020 sustainability slogan
While UvA as an institution is relatively sustainable, 020 finds it crucial to advocate for individual incentives and dedication to sustainability policies on and off the campus. As the climate crisis continues to worsen, we believe it essential to raise awareness and tackle this issue on not only an institutional level but communal and individual levels as well.
As the climate affects every individual, 020 wants to thoroughly address this environmental crisis through several policies that can enhance contribution to sustainability on campus and across Amsterdam as well.
Take a look at our policies to better the the UvA’s sustainability practises below and let us know your thoughts!

A hands-on approach to improving the UVA

What will 020 change to make UvA more sustainable?

1

Individual Incentives

020 wants students to focus on their individual contribution and the University of Amsterdam to offer more incentives for students to be more sustainable and practice greener alternatives. Hence, creating a sustainable consciousness among all UvA students.

2

Informational Campaigns

We provide ideas for different informational campaigns on the most important elements that make up a more sustainable UvA campus experience such as recycling, responsible consumption, sustainability courses and so on.

3

Annual Reports

020 invites the University of Amsterdam to update their annual environmental reports and provide them in English. This would provide clear information and guidelines on the UvA’s progress on sustainability while being an important source for research.

Individual Incentives

The Problem

As mentioned previously, the University of Amsterdam is already a rather sustainable campus. Yet students and staff still produce a lot of unnecessary waste.

The UvA does not provide many incentives for students themselves to become more sustainable and practice ‘going greener’. It is crucial to not only keep the campus clean but the city of Amsterdam as well. We need to protect the longevity of the local environment.

020 found a missing aspect within the current aims the UvA is pursuing. Specifically, this was concerning the use of coffee cups throughout campus. The University provides sustainable cups that are recyclable after use at each coffee machine. Though a step in the right direction, it still produces a lot of unnecessary waste. Moreover, the unfortunate truth is that not every cup is recycled successfully.

The Solution

In this green policy proposal, 020 wants to focus on the individual incentive of bringing your own cup. Consequently, this would reduce the use of throwaway paper cups. Because while these cups are relatively sustainable, it would be more environmentally friendly to bring your reusable cup.

When designing this policy 020 looked for inspiration in other related institutions with similar programmes. In doing so, we found that CREA offers such an incentive. Stated on their menus in bold is the title “STOP THE WASTE!” followed by a description that states: “Bring your reusable take-out cup and get a 0.20 cent discount on hot drinks!”. We advocate a similar discount on drinks within the University’s cafeterias, canteens and coffee bars. 

Similar systems occur all around the world. For example, the University of Virginia provides students with punch cards for getting coffee with their reusable cups. As such, the UvA could introduce an electronic punch card connected to the student IDs. The University could do this in the form of the aforementioned discount of 0.20 cents. Alternatively, the University could offer a 10th free coffee for every 9 cups you order in a reusable cup. 

Interested in the way 020 will implement these sustainability policies and what the costs of that will be? Reach out to our Policy and Research Team!

Informational Campaigns

The Problem

The University could improve and potentially implement many things to make the University greener and more sustainable. For example, 020 found that there is a severe lack of awareness among students. This lack is hindering them from being as sustainable as possible.

Though the UvA has ambitions to make the institution sustainable, it does not communicate these to the students. Informational campaigns at the UvA are rare but could turn out useful for many students. Specifically, first-year students will benefit, as they are often confused by issues such as recycling. However, the same goes for international students because every country has its specific way of recycling. Moreover, even for some Dutch students, the recycling procedures are different in the cities they came from.

The Solution

020 has researched the following pillars that could help foster informational campaigns with the potential of making the University of Amsterdam a more sustainable place for everybody.

Food

This campaign aims at informing students on the negative impacts of industrial agriculture. An example would be the harmful use of pesticides in many landscapes, threatening biodiversity. A sustainable food campaign would point at activities such as a “Meatless Monday”, aimed at encouraging people to reduce meat consumption, both at the UvA and at home. This is not uncommon: Dutch universities like the VU and HU Utrecht have already occasionally implemented this.

Recycling

This may be the most obvious but nonetheless relevant issue on which to inform students. Recycling often proves confusing for many students who never really learned how to do so. The main problem is plastics, which are cheap to produce, but of which only 15% is recycled. Sustainable actions on this issue include encouraging the use of reusable cups and/or offering students discounts for bringing their cup. In some aspects, The University of Amsterdam has already implemented this. However, many plastic elements remain present in different food packages confusing students about correct waste separation. This is why 020 advocates a more organized waste separation, backed by posters around campus that show the correct disposal for different foods and packaging. This includes improving informative labels for recycling bins and distributing them more around campus and student accommodations.

