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Environmental Guidelines for the Technische Universität Berlin

Wednesday, 10. December 1997

On 12 November 1997, the Academic Senate of the Technische Universität Berlin unanimously agreed on environmental guidelines for the university. On 10 December 1997, the board of trustees (Curatorium) of the Technische Universität Berlin also approved the guidelines. Thus the university bodies and members of all status groups acknowledge the importance of developing the university along environmental lines. By applying the new environmental guidelines, the university also hopes to provide an example for others in the society.

The Academic Senate and the TU Council hope that all scientific and other personnel of the university will cooperate actively in implementing the environmental guidelines in teaching, research and in the day-to-day running of the university. Every decision taken at the workplace should take the guidelines into account. The final objective is to achieve the general integration of environmental protection.


In view of the dramatic state of the global environment, the TU Berlin feels under an obligation to follow principles of sustainable development: Sustainable development must meet the human needs of the current generation without endangering the ability of future generations to meet their needs (World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future (Brundlandt Report), 1987).

Universities have a special social responsibility, since they train and have a forming influence on future decision-makers, but this also represents an opportunity. And since scientific research influences people and nature, science itself has a special responsibility for the goals and results of its research.

With its wide range of disciplines and the opportunities this offers for interdisciplinary cooperation, the TU Berlin is facing the ecological challenge by developing environmentally appropriate science, as a step towards sustainable development.

The TU Berlin has more than 37 000 members and consumes large amounts of energy and materials, making it comparable with any large company. The aim must be to minimise the considerable environmental impact of the university's operations.

In order to emphasise its responsibility for the future generations and to promote environmental awareness in teaching, research and day-to-day operations, the TU Berlin supports the CRE Charter for Sustainable Development (CRE COPERNICUS: The University Charter for Sustainable Development, 1994) and specifies the following environmental guidelines:


  1. The protection and maintenance of the natural foundations of life within the framework of sustainable development is a priority objective of our university in research, teaching and day-to-day running. The task is to develop the necessary interdisciplinary basic knowledge regarding environmental protection and to transfer knowledge to all sectors of society and throughout the university.
  2. We promote the environmental awareness of all members of the university. Environmental protection is an established part of our courses and research projects. Students and employees are taught and trained to be aware in their work of their responsibility towards the environment.
  3. Research and teaching are conducted taking environmental protection measures into account Experiments and technologies are examined for their possible environmental impact. The university departments and inter-departmental institutions promote scientific work in the environmental field and inter-disciplinary work on environmental topics in research and teaching. We are developing our university in accordance with the CRE Charter. ("The University Charter for Sustainable Development" can be obtained from the TU-Section for Technical Safety and Environmental Protection: Sheet I.A.II)
  4. Our university participates in an intensive exchange with other institutions of higher education in order to promote the idea of environmental protection. In national and international cooperation in research, teaching and other operations we are facing up to our responsibility for the environment and sustainable development.
  5. In our university we implement environmental protection measures at all levels, so that the administration and the departments take responsibility for environmental protection and cooperate with each other. By carefully using the best available technology we are able to achieve continual improvements in our standards of environmental protection. For future investments and acquisitions, the environmental implications will be considered in advance and the most environmentally-friendly option will be chosen.
  6. We use resources sparingly (materials, energy, water). Environmental impacts - such as exhausts, noise, waste and wastewater - are being reduced as far as is economically possible. We place priority on reducing the amount of materials used and on recycling measures, rather than disposal.
  7. We expect our suppliers and service contractors to meet the same environmental standards that we have set ourselves. We also encourage our business partners to improve the standards of the goods and services they draw on. As far as possible, we prefer suppliers certified in accordance with the EC Eco-Audit or ISO (International Standard Organization) 14001.
  8. We regard legal requirements and official environmental specifications as minimum standards, which should be improved on wherever possible. In areas not covered by legislation we set our own environmental targets. Regular eco-audits ensure that we will continue to meet environmental requirements and internal university regulations.
  9. Our university conducts an open dialogue and carries out targeted public relations activities. This ensures that the implementation of university environmental policies can be followed and evaluated by the general public.