TUM Sustainability: How we are making our university more sustainable

How can we make our university more sustainable and environmentally friendly and – in doing so – increase our contribution to global sustainability efforts? Moving forward, we have decided to embrace this challenge – as environmental, economic and social sustainability is one of the biggest issues set to define life in the 21st century. As a thought leader within society, we have a responsibility to shape a more sustainable future. Acting together, let us master the many tasks that lie ahead.

How we are forming our strategy

Together, we are identifying the building blocks required to create a holistic strategy that will act as a roadmap for our sustainability journey; an action plan fitting of a university of international standing with the power to influence society, industry and policy-makers. We are in the process of creating the necessary governance structures, building on the commitment and support of the entire university community. Communication and knowledge transfer are key success factors in the process.

Our objective: To unleash the full sustainability potential of TUM across our key action areas: research – teaching – entrepreneurship – campus & operations.

  • Sustainability office: Brings together all existing initiatives and ideas under an overarching strategic framework, supports their implementation, and generates new ideas and projects through cooperation.
  • Sustainability taskforce: In spring 2020, the taskforce wrote a comprehensive report to underpin the sustainability function’s strategy. The taskforce members remain strongly committed to the issue – both within their respective disciplines and for the university as a whole.
  • Thematic teams: Interdisciplinary thematic teams, focused on the key action areas, recommend action plans and implement projects. Sustainability initiatives are piloted at TUM, and adapted to our specific requirements. This gives us an efficient, targeted blueprint for sustainability improvements across the entire university.

“We can make the world a better place”

Four experts, one goal: How can society be won over to a more sustainable lifestyle? And what role do universities and research institutes play in this process? These questions are discussed by Prof. Dr. Thomas Brück, Foundation Director and TUM alumna Dr. María José Barragán-Paladines, student Tabea Riemensperger, and entrepreneur Dr. Andreas Sichert. Read the interview

How we are bringing sustainability to life?

Top-of-their-game scientists from around the world, excellent facilities and resources, and interdisciplinary teams all combine to inspire real innovations and valuable insights into how we can improve environmental, economic and social sustainability.

A snapshot of our research activities

Other examples

The future belongs to future generations – our students! That is why we incorporate sustainability thinking into our study programs and even place it center stage on certain courses, for instance with the unique range of programs offered at the TUM Campus Straubing for Biotechnology and Sustainability. We equip the next generation with the skills they will need to make sustainable decisions for the good of our planet and society. This is the essence of “human-centered engineering”.

A snapshot of our study programs

Our Sustainable Living Labs

Other options

Our students are active in many different projects, initiatives and societies and engage with sustainability topics in a variety of ways. By applying their academic knowledge, they embody TUM’s mission of thinking and acting like an entrepreneurial university. In the process, they have formed friendships and networks across Europe and the rest of the world.

A snapshot of our projects and initiatives

Successful tech companies have emerged from the inventions of our researchers and students. The innovations they develop bring the topic of sustainability to a wider public audience. TUM is the top German university for the number of entrepreneurs who transition their idea from the lab to the market.

A snapshot of our start-ups

Today’s start-ups are attaching more and more importance to sustainability, as revealed by a Europe-wide online survey conducted by UnternehmerTUM GmbH (05/2020).

Society needs to act together to transform our world into a more sustainable place. That is why we collaborate with our international partners to find solutions, develop technologies, and create new training and learning concepts.

A snapshot of our collaborations

  • EuroTech Universities Alliance: “Sustainable Society” is one of the main focus topics of our cooperation with EuroTech partner universities. Our research projects include smart technologies for environmental protection in the digital age.
  • International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN): On an international level, we joined this network with universities on all continents with strong commitments and leading positions in sustainability.
  • Bavarian Network for Sustainability in Higher Education: We are part of a 25-strong Bavarian university network which, building on a common understanding of sustainability, pools its resources in support of a whole-institutional approach to sustainability.
  • European Knowledge and Innovation Communities (EIT-KICs): We work toward the sustainable production of food (EIT FOOD), develop sustainable mobility concepts (EIT Urban Mobility) and think of innovative measures to mitigate climate change (Climate-KIC).
  • TUM without borders – Development cooperation at TUM: Teaming up with local partners around the world, TUM academics, students and staff make valuable contributions to more sustainable economic, social and environmental infrastructures in developing countries.
  • TUM Seed Center: Interdisciplinary research and teaching combined with entrepreneurship is supporting the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations by focusing on sustainable, low-cost energy as a driver of development in the Global South.

