High Tech Campus Eindhoven has set itself an ambitious goal: to become the most sustainable Campus in Europe by 2025. In the coming years they will be turning this dream into reality by implementing their sustainability roadmap, proving that love of innovation and love of the environment can go together. Everybody is invited to participate.
Grazing sheep on the campus grounds, garbage containers that signal you when it’s time to empty them and solar panels on all the roofs of the campus buildings. Just a handful of the dozens of initiatives High Tech Campus Eindhoven (HTCE) is taking to become the most sustainable European Campus by 2025.
And it’s not just idle talk. Campus Site Management has designed a roadmap with several key performance indicators (KPI’s) to measure their sustainable progress. The most promising goals of the roadmap: operating CO2 neutral by 2025 and reducing the use of fossil fuels with 50% by 2030. ‘We are creating the first sustainability benchmark for campuses,’ says Anne van Wijchen, Purchase and Contract manager at HTCE Site Management. ‘It’s our hope that other campuses around the world will follow suit and start using our benchmark model as well.’
More than just solar panels on the roof
In the eyes of Campus Site Management sustainability is a holistic vision that includes the environment, the workplace and breakthrough innovations. ‘Sustainability is more than just solar panels on the roof,’ says Hilde de Vocht, Director Communications and Marketing at HTCE. ‘A healthy and great place to work with motivated, dynamic employees is just as much a part of our sustainability plans.’
That’s why HTCE has divided its sustainable ambitions into three strategic pillars: ‘environmental friendly’, ‘great place to work’ and ‘accelerate innovations’. It’s like a three-stage rocket intended to make High Tech Campus Eindhoven not only the most sustainable, but also the smartest and most desirable campus to work. ‘The pillars strengthen each other,’ says Hilde de Vocht. ‘If we can build and accelerate successful start-ups, all the workers feel proud and happy. And if we can help them connect to other companies, they will want to help us by contributing to our sustainable initiatives.’
In line with the Eindhoven region’s knack for cooperation and mutual trust, the Campus strongly relies on help and participation from both its suppliers and tenants in achieving its sustainability goals. Companies operating outside the Campus are also invited to contribute. ‘Everyone can participate, as long as their business does not directly compete with our own suppliers and tenants,’ says Anne van Wijchen.
Many suppliers are already on board. The next phase of the project focuses on getting the tenants involved. One idea to get tenants inspired is to offer them Campus facilities for free to test sustainable innovations. ‘When Holst Centre needed a safe environment to test its new air quality sensor, we offered them our parking garage for free,’ says Harrie Arends, head of Operations at High Tech Campus Eindhoven. Arends’ team is working on creating a platform where tenants can see what’s already happening, so they can participate as well as contribute new ideas and initiatives. ‘We’re lucky in that many companies take sustainability very seriously and also have their own green ambitions,’ says Arends.
Nevertheless, it’s challenging to find the proper way to involve companies with the sustainability roadmap, says Hilde de Vocht. ‘Although we will sometimes buy or hire a sustainable product or service, we don’t want it to be a purely commercial activity. It’s more the idea of a living lab, where you stimulate innovation to achieve your goals. That’s a win-win both for the company and for us.’
The Campus has recently initiated a sustainability board composed of Campus Site Management, suppliers and tenants to monitor the sustainability roadmap and track its progress. This year (2019) the focus is on circular economy and integrated logistics. ‘The gardener, the infrastructure supplier and the food supplier are all driving around in their own vehicles,’ says Harrie Arends. ‘We want to see if they can work more efficiently and sustainably by using each other’s vehicles and swapping some work.’ ‘The person delivering mail could also transport empty containers,’ adds Anne van Wijchen.
All Campus employees are passionate about the sustainability roadmap. ‘I truly believe that helping the environment is an investment that pays off,’ says Harrie Arends. ‘As a Campus we produce tremendous amounts of waste and we are very energy intensive,’ adds Hilde de Vocht. ‘So by becoming more sustainable we can really make an impact.’
If we really want to have a sustainable world, then the contribution of the business world is essential, the interviewees agree. ‘We want to set the example.’
Current sustainable initiatives by High Tech Campus Eindhoven and its suppliers:
Great Place to Work:
Inspired to participate? Campus Site Management is open to new sustainable ideas or initiatives.
Contact Anne van Wijchen at firstname.lastname@example.org