Caroline Pauwels, rector of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel:
"With a strong climate policy we ensure the future of the next generations. The momentum has kicked in. Young people have in recent weeks made it clear that the climate and their future should be at the top of the political agenda. Scientists substantiate this demand with facts and figures. It is now up to civil society, corporates and scientists to find solutions to these complex problems together with policymakers. The commitment and conviction are substantial. It is now up to policymakers to do what is required to keep global warming well below 2 degrees and to continue striving for 1.5 degrees as stipulated in the Paris climate agreement, as well as to neutralize CO2 emissions by 2050. "
The Vrije Universiteit Brussel also takes initiatives to strengthen the climate mandate and to inform young people and professionals even more about climate solutions.
To this end the VUB will call on all its stakeholders (students, staff, alumni) to sign the climate mandate. The VUB organizes a climate lesson marathon on 20 March. Pupils will be lectured to for 12 hours by climate and other experts. Schools can choose to follow classes on campus or via live streaming. VUB will be hosting a climate bootcamp for business leaders and policy makers on 17 and 18 June. The climate experts of the VUB will share their expertise on mobility, sustainable building and energy with professionals. With an alumni summit on the climate, VUB mobilizes its alumni network to formulate climate solutions. VUB launched a chair in circular entrepreneurship in 2018 already to assist companies in the transition to a circular economy.
VUB also conducts an ambitious sustainability policy to reduce its CO2 footprint as well as that of its students and employees. That has been yielding more and more fruit every year.
Prof. Cathy Macharis, Sustainability policy adviser at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and professor of Sustainable mobility and logistics:
"In the sustainability policy of the VUB, sustainability is a priority in both education and research; in collaboration with others and on its campuses. The interaction between these axes is crucial. Some concrete examples of what we had already achieved: in 2017 our student restaurant received the GOOD FOOD label for its efforts to prevent food waste and reduce its carbon footprint. In 2018, the VUB invested 60 million euros in a sustainable portfolio and started divesting shares and bonds from climate-damaging companies. In 2019 we will be launching an air travel policy to prevent, limit and compensate for CO2 emissions flowing from business trips. "
For more information on the sustainability policy of the VUB, the circular enterprise chair and the climate bootcamp on 17 and 18 June:
Contact Prof. Cathy Macharis: T xxxxxxxx
or go to www.vub.ac.be/duurzaamheid
For more information on the climate lesson marathon on 20 March:
Contact Prof. Gustaaf Cornelis: T 0477 323 543
For more information on the alumni summit:
Contact Dennis Hermans, alumni officer: T 0496 15 46 50