Responsible Consumption

Many students may not be aware that many foods or even the clothes they buy might be environmentally unsustainable due to the pollution they produce or to the poor working conditions of the workers who produce them. The social relevance of protecting workers’s rights must be taken into consideration as well. 020 has already created a booklet with a list of sustainable shops, companies, supermarkets, and restaurants in Amsterdam. This is the first step to enforce an informational campaign. With help from the University, we could further develop this by offering students discounts at stores in the city which have been categorised as sustainable. The University of Groningen has already been implementing a similar initiative as their Green Office has published a map of “Sustainable experience” of the city of Groningen as described above.

Responsible Consumption

Many students may not be aware that many foods or even the clothes they buy might be environmentally unsustainable due to the pollution they produce or to the poor working conditions of the workers who produce them. The social relevance of protecting workers’s rights must be taken into consideration as well. 020 has already created a booklet with a list of sustainable shops, companies, supermarkets, and restaurants in Amsterdam. This is the first step to enforce an informational campaign. With help from the University, we could further develop this by offering students discounts at stores in the city which have been categorised as sustainable. The University of Groningen has already been implementing a similar initiative as their Green Office has published a map of “Sustainable experience” of the city of Groningen as described above.

Transparency

As the global climate crisis worsens year after year, on May 2nd 2013 students asked for a cease in the University’s investment in fossil fuels and the UvA seems to be incrementally adapting to its detachment from non-renewable forms of energy since then. This was part of an informational campaign that started in the United States and Canada. The students wanted a formal statement from the University of Amsterdam in which they would guarantee that they would start investing in fossil-free projects and buildings. This is still significant today when there is no positive sign that the crisis will be stopped. As part of our sustainability policies, 020 wants to keep promoting this campaign by requesting continuous and updated transparency regarding indirect investments of the University in fossil-related companies or organisations. This is important now more than ever: the UvA is a well-regarded university that prepares and trains its students for a better future and it should show an appropriate example on the issue as the future will necessarily need to be climate-oriented.

Societal Participation

The University of Amsterdam could also encourage student participation in national manifestations for better sustainability. Many students and especially first-years often tend to skip or completely ignore such initiatives if they overlap with classes. However, these manifestations, such as the now famous Fridays for Future, are relevant and will continue to be so as they increase governmental awareness and help students realise the importance of their freedom of speech and demonstration. Moreover, as the Fridays for Future movement demonstrated, these initiatives can grow ‘viral’ rapidly, thus raising the awareness of active citizens both socially and politically as they will start demanding more climate-friendly policies. The UvA should invest in funding and supporting ways to integrate such events into students’ schedule, given the above-stated relevance. They could do so by sponsoring climate-awareness events that would involve both University students and staff. Their Instagram page can be used to notify most students about such events, encouraging them to participate. As a party in collaboration with the UvA Green Office, 020 will get closely involved and help with the organisation of such events in any possible capacity.

Interested in the way 020 will implement these sustainability policies and what the costs of that will be? Reach out to our Policy and Research Team!

Annual Reports

The Problem

To provide an informational basis on sustainability to students, UvA produces and prepares annual environmental reports. In reviewing the annual reports published regarding the “Environmental Barometer,” 020 found a few issues with the current situation.

First, the latest annual report was published in 2017. The data, graphs and statistics provided in this report are useful, but out of date as 020 writes its current policy proposals in September of 2020. We find it important for the University of Amsterdam to provide updated information on their progress, as well as what they are doing to maintain sustainability within. This is important to highlight for students in Amsterdam as this information is viable in not only research, but to hold the University accountable as well. Students should have regular and updated access to these reports to not only monitor UvA’s progress and hold them accountable, but to allow for easily accessible and updated information for students to use for their research purposes, which is an essential pillar in a research university.

Along with this, the report is published only in Dutch. This makes it difficult for internationals to translate this document and thoroughly understand the information provided. While it is understandable why this is the case, with an influx of internationals each year, providing reports in English would be helpful for this growing population to feel included in this process of maintaining sustainability, as well as contributing individually.

The Solution

With these two concerns in mind, 020 proposes this brief policy to illustrate the need for updated annual reports of sustainable procedures and progress at the University of Amsterdam.

Along with this, 020 maintains that offering these reports in Dutch and English would continue to prove the inclusiveness of UvA towards its student population, along with providing opportunities for all students to get involved and receive updated information. Furthermore, we cannot underestimate the importance of current, relevant information in academia, especially in an institution with such focus on research.

Interested in the way 020 will implement these sustainability policies and what the costs of that will be? Reach out to our Policy and Research Team!