5. Responsibility

The higher education institution explains roles and responsibilities relating to sustainability.

The President of Trier University of Applied Science, Prof. Dr. Dorit Schumann, is at the top. She legitimizes strategic decisions on the implementation of sustainability at the top of the university. The Vice President for Research Prof. Dr. Stefan Diemer, who is responsible for the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld, and the Vice President Prof. Dr. Marc Regier, who is responsible for teaching, as well as the Chancellor of the University Mrs. Claudia Hornig support her in this. The deans of the two departments of the Umwelt-Campus, Prof. Dr. Klaus Helling (environmental economics / environmental law) and Prof. Dr. Peter Gutheil (environmental planning / Environmental Engineering) prepare, advise and implement these decisions.

Prof. Dr. Klaus Helling acts as the sustainability officer at the University's Environmental Campus Birkenfeld. He continuously develops sustainability processes at the Environmental Campus and, together with his project group of students and the Sustainability Council, regularly reviews the sustainability goals of the campus and also communicates these externally with the help of the Sustainability Report. Through the Sustainability Council (cf. Criterion 4 Organizational Responsibility), this council is in close contact with appointed representatives from different areas of the university, who jointly discuss new ideas, goals, and approaches.

The General Students' Committee AStA also shares responsibility and commits to various units such as culture, social affairs, and the environment within the framework of the sustainable development to become active. But other committees are also firmly integrated into the organization and act in accordance with the guidelines of sustainable development. accordingly. The student councils of the two departments of Environmental Economics/Environmental Law and Environmental Planning/Environmental Engineering have each appointed an environmental officer. In addition, student involvement made it possible to open the tea room in the communications building, where fair trade products and a regular vegan breakfast are offered. Since 2017, a Green Office has also been established to coordinate student sustainability initiatives.

Since 2001, an important driving force for the implementation of sustainability at the Environmental Campus has been the Institute for Applied Material Flow Management (IfaS), which, among other things, established a climate protection manager and has implemented numerous projects at the university (including the planning of the PV systems and the solar carports as well as the use of electric vehicles). The building services department is responsible for the environmentally friendly operation of the real estate and the maintenance of the outdoor facilities and is supported in this by the energy management department.  

6. Rules and processes

The higher education institution explains how it implements the sustainability strategy by means of rules and processes.

Quality management at the environmental campus ensures that the sustainability strategy is implemented. In this way, excellent studies, teaching, and research services can be provided at the campus. For this purpose, a sustainability-related qualification profile was developed based on the strategic objectives from the mission statement and university development plan (the provided websites are in german).

In accordance with the university profile, the quality management system places the responsibility of the departments for teaching and studying in the foreground and has established central processes, quality assurance procedures, and structures at three levels - the course, the department, and the university as a whole - which are intended to work together according to the principle of the PDCA cycle.

Further information on how the sustainability strategy is implemented through rules and processes in the university process can be found in the german Sustainability Report 2017/2018 in the chapter "Future of the UCB - the campus continues to develop" can be read.

7. Ensuring Quality of Results

The higher education institution explains which sustainability indicators are used. It also discloses how the reliability, comparability and consistency of data is ensured and utilised both to ensure quality of results internally and for internal and external communication.

The Environmental Campus Birkenfeld uses various instruments to constantly review its sustainability indicators in internal planning and control and thus achieves continuous improvement.
An additional review and further development of a wide range of sustainability criteria also takes place with the help of the implementation of research projects and interdisciplinary projects in and at the "Living Lab" Environmental Campus.

Key Performance Indicators to criteria 5 to 7

Key Performance Indicator GRI SRS-102-16: Values
The reporting organization shall report the following information:

a. A description of the organization’s values, principles, standards, and norms of behavior.

Performance indicators according to GRI standards In order to evaluate the implementation of the sustainability guidelines, the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld has been reporting on its sustainability activities in the regularly published sustainability report since 2011 and organizes its processes internally based on the requirements of the environmental management standard ISO 14001.

For the ecological component, the sustainability report takes into account the core indicators of the EMAS regulation and, in addition, the requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI standards) and, since 2018, those of the German Sustainability Code (DNK) for universities. The Environmental Campus Birkenfeld was recognized in the third award round 2018/2019 as an ESD learning location with the award at level 3, the highest level to be achieved. The jury summarizes its decision as follows: "The Environmental Campus Birkenfeld manages to implement ESD in its study programs with a focus on "Environment and Sustainability" in a structurally effective way. The students benefit from a particularly meaningful participation and design offer. They participate in the development of the university in a variety of ways, are systematically integrated into decision-making processes, and can thus exert a targeted influence." Sustainable development means realizing human dignity and equal opportunities for all in an intact environment. Education is central to sustainable development. It enables people to make decisions for the future and to assess how their own actions will affect future generations or life in other regions of the world. The United Nations Global Sustainability Agenda 2030 and the UNESCO World Programme of Action on Education for Sustainable Development (2015-2019) establish the implementation of ESD as a goal for the global community. The Environmental Campus contributes to the implementation of the 17 SDGs through ESD activities as well as sustainability-related research and transfer projects and is also part of the regional network office for sustainability strategies RENN.west.

8. Incentive Schemes

The higher education institution explains to what extent its executive organisational units promote and stimulate sustainability processes in both material and non-material ways by means of project-specific or allocated budget resources and how they authorise and support such activities at all (decision-making) levels. It also explains to what extent the management of higher education institutions checks the effectiveness of such incentive systems.

The Environmental Campus Birkenfeld has firmly anchored the area of sustainability in its mission statement and pursues an uncompromisingly ecological concept. Thus, the university benefits from an intrinsic incentive through all organizational units to promote and initiate sustainability processes. The university's operations as well as the areas of research and teaching are strongly focused on the idea of sustainability, and students and employees are always encouraged to actively participate in the university's sustainability process. The two departments also support students by providing grants for field trips and conferences, most of which are sustainability-related. Some activities, projects, and initiatives that take this incentive system into account are highlighted below.

ECTS points for interdisciplinary work related to sustainability

To give students an incentive to engage in sustainable activities, the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld offers students the opportunity to have their sustainability-oriented engagement recognized as academic achievement. Thus, students can receive ECTS credits if they at events such as the annual children's university at the environmental campus or get involved in the Green Office. In addition, interdisciplinary projects can also be carried out with external partners from institutes, universities, or industry.

Martin Klar Award for Student Involvement


For the sixth time in 2019, the Martin Klar Award was presented to students for exceptional commitment in memory of Professor Martin Klar, who died in 2002. Markus Klassen, a graduate of the Mechanical Engineering program, was delighted to receive the award. The award winner distinguished himself through his commitment to the university in many areas and always stood up for the interests of his fellow students and the university.

Key Performance Indicators to criteria 8

Key Performance Indicator GRI SRS-102-35: Renumeration policies
The reporting organization shall report the following information:

a. Remuneration policies for the highest governance body and senior executives for the following types of remuneration:
i. Fixed pay and variable pay, including performance-based pay, equity-based pay, bonuses, and deferred or vested shares;
ii. Sign-on bonuses or recruitment incentive payments;
iii. Termination payments;
iv. Clawbacks;
v. Retirement benefits, including the difference between benefit schemes and contribution rates for the highest governance body, senior executives, and all other employees.

b. How performance criteria in the remuneration policies relate to the highest governance body’s and senior executives’ objectives for economic, environmental, and social topics.

The compensation policy at universities in Rhineland-Palatinate is based on the State Higher Education Act as well as related ordinances and collective bargaining regulations. The scope for setting one's own accents in compensation policy is very limited. All new professors are remunerated according to the W pay scale. It is up to the newly appointed professors and the university management to reach individual agreements on remuneration. In accordance with the performance pay regulations of the Trier University of Applied Sciences, individual performance-related salaries are paid at the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld. Compensation models agreed for a period of five years in each case. The sustainability-oriented strategic alignment of the Environmental Campus ensures that sustainability aspects are regularly taken into account in the target agreements.

Key Performance Indicator GRI SRS-102-38: Annual total compensation ratio
The reporting organization shall report the following information:

a. Ratio of the annual total compensation for the organization’s highest-paid individual in each country of significant operations to the median annual total compensation for all employees (excluding the highest-paid individual) in the same country.

This criterion is only relevant to a limited extent for the Environmental Campus as a state university, since all employees are compensated according to the applicable legal and collective bargaining regulations. The lowest salaries are paid to interns, research assistants, and trainees. The highest salaries are paid to the university management and professors, whereby the personal salaries are also based on legal and collective bargaining regulations. Details may not be published due to data protection aspects, but in contrast to compensation differences between the highest and lowest salaries in the private sector, salary differences at public universities are rather small.

9. Stakeholder Engagement

The higher education institution explains whether and how it identifies internal and external stakeholders and how they are integrated into the sustainability process. It explains whether and how an ongoing dialogue takes place with them and how the results of this are integrated into the institution’s sustainability process.

Since sustainability serves as the framework concept for the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld, all employees, professors, and students are involved in its implementation. It is precisely through the commitment of the university staff and their input that the sustainability process at the university comes to life. Thus, a large number of events are enriched and successfully implemented through active cooperation. The main concern of the report is the dialogue-oriented communication of the sustainability activities with internal and external stakeholders. The main stakeholder groups and their expectations of the university were first identified as part of an image study conducted by students from various disciplines as an interdisciplinary project. Since then, there have been regular internal and external stakeholder dialogues. In these, the environmental campus informs Birkenfeld of its external stakeholders through a variety of events, many of which are open to the public. Through regular exchange with our stakeholders, we create a basis in which open and constructive discussions can take place. Feedback from our stakeholders provides us with valuable input and allows us to continuously develop.

