We seek to control and continuously reduce our environmental burden in a systematic manner and to do so transparently. It has set high sustainability demands in relation to energy management and CO2, transport and mobility, water, wastewater and waste products, procurement and social return, food and drink.
Over the next few decades, some outdated buildings will be demolished to make way for new ones, and renovation work will be done on some of them. VU Amsterdam places tough sustainability demands on its premises, using the Dutch Green Building Council BREEAM method for renovations, new buildings and demolitions. Sustainability is also an important criterion for standard building maintenance. The feasibility of the investments is assessed on the basis of the integrated accommodation expenses, the so-called Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). TCO makes investments possible with a longer technical and economic service life and lower operating costs and favours sustainable options.
Vision and Environmental Barometer
VU Amsterdam seeks to control and continuously reduce its environmental burden in a systematic manner and to do so transparently. For this reason, in all of its annual reports, mostly from 2010, we report on the development of the environmental performance on the themes energy and CO2, transportation and mobility, waste water and waste, procurement and social return, and food, sustainable catering and fair trade. Usage statistics, performance indicators and carbon footprint calculations are all included in a report known as the Environmental Barometer Report. With a view to making relevant trends and developments transparent, the data from the past four years also forms part of the VU Amsterdam Environmental Barometer Report.
Energy and CO2
VU Amsterdam and VUmc are working hard to become fossil-free by 2035, which means 100% natural gas-free in combination with 100% sustainably generated electricity. When it comes to energy provision, VU Amsterdam’s short and long-term goals are to reduce the demand for energy and to use it as efficiently as possible. In 2017, VU Amsterdam and VUmc joined forces to draw up a 2035 Energy Master Plan. This describes the transition from energy management to a sustainable VU campus. The ambition is to be in the top 3 of universities and university medical centres in the Netherlands in the area of sustainable, affordable and reliable energy within ten years.
Transport and mobility
Over the past several years, VU Amsterdam has taken steps to ‘go greener’ when it comes to commuter traffic and transport relating to university business and services. Travelling to and from work by car has dropped dramatically. By moving parking underground the quality of public space is improved and the campus will feature more green areas.
Waste water and waste
We have already taken various measures in the area of water consumption reduction and will further expand this in the future. We separate waste into more than 20 different categories. Greater efforts will be made in the future to separate plastics from residual waste. We encourage the drinking of tap water through join the pipe taps on the campus square and in various VU buildings. From 2018, PET water bottles will no longer be sold on campus.
Procurement and social return
We are committed to sustainable purchasing practices. During the process of purchasing goods, work or services, careful consideration is always given to the economic, social and environmental aspects. In the case of tenders, the negative effects on the environment and social aspects are automatically taken into consideration in accordance with the rules of PIANOo, the expertise centre for public procurement at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. In our procurement we follow the actual product groups from May 2017. For VU Amsterdam, the minimum requirements are limited to the lower limit. For relevant tenders, such as catering and vending, students and staff are involved in drafting the tender requirements and the awarding of the contract.
Food and drink
The catering is purchased 100% sustainably, with extra attention for vegetarian options and sustainable animal welfare attributes.