Sustainable business operations

Sustainability is significantly represented in the research and educational activities of Wageningen University & Research. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is likewise an important precept for Wageningen University & Research. They are expressed in our mission, 'To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life,' and in our ambition to take a leading role in the area of sustainable operational management. In short, Wageningen stands for sustainability.

In our Strategic Plan 2019-2022 we give priority to promoting the vitality of staff and students, to offer healthier and more sustainably produced food in our canteens, and to reduce our food waste.

WUR is partner of the Wageningen Climate Plan

WUR is partner in het Wagenings klimaatplan

Wageningen University & Research, together with 52 climate partners, endorses the Wageningen Climate Plan 2017-2021. The purpose is to make major steps towards a climate-neutral Wageningen. Many projects are being carried out for this purpose. WUR wants to contribute to the major climate issue and will actively work for this on its own initiative as well as with other partners.

An overview of the results so far:

  • Many WUR projects and activities in the fields of energy, waste, biodiversity and mobility contribute to reducing climate impact. Each year, WUR measures its climate impact with the CO2 footprint. Compared to 2010 WUR had 50% fewer CO2 emissions in 2019.
  • In transforming our organisation’s sustainability, we apply a Living Lab concept. This approach to provide opportunities for research and education experiments.
  • WUR pursues a sustainable procurement policy, with the ambition to push supply chains to be transparent, sustainable, circular and free from modern slavery. In our procurement policies and practices, we push supply chains to be transparent, sustainable, circular and free from modern slavery.
  • Wageningen Campus is one of the most sustainable knowledge centres in the Netherlands. Examples are the use of thermal storage at Wageningen Campus and the use of stringent sustainability criteria for building constructions, maintenance and renovation.
  • WUR generates renewable energy with windmill turbines in Lelystad, thermal storage on campus and solar panels. In 2019 109% of the energy consumed was generated using sustainable methods.
  • Green Office Wageningen let us keep a sharp focus by posing critical questions about sustainability. Some of the projects are: Shut the hood, Reuse revolution, Student Cooking Corner and the Seriously Sustainable week. Students work on sustainability dilemmas with GreenMatch or write Sustainability Blogs. Follow Green Office on instagram: #greenwur.
  • With the campaign WUR UP TO, we show on campus and on which sustainability initiatives are underway and what they deliver.

Read more about WUR’s sustainability activities and projects in the Sustainability Report 2020.

WUR in sustainability rankings

  • According to the GreenMetric ranking 2021, WUR is the greenest and most sustainable university in the world.
  • The Times Higher Education Impact Ranking assesses how organisations across the globe score with regard to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2022 WUR reached high scores on SDG 13 Climate Action (3rd place) en SDG 2 Zero Hunger (22th place).
  • Wageningen University ranks third in the SustainaBul award 2022. SustainaBul is the annual ranking of Dutch educational institutions organised by students.
  • In the Transparancy Benchmark 2021 Wageningen University & Research reached position 36 on the overall list and has the highest score from all Dutch universities.

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The path to sustainability

WUR does put a lot of energy in making its operational management more sustainable. This is noticeable in daily practice: Wageningen Campus is ecological and green, with sustainable buildings and facilities. In the last few years energy and water use have been reduced significantly, more use is made of sustainable energy and more waste flows are collected separately. In procurement processes social responsibility and sustainability are important starting points. And, Green Office Wageningen helps as a catalyst to involve students and employees in sustainable initiatives.

Under the heading WUR UP TO the various fronts for sustainable business operations are made visible with ‘expressions’ in WUR buildings and on campus grounds.


Social Responsibility

It is in line with our organisation and our domain that we attach great importance to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The core of our strategy is to weigh up the various interests in such a way that the balance between scientific, social and economic interests is maintained without limiting our responsibility to our own activities. We report about our social responsibility in the Annual report, according to the GRI-initiative.