Sustainable University

Out of responsibility for future generations, Leuphana wants to be a role model for shaping a sustainable society and develop as a sustainable university in research, teaching, social participation and campus operations. For Leuphana, sustainability is not just a guiding principle, but a principle of action lived out in all areas.

In research, it has therefore founded a Faculty of Sustainability / School of Sustainability. In teaching, it offers various degree programmes in the field of sustainability. In society, it is present with many sustainability projects, including the "Future City 2030" project. It is present in various sustainability networks. And for many years it has designed its campus as a "Living Environment Campus" with a variety of measures for climate protection, for sustainable consumption and waste management and for a social living environment. The university has been climate-neutral since 2014 and is EMAS-certified within the framework of an environmental management system.

Sustainability Report

Since 2007, Leuphana has been the first university in Germany to publish a sustainability report in which it describes the implementation of the guiding principle of sustainability in its fields of research, education, community and campus operations. The sustainable design of the research, teaching and learning environments and thus the development of the campus as a university living environment is central to this.

Sustainability Report

Understanding of Sustainability

Leuphana's understanding of sustainability is based on the Brundtland definition:

  1. Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without risking that future generations will not be able to meet their own needs.
  2. In essence, sustainable development is a process of change in which the use of resources, the destination of investments, the direction of technological development and institutional change harmonise to increase the present and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations.

UN World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission) from 1987

Sustainability Guidelines

The mission statement of Leuphana University of Lüneburg is based on the three basic concepts of humanism, sustainability and action orientation. The eight sustainability guidelines were adopted to concretise the "Sustainability" mission statement.

In its meeting on 20.11.2013, the Senate adopted a new version of the sustainability guidelines from 2000. The new version was developed in three meetings by the Senate Commission on Sustainability. The Senate's mandate to bundle the discussions on the topic of ethical action and sustainability and to develop an overall proposal on this topic in the Senate Commission on Sustainability was also taken into account.


In view of the dangers to the natural foundations of life and growing inequality among people and societies, as well as in the responsibility to enable future generations to lead self-determined lives, Leuphana University Lüneburg is committed to the principle of sustainable development in conjunction with Article 20a of the Basic Law on the protection of the natural foundations of life. Leuphana University Lüneburg has a responsibility towards its students, future decision-makers and employees to act as a role model in the fulfilment of its tasks as well as in its daily consumption of energy and materials. In this sense, the university designs its learning and living space in a sustainable manner. Leuphana University of Lüneburg acknowledges its responsibility towards the region and society and promotes a regional and global sustainability process. In this sense, teaching, research and study at the university shall serve peaceful purposes.

§ 1 Participation, exchange with external groups

Leuphana University of Lüneburg initiates and supports discourses on sustainability and promotes a broad participation of all its groups and sections in a university sustainability process. It strengthens self-initiatives and commitment in this process and contributes to regional, national and international exchange with groups and institutions.

§ 2 Research

Leuphana University of Lüneburg supports the public discourse on sustainability issues with its scientific competence and takes up regional, national and international sustainability topics in its research activities. In doing so, it strives to continue to play a pioneering role within the young field of sustainability science(s) and to actively shape this field in the sense of problem- and solution-oriented research.

§ 3 Education

Leuphana University sensitises its students and employees to the challenges of sustainable development, stimulates formal and informal learning processes and enables them to acquire design skills. The university promotes the internal and external transfer of knowledge that advances the process of sustainable development and transdisciplinary exchange.

§ 4 Resources, energy and emissions

Leuphana University of Lüneburg sees it as its task to organise its material and energy consumption in a resource-conserving, risk- and environmentally aware manner and to avoid impacts that are harmful to the environment and health. In particular, the university faces the challenges of climate neutrality, sustainable mobility and sustainable campus development. To this end, it creates appropriate framework conditions to enable action beyond the minimum requirements of all environmental regulations.

§ 5 Cooperations

Leuphana University of Lüneburg welcomes and particularly encourages cooperation with companies and other organisations that are committed to the principle of sustainability. The decision for or against a joint activity with external institutions is always made according to the best knowledge and conscience of the respective responsible university members and is guided by the university's mission statement.

§ 6 Health Protection

Leuphana University of Lüneburg promotes the health and well-being of its members and implements measures for healthy working and study conditions. This is supported in particular by establishing and maintaining a family-friendly working culture and by providing sufficient exercise and sporting opportunities in everyday study and working life.

§ 7 Committees and Institutions

The committees and institutions of Leuphana University of Lüneburg support disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary initiatives in research, teaching, further education and administration as well as in the student sector to take up issues of sustainability.

§ 8 Programme

For the continuous improvement of sustainability and environmental performance, the sustainability and environmental programme of Leuphana University of Lüneburg defines and updates both goals and measures.

