Institute for the Environment takes part in Erasmus+ funded initiative with 14 other universities
The Institute for the Environment (IMA) of PUCRS is now taking part in the international project Change the Climate: Assuring the Quality of Environmental Strategies in Latin-American Higher Education. The initiative aims to develop administrative policies with a view to environmental sustainability, in order to reduce the impact of universities on the generation of greenhouse gases. It will consequently contribute to reducing carbon emission levels. The project is funded by Erasmus+, and headed by Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Prof. Dr Vasco Moreira Rato. Prof. Dr Nelson Ferreira Fontoura, director of IMA, serves as the Deputy Coordinator of the project.
The project will receive € 943,000 in investments for the 15 institutions, four of which from Europe and 11 others from Latin America. PUCRS has a budget of € 137,000 for it. The initiative is expected measure the University’s “carbon footprint” as a whole and develop actions to make PUCRS a benchmark as a Carbon Neutral University.
Less environmental impact
The way Nelson Fontoura sees it, PUCRS has already been systematically working to reduce carbon level emissions, either through actions developed through the Environmental Management Committee (CGA), or through the USE program, which aims to reduce energy consumption. “But in addition to ensuring reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, PUCRS is working on an unprecedented action among Brazilian institutions: the capture and retain large-scale atmospheric carbon,” the director says.
Through the Center for Research and Nature Conservation – Pró-Mata, run by the IMA, PUCRS has about 3,100 ha of preserved areas, 2,400 of which are about to become a Private Natural Heritage Reserve (RPPN). There are hundreds of hectares of primary and secondary forests that will be preserved for life. This will ensure the sequestration of thousands of tons of carbon that have been absorbed from the atmosphere.
“It’s a silent action that gets the university community working or studying at PUCRS, to have a much lower carbon impact when compared to other Brazilian universities”, Fontoura says. In his view, studying or working at PUCRS is environmentally friendly.
The project consortium consists of 15 partner institutions from nine countries (Portugal, Italy, France, Sweden, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica and Mexico), as follows:
ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL) – Portugal
Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) – Brazil
Universidad del Norte (UNINORTE) – Colombia
Universidad de La Sabana (UNISABANA) – Colombia
Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) – Costa Rica
Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica – Heredia (UNA) – Costa Rica
Universidad de Lima (ULima) – Peru
Universidad del Pacífico (UP) – Peru
Universidad de Guadalajara (UDG) – Mexico
Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP) – Mexico
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) – Brazil
Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina (UNISUL) – Brazil
Politecnico di Torino (POLITO) – Italy
University of Gothenburg (GU) – Sweden
Sulitest.org / Kedge B. School (SULITEST) – France
Erasmus + (pronounced Erasmus plus) is a European Union (EU) program in the areas of education, training, youth and sport. It seeks to support actions and institutional cooperation actions at the global level.