The German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – DAAD) is striving to achieve climate neutrality in its business operations by 2030. It has accordingly published its first ever Climate Report to mark yesterday’s opening of the World Climate Conference. This report reveals the results of the DAAD's first climate assessment relating to its business operations; it identifies savings opportunities and includes targets and actions to reduce greenhouse gases.
‘The impacts of climate change pose existential challenges to each one of us as humans on this planet. Droughts, flooding and food insecurity are increasing, and they often hit us harder and faster than expected. We must therefore redouble our efforts in terms of greater climate protection, otherwise we face dramatic consequences in the Anthropocene. As an academic organisation, the DAAD bears particular responsibility in this respect: in addition to our global funding activities relating to climate protection and climate adaptation, we have furthermore set ourselves the demanding objective of achieving climate neutrality in our business operations by 2030’, said DAAD President Professor Joybrato Mukherjee in Bonn.
Based on its climate and environmental assessment, the DAAD has identified the first step as being to tackle its key emission sources and to use the potential levers for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The savings opportunities include areas like mobility, the DAAD’s properties, procurement and contracting, public relations, events, and funding programmes. These areas are to be constantly expanded over the coming years. The DAAD is moreover lobbying for the required changes in the political, legal and financial conditions to enable it to promote this path towards climate neutrality.
‘Scientific progress and innovation are essential in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and achieving the ambitious objective of net greenhouse gas neutrality. So we at the DAAD not only want to reduce our own carbon footprint, we also want to further expand international cooperation among higher education institutions, academia and researchers in terms of climate protection and green transformation, and to continuously develop our funding to be eco-friendly’, explained the DAAD President.
The DAAD is already assisting higher education institutions, students, academics and researchers to come up with innovative approaches to improving climate protection and addressing the climate crisis. This includes funding for over 100 projects relating to climate protection in 80 partner countries. Flagship projects include for instance the four Global Climate and Environment Centres, promoted with funds provided by the Federal Foreign Office (AA), in which German higher education institutions develop measures to tackle the climate crisis together with partners in India, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire/Kenya and the Palestinian Territories. It also exerts its core expertise – in international exchange – to bolster a wide variety of global partnerships and networks that have dedicated themselves to combating climate change.
The DAAD Climate Report uses these and other selected examples to reveal how higher education institutions are assuming responsibility for climate and environmental protection, and the key roles that international academic and scientific cooperation play on the path towards climate neutrality.