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Sustainable initiatives that will benefit AU in the long run

The employees’ cost-cutting proposals include a lot of innovative and sustainable initiatives, which will benefit the university in the long run when and if they are implemented. Jørgen Jørgensen commends the work of the administration - via the local liaison committees. They have critically and constructively examined all activities, focusing on what we spend time and money on.

2014.03.06 | Andreas G. Jensby

Sustainability at Aarhus University

Less consumption and more recycling are the main theme in the AU employees’ cost-cutting proposals. Photo: Lise Balsby, AU Communication

“Reduce, reuse and recycle.” This is the mantra of sustainability that resonates all over the world. Something seems to suggest that the employees at AU are also looking towards sustainability in their work to find out where the university can save money.

The central administration’s senior management group (FALK), which comprises the deputy directors, the administration centre managers and the university director Jørgen Jørgensen, have gathered up all the employees’ cost-cutting proposals. The initiatives are both innovative and aimed at long-term solutions, and Jørgen Jørgensen sees this as one of the few positive things that have grown out of an otherwise arduous and unfortunate cost-cutting process.

“Initiatives aimed at saving energy, to complete tasks internally rather than externally, to reduce the consumption of printing paper and to a greater extent reuse furniture internally at AU or auction it off – these are all initiatives that will have a positive and long-term effect on AU, the budgets and the environment. We are forced to rethink and scrutinise our activities, and the employees are taking this work very seriously. I would like to acknowledge this," says Jørgen Jørgensen.

The need for ruthless prioritisation
Following this process, we are not to run faster or work more hours even though there are fewer people here to do the work. Instead, the assignments must be prioritised, and the less important tasks should be cut or removed entirely.

The work to determine prioritisations has been in full swing in all departments for a while now, and it will continue on in the future as well, explains Jørgen Jørgensen, who is very pleased that these suggestions are coming from the employees themselves.

“It is essential for AU’s finances that we continue to take a critical stance towards how we employ our resources. And no one is better at making these assessments than the employees, who are the ones in charge of getting the wheels to turn on an everyday basis. That is why I am very happy that the employees have submitted so many good and diverse suggestions,” he says.

This year and in the coming years, the university management, the deputy directors and the local units will continue to work to implement the employees’ proposals.

The proposals in brief

  • Assessment of meeting and course activities, including costs and time consumption.
  • Assessment of travels, including form, frequency and necessity.
  • No more free fruit for the employees.
  • Assessment of procurement, framework agreements and reuse across all of AU.
  • Assessment of the need for both land-line and mobile phones.
  • Using the university’s own employees for assignments that are currently assigned to external consultants.
  • Print more black/white instead of colour, and print on both sides of the paper. All printers should be set to automatically do this.
  • Energy management and measures towards energy efficiency The pilot project has been launched
  • Assessment of AU parties and events, including frequency, size and the amount of self-payment and contributions.
  • Assessment of whether more people can be granted reduced working hours, whether it is possible to limit the employment of student assistants and whether it is possible for employees to take time off in lieu of additional work.
  • Assessment of subsidies for various associations, cafeterias and memberships.
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