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  • Sustainability Report 2023

    Campus Bielefeld University
    Bielefeld University

Sustainability mission statement of Bielefeld University

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Sustainability mission statement for download

Participation as part of strategy development

A central aspect in the development of a sustainability strategy at Bielefeld University is the participation of university members. Not only was a participation format provided for this as part of the development of the sustainability mission statement. Various participation and information formats are also being developed beyond this in order to pursue transparent and open communication about initiatives and projects in the area of sustainability (for example via the sustainability portal and the sustainability newsletter) and to encourage all university members to join in and follow suit.


The sustainability mission statement is a central element in the development of the sustainability strategy at Bielefeld University. It reflects the university's fundamental understanding of sustainability and contains long-term objectives for the pursuit of sustainable development at the university. The mission statement is the guideline for future decisions in various areas of the university, but it is not itself a catalogue of measures.

The sustainability mission statement represents an external commitment to sustainability at the university and at the same time signals the willingness of university members to dedicate themselves to the sustainable development of Bielefeld University. It is therefore formulated in the "we" and addresses all members of the university equally, not just the university management.

Development of the sustainability mission statement

A participatory process took place until the end of 2022, giving all members of the university the opportunity to contribute to an initial draft of the sustainability mission statement and contribute ideas.

Initial ideas for a sustainability-focused university were collected at a kick-off event. These were further elaborated in the three working groups, Studies & Teaching, Research and Operations, which were led by four Rectorate representatives. One meeting of each working group was a "students only" meeting, for which students could register separately. The additional "students only" meetings were intended to allow students to explicitly contribute their views on the respective topic area as well as specific wishes and hits in a space created especially for them.

The graphic shows the different elements of the participation process with the support of stacked boxes. At the bottom is the "kick-off event" box. Above this are individual boxes for the different working groups, one each for study and teaching, research and operations. In each of the working group boxes, there are further boxes labelled "Rectorate representatives" and "Expertise". Once again, there is a box labelled "Round of Rectorate Officers". This box also contains the boxes labelled "Rektoratsbeauftragte" and "Prorektorat W&G/ Kanzler". Above these again are boxes for the various committees: Foko, LeKo, UeKo and Gleiko. Above this at the top are the boxes Senate, University Council and Rectorate. All the boxes in the graphic are connected from bottom to top with arrows.
Structure of the participation process for the sustainability mission statement

An initial version of the sustainability mission statement was developed in collaboration with the Rectorate representatives at the beginning of 2023. This was further elaborated during intensive discussions in the Rectorate and in the university's committees. The sustainability mission statement was finally adopted by the Senate on 5 July 2023 and by the Rectorate on 11 July 2023. An editorial group is still making adjustments, which will be discussed again by the Senate and the Rectorate.

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