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The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) joins the call of the Belgian climate coalition, Sign for my future, for a strong climate policy in the run-up to the 2019 elections. Rector Caroline Pauwels is the ambassador of the campaign and calls on all Belgians - and VUBers in particular - to collect as many signatures as possible. With this call, a climate lesson marathon for young people and a bootcamp for professionals, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel firmly puts the climate high on its agenda. In addition, in 2019 the VUB firmly puts its money where its mouth is by strengthening its existing ambitious climate program with a new air travel policy for VUB employees.


Prof. dr. Caroline Pauwels, rector of 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 policymakers to find solutions to these complex problems together with scientists, civil society and corporations. 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.”


Vrije Universiteit Brussel 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 smart mobility, circular building and renewable energy with professionals. With an alumni summit on the climate, VUB mobilizes its alumni network to formulate climate solutions.


VUB also conducts an ambitious sustainability policy to reduce its CO2 impact as well as that of its students and employees. That has been yielding more and more fruit every year.


Prof. dr. 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; on its campuses and in collaboration with others. The interaction between these pillars is crucial. Some concrete examples of what we have 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. “


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