Sustainable and systematic

It is well known by now that sustainable development is one of KTH Royal Institute of Technology’s three pillars, the other two being equality and internationalisation. They are to characterise KTH’s activities at all levels.

So it is with great pleasure that the other week, we were able to celebrate KTH excelling in the Swedish Higher Education Authority’s evaluation of sustainable development in education.

Through solid commitment and hard, systematic work, we have made a fair amount of progress. It is also significant that KTH also does a great deal of research in this area. But it is by no means a reason or an opportunity to rest on our laurels. This work is performed every day, with sustainable development forming an integral part of both teaching and learning.

The evaluation, which was carried out on behalf of the Swedish government, is based on the Higher Education Act, which has stated since 2006 that universities and higher education institutes shall promote sustainable development in their activities. This means that current and future generations will be ensured a healthy and sound environment, economic and social welfare and justice.

The fact that KTH students take with them a sustainable approach and expertise in sustainable development, regardless of the field they work in after graduation, is immensely important for the future and for building the society that our children and grandchildren will live in. It is quite simply a question of quality, which also makes KTH even more attractive to new students and researchers.

Systematically constructing well-functioning, manageable and comprehensible processes, in which work is performed with clear goals and goal follow-up, is an effective method. It shows with the desired clarity that the task is being taken seriously rather than solely being empty words, with responsibility being passed onto others as if it were an extremely hot potato.

The systematic approach and the commitment involved can hopefully be transferred to other areas to raise the level of quality there as well. In particular, I think that this approach can be used to work on gender equality and values. This is fully in line with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals , which also include an equality goal (No. 5), which concerns achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

In view of the #metoo campaign in recent weeks, we have great reason to consider how things are at KTH in this respect. An article in Nature comments that the academic world cannot deny abuses of power of this kind in relation to women.

This is an example of an area – relevant to both gender equality and the work environment – in which it is incredibly important to work both systematically and in day-to-day activities.