Sustainability - HTW Chur

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Sustainability

Sustainable Development

HTW Chur shapes the university’s development in a responsible manner in accordance with the principles of sustainable development (SD). To this end, it integrates the SD values in its management and support tasks as well as during the fulfilment of its service mandates. With the adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations (UN) in autumn 2015 and their incorporation in Agenda 2030 by the federal government, there are now official guidelines on the specific objectives to be achieved via SD. HTW Chur contributes to the implementation of Agenda 2030 and to ensuring the provision of inclusive, equitable and high-quality education (SDG 4). Within HTW Chur itself and – through its teaching and research activities – in external organisations (society), it contributes to ensuring long-term, inclusive economic growth that leads to productive full employment and humane work for everyone (SDG 8) through the application of the principles of SD. The objective is to support the employees and students of HTW Chur in various projects with respect to their sustainability expertise, i.e. design skills for the implementation and integration of SD in their tasks (see de Haan, 2008). They know, for example, the SD three-pillar model and are able to reflect on their activities and specific areas of responsibility from the perspective of SD. They apply the three-pillar model and principles of SD during the implementation of their work and management tasks. In doing so, they live out and create sustainable values and create a culture of SD within their areas. HTW Chur regularly reports on its progress.

«HTW Chur implemented Agenda 2030, guaranteeing inclusive, equitable and high-quality education.»
«HTW Chur implemented Agenda 2030, guaranteeing inclusive, equitable and high-quality education.»
Sylvia Manchen Spörri, Director of the Department Lived Environment

Business and management

As an academic institution involved in the teaching and further education of current and future specialists and managers, HTW Chur has voluntarily committed itself to pursuing a continual improvement process in the area of sustainable development. Internally, the Sustainability Committee works to ensure the sustainable development of HTW Chur. It aims to support HTW Chur in developing and implementing appropriate measures for boosting the economically, socially and environmentally sustainable development of the university of applied sciences. The Sustainability Committee thus ensures the participation of HTW Chur’s employees in the sustainable development of the university of applied sciences. All members (employees/students) of HTW Chur can participate. It is an important task of HTW Chur to raise awareness about this topic among its students and employees.

Mountain Forest Project

Upon completing their study programme at HTW Chur, graduates receive a special gift that corresponds to the principles of sustainability: the Mountain Forest Project Foundation plants a mountain spruce above the Graubünden mountain village of Disentis on behalf of HTW Chur for every graduate. 

The planting of these trees aims to sustainably replace the avalanche barriers built decades ago at the forest edge. It has been shown that the location is capable of maintaining woodland and that a forest can be gradually established here that will in future take on the protective function of the existing barriers. 

As part of the long-term cooperation between the Mountain Forest Project Foundation and HTW Chur, the first spade was put in the ground by HTW Chur students: over the course of two days, they planted 75 mountain spruce trees. 

You can follow their growth via the following link:

Further details on the Disentis project of the Mountain Forest Project Foundation

This year, HTW Chur apprentice have already been able to actively support the project.

Blue Community

The sixth goal of the United Nations (UN) Agenda 2030 pursues measures relating to clean water and sanitation facilities. HTW Chur believes it has a responsibility to contribute to the achievement of the 17 SDGs. On 1 July 2018, it officially committed to becoming a Blue University and in doing so undertook to comply with the following principles:

  1. Blue Communities recognise water as a human right.
  2. Blue Communities are committed to ensuring that water services remain in the public sector.
  3. In Blue Communities, tap water is drunk instead of bottled water.
  4. A Blue Community supports international partnerships aimed at improving the supply of water by means of public-public cooperations.

The Blue Communities initiative was launched by the Council of Canadians, a Canadian organisation that promotes social and ecological justice.

Sustainable mobility

With issues such as CO2 reduction, a shortage of resources and the energy transition in general attracting attention, sustainable and shared mobility are becoming increasing relevant in social discourse. The objective of the mobility projects of the Sustainability Committee is to make a contribution to ensuring that private transport in Chur (and Graubünden) is optimised and made more flexible through the provision of a large number of different, intertwining mobility offers. A platform should also be provided for sustainable project ideas.

Car-sharing pilot project
Employees who do not exclusively use public transport for business travel because this is not possible, appropriate or economically feasible can try out the offer of the car-sharing provider Mobility for one year with a business subscription.  

Bike-hire stations in Chur
In cooperation with the sustainability officers of the Graubünden University of Teacher Education, HTW Chur has launched a working group for the bike-hire system in Chur. The canton of Graubünden, the city of Chur and various mobility providers would like to together provide a comprehensive bike-hire system for Chur.

Study and further education programmes

The “Sustainability in teaching” strategic initiative applies the PRME principles and incorporates global social responsibility values in its academic activities and curricula as they are presented in international initiatives such as the United Nations Global Compact. The sustainable development module is thus taught in all business and service study programmes in addition to the specific modules (e.g. sustainable tourism). Among others, the objectives are to ensure that students are familiar with the most important principles and concepts of sustainable development and can incorporate them in their actions during their later professional lives. They should develop skills that allow them to actively implement sustainable development. This means that they understand the link between various modules in their study programme and the topic of sustainability.

On the basis of this expertise, HTW Chur can offer sustainability as part of a comprehensive service offering.

Bachelor’s degree programmes

  • Architecture
    Building culture history, spatial and regional planning
  • Civil Engineering
    Geotechnology, timber construction, solid construction, transport, hydraulic engineering
  • Business Administration
    Business ethics, innovation management, leadership, sport governance
  • Multimedia Production
    Media ethics, minor in international and intercultural communication
  • Tourism
    Major in sustainable tourism and international development, environment and sustainability, sustainable development and tourism, qualification in sustainability, ethics in a globalised context, sociology, cultural sciences

Master’s degree programmes

  • Tourism
    Corporate responsibility, sustainable tourism management, intercultural skills and socio-economic development through tourism, risk and crisis management in the tourism sector
  • New Business
    Corporate responsibility, sustainable business development, talent management, intercultural cooperation, change management

Research and service projects

In the key research areas of Tourism, Infrastructure and Regional Development, sustainability is integrated as a cross-cutting issue. The research field of Corporate Responsibility addresses various issues relating to responsible corporate governance and entrepreneurial sustainability. The research thus also meets one of the six PRME principles by committing itself to improving knowledge about the role, dynamics and impact of companies in creating sustainable social, environmental and economic values.

The following examples show where the responsibility for sustainability co-determines the research activities of HTW Chur and permeates them as a cross-cutting issue. The megatrends provide us with the desired tailwind here.

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