Vision for the Development of the Green Office Movement

The purpose of this vision is to… 

  1. inspire Green Offices to identify how they can become more impactful
  2. encourage collaboration among Green Offices to learn from each other

Vision & mission

Our vision as the Green Office Movement is that higher education institutions become catalysts for sustainability. This means that…

Our mission is to institutionalize sustainability in higher education, by integrating sustainability in all the above-mentioned domains.

We believe in the Green Office (GO) Model as an effective, scalable & adaptable approach to realize this mission.

What have we accomplished so far?

Since the first Green Office was set up in Maastricht in 2010, we have

  • grown into an international movement of 40+ Green Offices, 65+ GO initiatives and 11+ partner organizations – see the movement map
  • gained recognition for the GO model as one of the best ESD projects by the UNESCO
  • created ca 200 sustainability jobs and sustainability career prospects for students and staff
  • implemented ca 500 successful projects every year addressing the SDGs, by raising awareness, engaging students and staff, and embedding sustainability in curriculum, research, governance and operations
  • mobilized ca 2 million Euros of total annual funding for Green Offices from their respective institutions

How can we develop further?

Considering we have a decade left to respond adequately to the global challenges we face, how can we as the Green Office Movement further develop our responses?

1. Deepen our impact

  • Radically reduce socio-ecological footprints of university processes and people’s behaviours: circularity in operations, (flight) emission reductions, vegan/vegetarian catering, eliminate waste, …
  • Get more active on curriculum change and research: living labs, competency-development, sustainability courses, applied research projects, …
  • Prepare students as leaders of tomorrow: extra-curricular engagement opportunities, internships, business case challenges, working with NGOs, …
  • Go beyond the eco-bubble by working more on social and economic sustainability: new economies, refugees, gender, law,…
  • Gain stronger institutional influence within the university & institutional support for student engagement: higher profile of the GO, legitimacy, funding, access, participation, autonomy,  …
  • Engage staff more systematically: for instance through Green Impact
  • Get more political in our activities: write petitions, join strikes, endorse manifestos, (help) to organise protests with movements like Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion

2. Widen our engagement

  • Collaborate more with diverse stakeholders to co-design and implement activities, facilitate exchange and cooperation, and create a critical mass
    • with other student organisations to reach more students, strengthen capacities, realise synergies, and mobilize our collective voice
    • with academics: professors, PhDs, and teachers to raise awareness
    • with actors beyond the campus: municipalities, NGOs, enterprises, political movements: learn from them, co-organize activities, support their efforts
  • Accelerate the learning and collaboration among Green Offices and other networks: share goals and strategies, exchange successes, support each other’s challenges, organize joint campaigns
  • Engage more students not yet interested or aware of sustainability: raise awareness, offer opportunities
  • Engage more voluntary members in self-organized project teams
  • Adapt the GO model to more diverse cultural and socio-economic contexts

3. Lengthen our continuity

  • Ensure effective team transitions in the face of high fluctuation of students
  • Strengthen the engagement of GO alumni as change-makers in companies, political parties, municipalities, NGOs, and civil society initiatives
  • Strengthen support of GO alumni for better knowledge transfer and project continuity in Green Offices
  • Stronger regional networks to ensure continuity of the Green Office movement independent of SOS international

See the overview of activities and challenges and the project overview for more details about what GOs are already doing about these topics!

How can you contribute?

  • Set up a Green Office or help others to do so, using our online course and sustainability resources as guidance
  • Reflect with your team and your members on how you can develop your activities to become more impactful, using this document as inspiration, and how you can strengthen your internal organisation, using the team health check
  • Share insightful stories on the GO movement facebook group and add to the overview of activities and challenges about successful projects, effective strategies, and learnings from failed attempts to inspire others to develop in the areas mentioned above (tip: the person in your team responsible for communications can do this)
  • Connect with other GOs to reflect, exchange, and organize around specific topics you care about: host a session at the GO online summit, self-organise a call or meet-up, post your question in the GO movement FB group, …
  • Take a lead to organize ways the movement can further develop: engage as alumni to spread the GO model, organize a joint campaign, co-develop ideas for high-impact projects, organize a multi-stakeholder panel discussion (like Perspektive N), etc.

Any questions, ideas, suggestions?

Write Maartje, the Green Office Movement coordinator
or post in the Green Office Movement Facebook group.