Our EPFL Sustainability Unit is involved in a number of academic, student and regional networks that are associated with non-profit organizations, companies and other sustainability stakeholders. Our aim is to share best practices, learn from others and co-launch new initiatives. We have also formed more specific partnerships with ETH Zurich, the University of Lausanne and the University of Geneva.
ISCN’s goal is to provide an international forum that helps academic institutions exchange information, ideas and best practices for making campus operations more sustainable and integrating sustainability into research and teaching. The network currently consists of more than 100 universities in over 30 countries across six continents. The ISCN is chaired by Gisou van der Goot, EPFL’s Vice President for Responsible Transformation. Its executive director is Victoria Smith, who is based in Canada and heads a team of four people.
ISCN holds international conferences every year. We hosted the 2021 conference, titled “Accelerating Climate Action and Sustainability in Education”. The 2022 conference, which was hosted by Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), was held entirely online for the second year in a row due to the pandemic. ISCN also awards prizes for university initiatives and collaborations, and forms various working groups to focus on specific topics. EPFL has been on the sustainability reporting working group since 2020.
EPFL is one of the six European technical universities that form the EuroTech network. EuroTech aims to help build a strong, sustainable, sovereign and resilient European society. To that end, it creates task forces made up of researchers and administrative staff to address specific topics. We have been a co-organizer of EuroTech’s Sustainable Campus Development initiative since 2020.
Swissuniversities is the umbrella organization of universities in Switzerland. We have been a member of its sustainability network committee since 2020, and we are part of its travel, procurement, carbon neutrality, and green lab sub-groups.
In order to set standards and share best practices, we have formed several more informal partnerships with certain Swiss universities to focus on topics such as carbon neutrality, sustainable procurement and academic travel.
At EPFL, La Convergence brings together our six main student associations that address social and environmental issues: Global Horizon Earth Talk, Ingénieur·e·s du Monde, PlanQueer, Polyquity, Unipoly and Zero Emission Group. The Vice Presidency for Responsible Transformation (VPT) and its units – EPFL Sustainability and the Equal Opportunity Office – hold formal meetings each semester and several follow-up meetings throughout the year.
Together with many associations, foundations and other universities, we partner with Focus Sustainability, a Swiss national center for student engagement on sustainability that was created in 2021.
The Schéma directeur de l’Ouest Lausannois (or Master Plan for West Lausanne) is a joint initiative in which partners commit to designing their campuses and urban sites together, in association with the Canton of Vaud. Since 2016, we have been part of several working groups in this initiative.
Since 2021, we have been involved in drafting a Guide to Sustainable Professional Procurement. This drafting process includes people from the public and private sectors who are interested in procuring goods or services in an economically, socially and ecologically responsible way.
In 2012, the Office of Sustainability of the Canton of Vaud created the Coordination of Provider and Partners Organization to bring together the canton’s main educational institutions (UNIL, EHL, HES-SO, CHUV, FHV, RTS and EPFL) to share best practices.
Coord 21 is an association of public-sector organizations in French-speaking Switzerland and Ticino that are committed to sustainable development. Its main goal is to promote exchange and leverage synergies among its members. It currently consists of several cantonal and municipal governments and other public-sector organizations across French-speaking Switzerland.
Established in 2021, 2050today brings together cantonal governments, international organizations and various universities, including EPFL, to help International Geneva measure its environmental footprint and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
Network with companies
Started by the Swiss Federal Railways company, Philip Morris International (PMI), Logitech and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the Intercompany Network aims to compare the commuting plans of companies in French-speaking Switzerland.
The Ecoparc Association promotes sustainability-oriented initiatives by forging ties among public- and private-sector organizations in the Neuchâtel area. EPFL is involved in Ecoparc through our MicroCity branch in Neuchâtel, with a view to sharing information on companies’ commuting policies.