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Press release

Sustainability Agenda: Shaping networks for the future

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is developing on the basis of the UN Sustainable Development Goals measures for a sustainable global network.

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The effects of the climate crisis – from meteorological disasters to the loss of biodiversity – drastically demonstrate that the Earth’s natural resources are finite. By promoting new knowledge and practical applications, science organisations contribute to mastering this crisis. However, these organisations must likewise take action because many of their activities also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation supports the German government’s goal of being climate-neutral by the year 2045 at the latest. In order to achieve this goal, the Foundation has developed a Sustainability Agenda for shaping its sponsorship work, network and administrative offices to be climate-neutral. 

For the Foundation, as a globally operating network organisation, the question arises: what does scientific mobility have to look like in the future if we are to achieve our goal of climate neutrality? Where do travel and face-to-face meetings continue to be indispensable for innovative research and cultural understanding? Where could virtual alternatives be used and how do they need to be refined and progressively improved? The Foundation – together with partners in Germany and abroad – examines these questions with the help of studies and by sharing experiences and ideas. 

The Foundation aims to bundle the expertise of the many scientists and scholars in the Humboldt network who conduct research on the subject of sustainability. It will boost this expertise as a “network within the network” by, for example, introducing new virtual dialogue formats such as the 2021 Humboldt New Mobility Conference. Existing fellowship programmes like the International Climate Protection Fellowship contribute to this. The Foundation is also looking for sustainable solutions in the area of science communication. The Communication Lab for Exchange between Research and Media has already conducted two virtual workshops focussing on the effects of climate change and the social dimension of sustainable developments.

Furthermore, the Humboldt Foundation wants to set a good example and develop its operations to be climate-neutral with the help of systematic environment management based on ISO 14001. This work will additionally include supporting the Foundation’s employees’ sustainable mobility and making intensive efforts to meet the most stringent environmental standards when it builds its much-needed new office building.

(Press release 17/2021)

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time conducting research in Germany. The Foundation maintains an interdisciplinary network of well over 30,000 Humboldtians in more than 140 countries around the world – including 56 Nobel Prize winners.

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