Sustainability in Research

Sustainability Research is led by the School of Sustainability. It researches the transformation and development process towards a sustainable society and actively shapes this process. The researchers focus on both the social and physical foundations of social coexistence.

In addition, Leuphana has the only UNESCO Chair in Germany that focuses on the topic of "sustainability". At the UNESCO Chair "Higher Education for Sustainable Development", the focus is on promoting individual and institutional competencies for shaping the future. UNESCO Chairs are committed to contributing to the goals of UNESCO through international cooperation, intercultural dialogue and interdisciplinary teaching and research.


Prospective students will find extensive study programmes on the topic of sustainability at the College, at the Graduate School as well as at the Professional School:


  • Major Environmental Sciences
  • Minor in Sustainability Sciences
  • Minor Spatial Science


  • Master Sustainability Science (M.Sc.)
  • Master Management and Sustainable Accounting & Finance (M.Sc.)
  • Master Psychology and Sustainability (M.Sc.)
  • Master International Law of Global Security, Peace and Development (LL.M.)


  • Governance and Human Rights (M.A.)
  • Sustainability Law - Energy, Resources, Environment (LL.M.)
  • Sustainability Management (MBA)
  • Sustainable Chemistry (M.Sc.)
  • Sustainable Chemistry Management (MBA)

In the College, all Leuphana Bachelor students also study the module "Science Transformed: Responsible Action", which focuses on the topic of sustainability.


In recent years, Leuphana has made great efforts to make its campus operations sustainable. It has been a climate-neutral university since 2014. You can find more information here on the topics:

Sustainability Networks

Leuphana is involved in a wide range of international, national and local networks with other universities, research institutions and practice partners in order to promote the topic of sustainability in teaching, research, society and campus operations:

International, national and local sustainable Networks


At Leuphana University of Lüneburg, issues of environmental protection and sustainability have been a focus of research and teaching since the 1990s. Since 2000, the university has gone one step further and put theoretical knowledge into practice: it was the first university to comprehensively introduce an environmental management system (EMS) in accordance with the EC Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). This is regularly audited and certified by an external environmental auditor. Since 2007, Leuphana has regularly published a sustainability report. In this report, the university highlights not only environmental aspects but also economic and social dimensions in research, teaching and cooperation as well as in its own organisation.

Timeline: A Sustainable University is evolving

2020"Waste-to-Resource-Unit - Urban Bioeconomy for the Holistic Use of Organic Waste", Institute for Sustainable Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry, nominated for the German Sustainability Award for Research
2019Traffic-calmed campus
2019"Cycling Promotion 3.0", Institute for Urban and Cultural Spatial Research, nominated for the German Sustainability Award for Research
2018EMAS environmental management" award from the Federal Environment Ministry and the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK)
2016"Climate-neutral campus" nominated for the German Sustainability Award for Research
2016First declaration of conformity by a university from the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE)
2016Fairtrade University
2015Award: German Solar Prize, European Association for Renewable Energies (EUROSOLAR)
2015Joining the sustainability network "International Sustainable Campus Network" (ISCN)
2014Climate neutrality goal achieved
2014Signing the Diversity Charter
201415 awarded projects by UNESCO in the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, 2005 to 2014
2013Adoption of the updated "Sustainability Guidelines" by the Senate
2013Establishment of the Senate Commission on Sustainability
2013Adoption of the "Guideline on Protection against Discrimination, Violence and Sexual Harassment" by the Senate
2013Awarded as a family-friendly university - FaMi seal, renewal every three years
2011Award for the Sustainability Report in the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development
2010Foundation of the Faculty of Sustainability
2010Award of the "CO2 traffic light" as a selected place in "Germany Land of Ideas".
2008Focus on sustainability research as one of four science initiatives
2007Publication of the 1st sustainability report "Steps into the future", 2-year reporting
2007Goal: Climate-neutral Leuphana University Lüneburg
2006Fundamental decision of the Senate for a humanistic, sustainable and action-oriented university
2005Award of the UNESCO Chair in Higher Education for Sustainable Development
2004Research and development project "Sustainable University" (2004 - 2007)
2004World's first MBA in Sustainability Management am Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM)
2003Establishment of the Health Management Steering Group
2001Adoption of the Lüneburg Declaration on Higher Education for Sustainability
2000Validation according to EMAS as one of the first universities in Europe, annual external review
2000Adoption of the "Guidelines for Sustainability at the University of Lüneburg" by the Senate
1999Research project: "Agenda 21 and the University of Lüneburg" (1999 - 2001)
1998Establishment of the Commission "University and Agenda 21" and appointment of the Senate Representative for Agenda 21
1997Joining the "University Network for Sustainability", COPERNIKUS Campus
1996Establishment of the interdisciplinary Department of Environmental Sciences


Coordinator of Sustainability

  • Dipl. Umw. Irmhild Brüggen