Sustainability Office

As a strategic unit, we report directly to the Board of Management. We coordinate, initiate, bundle and synergize the university’s ambitious sustainability activities. In addition, we report regularly on the progress of our sustainability strategy.

Tobias Michl

 

+49 89 289 22897
michl(at)zv.tum.de

sustainability(at)tum.de

Sustainability Manager

 

Sandra Huber

 

+49 89 289 25231
hubersa(at)zv.tum.de

sustainability(at)tum.de

 

Sustainability Manager

 

 

Sustainability Taskforce

Head of the Sustainability taskforce

 

 

How we can all make a difference – starting today

Whether you’re on your way to the university, at work or having lunch, the choices you make every day have environmental, economic and social implications, and all of these impacts are interlinked. We encourage you to use and support the many sustainability activities, services and initiatives which are already in place at TUM. By getting actively involved today, you can become part of the sustainability strategy of tomorrow.


Sustainability news

  • Urban gardens can provide habitat for plant and animal species and their complex interactions, and also provide cooling mechanisms to reduce urban heat.
    • Sustainability, Campus news, Event
    • Reading time: 2 MIN

    Urban gardens - ecosystems for people and nature

    TUM@Freising lecture virtual and on site

    Urban gardens provide a new perspectives for nature conservation and nature connection. How can urban gardens contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and to what extent do they benefit human health? Monika Egerer, Professor of Urban Productive Ecosystems at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), will explain how ecosystems in our neighborhood can provide habitats for animals, plants and people at her TUM@Freising lecture on Monday, December 13, 2021. The event is held in hybrid.

  • Robin Allert of QuantumDiamonds receives the TUM IDEAward.

    TUM IDEAward for quantum engineering project

    New prize established for international start-up teams

    Diamonds for quantum technology, a test for urinary tract infections and a machine learning method for testing computer games: these three start-ups ideas were announced yesterday as winners of the TUM IDEAward. The day also marked the first-ever presentation of the TUM Deep Tech IDEAward, offered to teams established in other countries that wish to launch their start-up in Munich.

  • Putting the fire lookout in orbit

    OroraTech is the 2021 winner of The Spark – German Digital Award

    OroraTech, a startup formed at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), is preparing to launch a fleet of small satellites. They will use infrared cameras to detect temperature anomalies at high temporal and spatial resolutions. With the data, the young entrepreneurs want to localize forest fires quickly and track their spread in real time. The start-up is this year's winner of The Spark – The German Digital Award which is awarded by the daily newspaper Handelsblatt and the management consultancy McKinsey.

  • Bank buildings in Frankfurt
    • Sustainability, Research news
    • Reading time: 5 MIN

    New stress test model quantifies climate risks for banks

    Case study calculates decreasing equity ratios under CO2 pricing

    European banks will soon be required to incorporate climate change risks into the stress testing of their equity. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now developed a new approach in cooperation with the Frankfurt Institute for Risk Management and Regulation (FIRM). In a case study they applied their stress testing method in several CO2 pricing scenarios. Due to sharp rises in probabilities of credit default in several industries, the results show that the bank in question would face significant decreases in capital ratios. The model can help banks to prepare for future risks.

  • Woman in a data processing center
    • Sustainability, Research news
    • Reading time: 5 MIN

    Tech companies underreport CO2 emissions

    Study reveals missing data for scope 3 greenhouse gases

    Companies in the digital technology industry are significantly underreporting the greenhouse gas emissions arising along the value chain of their products. Across a sample of 56 major tech companies surveyed in a study by the Technical University of Munich (TUM), more than half of these emissions were excluded from self-reporting in 2019. At approximately 390 megatons carbon dioxide equivalents, the omitted emissions are in the same ballpark as the carbon footprint of Australia. The research team has developed a method for spotting sources of error and calculating the omitted disclosures.