Key internal stakeholders of the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld




Key external stakeholders of the Birkenfeld Environmental Campus



Detailed information and an overview of the wide range of activities and opportunities offered by the Interaction of diverse stakeholders with the ECB is offered in the chapter "Sustainability Dialogue with Stakeholders" in the current german Sustainability Report.

Key Performance Indicators to criteria 9

Key Performance Indicator GRI SRS-102-44: Key topics and concerns
The reporting organization shall report the following information:

a. Key topics and concerns that have been raised through stakeholder engagement, including:
i. how the organization has responded to those key topics and concerns, including through its reporting;
ii. the stakeholder groups that raised each of the key topics and concerns.

Stakeholder participation The internal stakeholders are involved through regular committees (e.g. student council, AStA, department council, senate). A Sustainability Council was established at the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld specifically for the implementation of the sustainability strategy, which relates equally to teaching, research, and the operation of the university. It is an association of relevant actors who deal with the topic of sustainability. Its tasks include, among other things, the analysis of essential activities of the university with regard to sustainable development, involving all relevant stakeholders (stakeholder management). Important topics in the past reporting period were the establishment of a Green Office and the promotion of biodiversity in the university's outdoor facilities. The desire for sustainable mobility offers was taken into account by the introduction of a job ticket and the promotion of electric mobility.

The external stakeholders will be involved in the further development of 
the study programs and quality management through an advisory board. Feedback from alumni is obtained through appropriate surveys and alumni meetings and also serves to further develop the range of studies offered. The representatives of the region, schools, and Corporate partners are involved through regular meetings and joint projects so that the concerns of these stakeholders can also be implemented. A cooperation agreement has been concluded with the Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park in order to institutionalize cooperation. Important topics here, in addition to environmental monitoring, are also sustainable regional development and education for sustainable development.

Further information on dealing with the issues and concerns of stakeholders can be found in the chapter "Sustainability dialog with stakeholders" in the current german 
Sustainability Report.

10. Transformation

The higher education institution explains how it achieves a transformation in favour of sustainable development in its key fields of action by means of suitable processes. It also explains to what extent measures within the fields of action trigger a learning process for the whole organisation and third parties and how processes entrenching the desired transformation are driven forward. This also includes maintaining an ongoing dialogue with local authorities, businesses, policymakers and civil society.

Sustainability-oriented research at the environmental campus

The Environmental Campus Birkenfeld plays a decisive role in shaping the research strategy of Trier University of Applied Science, addressing issues of applied material flow management, technologies for sustainable development, and life sciences (medicine, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology).
Of great importance is the networking of research and teaching through the participation of students in the research projects to develop sustainable solutions for current challenges. Since its founding in 1996, a number of institutes and competence centers have been founded and established: Trier University of Applied Sciences is one of the strongest research universities in Rhineland-Palatinate and raised approximately 13.5 million euros in third-party funding last year. The ECB managed to acquire about two-thirds of the total third-party funds of the university with about one-third of the researchers. 

Innovation and science management

As a "Zero Emission University", the ECB uses resources sparingly and continuously reduces its environmental impact. Therefore, the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld is open to establish innovative solutions. The idea of the campus is also to be carried outward in different ways. On the one hand, the students serve as multipliers of sustainable development by taking the knowledge they have gained into their jobs and, in the best case, implementing the idea of sustainability there as well. Furthermore, the innovative concept of the campus is communicated to the outside world through targeted public relations work. Regular public lecture series and
Specialist conferences on sustainability topics, such as the annual "PIUS Conference". (production-integrated environmental protection) and the international circular economy week, support the transfer. In addition, interested visitors can take part in the "Open Day" and the regular technical tours of the campus free of charge and thus learn about the available technologies and the environmental performance of the environmental campus.
Furthermore, the entire zero-emission concept is successfully passed on to interested partners by the Institute for Applied Material Flow Management. For example, zero-emission and climate protection concepts have been successfully developed for universities in Morocco, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and China as well as for numerous municipalities in Germany and abroad.


Further examples of innovation and knowledge management at the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld

Further information on research and transfer activities at the campus can be found in the current german 
sustainability report in the chapters "Research with a sustainability focus".

Key Performance Indicators to criteria 10

Key Performance Indicator G4-FS11
(report also in accordance with GRI SRS): Percentage of assets subject to positive and negative environmental or social screening.(Note: the indicator should also be reported when reporting to GRI SRS)

The university as an educational institution is not profit-oriented and has no institutional financial assets. Therefore, this indicator is not relevant for the university. However, at this point, the state of Rhineland-Palatinate is asked to review the investment principles of its pension provisions with regard to sustainability aspects.