Sustainability at Leuphana

For us, sustainability is a principle of university action that is lived at all levels, anchored in its mission statement and concretized by guidelines adopted by the Senate. Leuphana sees itself programmatically as a sustainable university in all areas from research, teaching, transfer activities and cooperation to campus development and infrastructure.

Excellent research with high visibility

In research, Leuphana plays a pioneering role within the field of sustainability science. As early as 1996, an interdisciplinary Department of Environmental Sciences was established at what was then the University of Lüneburg. Today, Lüneburg's sustainability sciences are internationally known as an excellent research context.

  • In 2010, Leuphana established the first and only Faculty of Sustainability in Germany and Europe.
    The high scientific quality of Lüneburg's sustainability sciences is reflected in several successfully acquired ERC grants and third-party funded research projects (such as EFRE or DFG projects) and BMBF junior research groups, as well as in its status as an attractive host for international fellows. The faculty's scientists regularly achieve leading positions in Prof. John P.A. Ioannidis' citation index.
  • Leuphana holds the only UNESCO Chair in Germany with the denomination "Higher Education for Sustainable Development."
  • Leuphana is aware of its responsibility towards society and the region. It focuses on transdisciplinary, problem- and solution-oriented research together with external actors from civil society and on a productive exchange of knowledge beyond the boundaries of the university.
  • A special example of a project with and for civil society is the citizen participation project "Zukunftsstadt Lüneburg 2030+ - Ideen für ein nachhaltiges Lüneburg von morgen", which was realized as a cooperation between the Hanseatic City of Lüneburg and Leuphana from 2015 to 2022 with funding in the millions from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. It consisted of a mission statement process aimed at developing an integrated urban development concept and 15 real-life experiments.
  • Leuphana is also very active in promoting young researchers in the sustainability sciences, with doctoral students* conducting research from 2017 to 2022 in the Robert Bosch Foundation-funded Research Training Group "Processes of Sustainability Transformation."
  • In research, a cross-faculty driven, successful field of activity of the Faculties of Sustainability and Management and Technology lies in sustainability management.
  • There are several successful collaborations between researchers from the faculties of Cultural Sciences and Sustainability, such as in urban research.
  • Since 2023, a DFG research group has been conducting research at Leuphana on the topic of "A social-ecological systems approach to ecosystem restoration in rural regions of Africa".

Teaching for sustainable development

Leuphana brings all students, regardless of their field of study, into contact with issues of sustainability and social responsibility in its curriculum. Its aspiration is to actively contribute to the development of future-oriented design competence and to the sustainable development of society through education.

  • Issues of sustainability and ethical and social responsibility run like a thread through the studies of all bachelor's and master's programs - regardless of their subject focus.
  • The College offers several internationally oriented majors in sustainability science as well as a minor in sustainability science. Particularly attractive is the option to complete an integrated year abroad at one of six partner universities as part of the English-language bachelor's program in Environmental and Sustainability Studies.
  • The Graduate School offers students several sustainability science master's programs as well as an innovative program in Management and Sustainable Accounting and Finance.
  • In addition, master's students in all programs have the opportunity to acquire sustainability skills and develop their own entrepreneurial projects to promote sustainable development with the study-integrated Leuphana Sustainable Entrepreneurship Certificate (L-SEC) as part of their complementary studies.
  • Part-time master's programs in sustainability law and sustainable chemistry or the innovative certificate program "Sustainability in Sports Organizations" can be completed at the Professional School.
  • The world's first MBA program in Sustainability Management was established at the Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM) in 2003 as an educational innovation, which can now look back on a 20-year success story.

Networking activities and cooperation with partners from science and practice

Leuphana is active as a member in leading sustainable development networks on a national and international level and works in strategic collaborations with other universities, research institutions and practice partners

  • Leuphana is a member of the International Network of Programs in Sustainability (NEPS) as well as the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN), where it is also represented on the board.
  • At the European level, it is active as a member of the Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes (GCSO) and the Copernicus Alliance - European Network on Higher Education for Sustainable Development.
  • Among the national networks, Leuphana is represented in the Network for Sustainable Science (NaWIS), the Sustainability Network of Universities in Lower Saxony (HochNiNa), and the collaborative project Sustainability at Universities (HOCH-N); for the latter, it is also active in the coordination team.
  • In 2015, Leuphana and Arizona State University institutionalized their collaboration with the Center for Global Sustainability and Cultural Transformation. In the same year, both initiated the Network of Programs in Transformational Sustainability (NEPS), which connects nine universities worldwide that offer master's or doctoral programs in sustainability.

Sustainable campus development

Leuphana is aware of its responsibility and its role model function towards its students and employees. It has therefore been shaping its campus as a living environment for many years in a broad-based, participatory process. Its goal is to create one of the most sustainable and socially responsible campuses in Germany.

  • The sustainability principle runs consistently through all infrastructure areas at Leuphana, from energy management, waste and procurement to event management.
  • Sustainable campus development is a collaborative project that involves all university members: Theoretical findings from research come to practical implementation, students are encouraged in transdisciplinary project seminars in teaching to develop solutions to problems such as sustainable consumption or kilma protection on campus. At the same time, numerous student initiatives work voluntarily on creative solutions to sustainability problems.
  • Since 2000, Leuphana has been the first university to be certified according to the European environmental management system EMAS ("Eco Management and Audit Scheme").
  • Since 2007, Leuphana has been one of the first German universities to publish a sustainability report in which it documents the implementation of the guiding principle of sustainability in research, teaching and cooperation as well as infrastructure.
  • Since January 2012, all Leuphana sites have been using 100 percent green electricity. Through measures to increase energy efficiency, the university has been able to significantly reduce its energy consumption in recent years. Conventional energy has been consistently replaced by renewable energy from a combined heat and power plant and from solar energy.
  • In 2014, the university was able to achieve calculated climate neutrality for business travel and vehicles, electricity and heat, water and paper consumption, and cafeteria meals.
  • In 2019, the campus became a traffic-calmed campus. The university makes numerous sustainable mobility offers to its members and promotes cycling, electric mobility and public transport use.
  • The central building was developed as an energy-saving building. For example, windows on the particularly sun-exposed southeast and southwest facades feature innovative switchable glazing, and all other windows have triple-pane thermal glazing. Rainwater is used to flush toilets and is collected on the green roofs and facade.

Excellent conditions for sustainable development

For its achievements as a pioneer and innovator in the field of sustainability, Leuphana and its projects and initiatives repeatedly receive external recognition from the professional community, politics and society and receive international and national awards.

  • Since 2007 alone, the university has received 15 prizes and awards for its sustainability management.
  • In 2010, for example, the "CO2 traffic light" project was named a "Selected Landmark in Germany - Land of Ideas".
  • In 2011, the Leuphana Sustainability Report received an award from the National Committee of theUN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).
  • In 2015, the university received the German Solar Award from the European Renewable Energy Association (EUROSOLAR).
  • In 2018, EMAS environmental management was recognized by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and by the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK).