Why sustainable?

The challenge to develop a sustainable society is one of the greatest facing society in the 21st century. Utrecht University is committed to fulfilling its social responsibility in this area and to making active contributions to address not only the ecological dimension, but also economic and social aspects.

Sharing scientific knowledge plays an important part in this, as do our efforts to set an inspiring example – always guided by the principle of seeking a sound balance between People, Planet and Profit.

Contributing to a sustainable future

Sustainability is one of the four strategic themes in which Utrecht University will further define its profile over the coming years. These themes link up with the Netherlands’ economic Top Sectors and EU Grand Challenges. Study programmes are also shining a spotlight on sustainability, and the University has placed an explicit focus on sustainability in relation to knowledge valorisation and operations. 

Integral solutions

Utrecht University bundles existing expertise in Geosciences, Natural Sciences, Economics, Law, Public Administration and Social and Behavioural Sciences in order to develop integral solutions to sustainability issues. The combination of knowledge in these various disciplines yields a multidisciplinary approach to sustainability issues that is unique to Utrecht University. 

Sustainable operations

Utrecht University has been making systematic efforts over the past few years to increase the sustainability of its operations. The main focus is on sustainable accommodations, mobility, energy use, purchasing and use of facilities. Through a combination of measures, the University intends to progressively reduce its ecological footprint. 


At the end of 2014, the Executive Board declared Utrecht University’s high ambition with regard to sustainability and its desire as an organisation to play a leading role in sustainability. To put this into practice, the Executive Board – in consultation with the deans – decided to bring the control of all sustainability activities together in a programme. The goal of this programme is to accelerate the process of sustainability in the university’s operational management and in its internal and external communication. This programme will operate alongside the existing Utrecht Sustainability Institute and the strategic research theme Sustainability. Read more about this programme.


Utrecht University is a partner is various initiatives centring on sustainability.