circular economy principles for climate action:
(in 2018, 100% of the energy consumed at UPF came from renewable sources)
- UPF successfully participated in the Energy-Savings Marathon. Promoted by the Catalan Institute of Energy, the campaign was carried out at the Mercè Building in February 2020 and it fulfilled the following saving goals:
- Water – from 116 to 86 m3 (-25,9%)
- Gas – from 1.680 to 781 m3 (-53,5%)
- Electricity – from 24.500 to 20.571 kwh (-16,1%)
- CO2 Emissions – from 12.560 to 9.057 kg (-27,9%)
- The new ‘Menu for the Planet’ in all the UPF cafeterias, a vegan and 100% sustainable proposal.
- Without paper project.
- Remote thesis defence.
- Guides on good practices for sustainability (students, teaching, catering).
- The Postgraduate and Doctoral Studies Office has joined the Zero Waste movement.
(in 2018, 100% of the energy consumed at UPF came from renewable sources)
- As of 2013, all UPF procurement contracts include environmental criteria.
- UPF as an observer to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
- UPF collaborates with schools on the reuse of computer equipment.
- UPF donates obsolete scientific equipment, or transfers or sells it to interested public agencies and non-profit organisations.
As a last resort, UPF facilitates and supports recycling of products of diverse nature with specific programmes in place.
EUTOPIA climate intelligence for the planet (EUTOPIA-CI4Planet)
EUTOPIA-CI4Planet seeks to enable citizens to act intelligently on climate change and for there to be increased sustainability in higher education. It addresses the specific challenge of citizens actively participating in tackling climate change and looks at other unsustainable human behaviour by means of students as citizens, as well as students as an influential part of the broader community.
While awareness raising activities and civic engagement have had a limited impact up to date, of higher education, as a channel, has yet to be exploited to its full potential. While we do agree with the European Climate Pact that no action is too small, the Consortium members believe that it is time that higher education institutions ambitiously overhaul their curricula to adhere to the current societal reality and challenges. This is especially in light of the climate emergency, the ever more pressing need for enhancing biodiversity (including understanding that much of our capital is actually natural in essence) and the general need for sustainable behaviour of people in their diverse societal roles, empowering them to become active players in the sustainable transformation of European society by creating the so-called ‘green skills.’
- 8 core partners (Pompeu Fabra University, CY Cergy Paris Université, ESSEC, University of Ljubljana, ISGlobal, La Belle EduC, Layers of Reality, Back to School for the Planet).
- 13 associate partners: Association of Catalan Public University, Warwick University, Vrije Universiteit Brussels, University of Gothenburg, Val d’Oise County Council, Barcelona City Council, Enseignants de la transition, Unilever, Sulitest, SMART University Foundation , AFNOR Certification, Association CY Campus International, Climate Change Association.
- Joint goal: creating an EU sustainability-related competence framework for students, lecturers and universities as institutions, allowing for the creation of a scalable model of transformation of a higher education institution to an active change agent towards sustainability, applicable at large across the European Union, encompassing hands-on, interactive teaching approaches, efficiently communicating the knowledge and the learning methods needed for the current and future generations of students to be able to address the current and future societal challenges, primarily environmental ones. As a consequence, the EUTOPIA European University will be reinforced, equipped with a long-term sustainable model encompassing such sustainability-oriented competence framework.
The following specific objectives are to support the primary overall objective:
To identify the key competences required to help university students to become engaged professionals in the green transformation of society in their respective fields of knowledge.
To identify the key competences required to help citizens to become engaged actors in the green transformation of society.
To thresh the key competencies identified in O1 and O2 in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and personal and professional capacity by transforming the traditional curricula across the EUTOPIA network.
To gather, use and test already existing pedagogical materials that foster the acquisition of key competences.
To co-create effective new pedagogical materials that foster the acquisition of the key competences by promoting active learning, multidisciplinarity, and intergenerational dialogues such as problem-based learning, case studies and hackathons.
To evaluate the effectiveness of assessment models using several frameworks such as external accreditations, internally based evaluations, and open-source tools such as Sulitest.
To create effective multidisciplinary training based on the EU competence framework, using technological platforms, for alumnae and citizens and test the validity of the framework and the assessment methodology.
To assess the potential of Virtual Reality interactive experiences to generate change in children and citizens attitudes and their capacity to become active players in climate action.
To promote universities as campuses as living examples of state-of -the- art sustainable practices to lead by example.
To create spaces to promote multidisciplinary and intergenerational dialogues allowing the exchange of learnings and good practices.