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Universities Denmark: No need to change the University Act to prompt more sustainability  

The Friday for Future-strikes have been going on all over the world. Several huge strikes have too taken place in Denmark. This is outside Christiansborg. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Director of Universities Denmark would rather find common solutions than rewrite the University Act to address the climate and biodiversity crises, as 558 researchers and university teachers have requested. They want the preamble to focus specifically on how universities can contribute to solving the challenges created by climate change.

News |   06. Nov 2019

Anne Thora Lykkegaard

Journalist

In September 2019, a team of researchers and university teachers, led by Assistant Professor Emil Husted from the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy at CBS, suggested rewriting the University Act to contain an explicit focus on the climate and biodiversity crises.

Emil Husted argues that switching the focus from growth to sustainability is now overdue.

“For a long time, growth has been top priority and set the political agenda. And I’m not saying we should delete growth from the preamble, but we need something to match growth, and that’s sustainability,” he said to CBS WIRE on September 21 and continues:

“It is time for collective and ambitious actions.”

In total, 558 researchers and university teachers from each of the eight Danish universities have signed the four-bullet proposal, which has been sent to the Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science, Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen.

We asked Jesper Langergaard, Director of Universities Denmark, for his views on the proposal submitted by the researchers and university teachers. And according to him, the focus on sustainability, the climate and biodiversity crises is already an indirect part of the University Act’s preamble.

“The Act states that universities should develop our society, find solutions to the challenges we are facing, as well as creating growth and welfare. So, in that case, one could argue that the focus on climate and sustainability is already included,” says Jesper Langergaard and continues:

“We are fully aware of our responsibility in this case. And this is regardless of whether the climate and biodiversity crises are written in the preamble or not.”

Even if the Minister for Higher Education and Science is not about to change the preamble, Emil Husted hopes that the proposal will generate an open dialogue and that CBS will grasp the opportunity to reinvent its identity.

“CBS is in a unique position to rethink itself as a business school. Because what is the role of a business school in a world where growth is not the most important aim? Hopefully, we can have an open dialogue on that subject,” he says.

We approached the President of CBS, Nikolaj Malchow-Møller, for his thoughts on the proposal, as well as his reflections on Emil Husted’s question.

“CBS is currently in the middle of a strategy process leading up to a new strategic ambition for CBS in summer 2020. Nikolaj Malchow-Møller, therefore, do not wish to comment on the concrete suggestion,” writes Charlotte Autzen,  Head of Secretariat in an email to CBS WIRE.

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