KAUST report showcases local, global sustainability actions

The KAUST Sustainability working group (SWG) is a consortium of teams across the university that facilitates cross-cutting collaboration centered on KAUST’s sustainability objectives. Photo: KAUST

As the world works to realize a green future, new collaborative models will be key to success. Governments, industries and businesses bring the means and mechanism to implement sustainable change, while institutes of higher learning offer research and innovation needed to illuminate the path forward. Since its founding in 2009, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has implemented ambitious alliances toward achieving global sustainability goals on campus, in-Kingdom and abroad.

The Office of Office of Sustainability at KAUST at KAUST released its first report on the University’s progress toward the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Sustainable Development Goals Goals (SDG). The SDG SDG Highlight Report Report, which covers the period from 2021 to 2022, features major projects, programs and initiatives advanced by KAUST across three broad categories: Education & Research, Operations, and Engagement & Outreach.

Highlights include KAUST’s involvement in several international sustainability networks; research on climate solutions and the water-energy-food nexus; participation in or hosting of key events such as Conference of the Parties (COP) — the UN climate change conference; UN Ocean Conference; the intergovernmental Group of 20 (G20); Future Investment Initiative (FII); World Sustainability Forum; and UNESCO’s The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) general conference. The report additionally profiles the University’s engagement with strategic national projects, institutions and companies such as Red Sea Global, NEOM, ARAMCO, Saudi Green Initiative, Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA), Public Investment Fund (PIF) and AEON Collective. And with its award-winning, LEED Platinum Certified buildings, zero-waste campus goal, and numerous examples of energy-efficient operations, the University continues to lead by example.  

The report asserts KAUST’s commitment to the global sustainability agenda and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, a strategic framework aimed at building the country’s sustainable foundation through ecosystem protection and enhancement, water, energy, food security and economic diversification.

“KAUST’s work on sustainability is making a difference in the Kingdom and the World.  We look forward to keeping up the momentum to further advance our sustainability agenda,” said Dr. Ana Margarida Costa, the head of KAUST’s Office of Sustainability.

KAUST has been making strides in communicating its sustainability efforts. With a recently released sustainability vision statement, a new sustainability website, and participation in international rankings such as the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, the SDG Highlight Report underscores the University’s role as a regional leader and role model in sustainability in higher education.

In the foreword of the report, KAUST KAUST President Tony Chan Tony Chan stated, “I hope that the projects, initiatives and activities presented [in the report] will inspire us to continue our sustainability journey, and also inspire local, national and international audiences across all sectors of society to engage with us in the search for the solutions we need to collectively thrive.”

The digital report can be downloaded here.