Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes announces first global collaborations

The Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes (GCSO), a global network of universities dedicated to scaling sustainability solutions with like-minded partners around the world, has announced its first round of grant awards.

Three interdisciplinary teams were awarded USD $125,000 each to implement projects designed to create and scale sustainable outcomes across the globe.

Led by sustainability experts from ten GCSO member universities across seven countries, the projects work directly with implementation agents, such as cities, schools, agencies and neighborhoods, to put research-backed solutions into practice.

“GCSO is about solutions,” said founding director Jenny Carter. “Our member universities are leaders in sustainability in their respective regions. Our consortium is uniquely poised to address sustainability challenges because our members have the knowledge and resources to develop solutions. It is by working together and scaling the solutions that we will have the greatest impact.”

In October 2016, the consortium held its first annual meeting at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, Arizona (USA). ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability is GCSO’s managing partner.

Members decided to address three core sustainability challenges in GCSO’s first year—city capacity to solve sustainability problems, sustainability education, and living laboratories for sustainability transformations. Subsequently, member universities collaborated to design the following projects, which have now received funding:

Building Sustainability Implementation Capacity in Municipal Staff and Leadership

By providing training of staff and leadership in Karlsruhe (Germany), Mexico City (Mexico), Tempe, Arizona (USA) and Portland, Oregon (USA) the project will advance the sustainability of regional economies, communities and environments, and create a context-sensitive typology of best practices that can be utilized to help other cities to become more sustainable.

GCSO participants: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany), Leuphana University of Lüneburg (Germany), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico), Arizona State University (USA), Portland State University (USA)

Educating School Teachers and Faculty for Sustainability through Continuing Professional Development

Recognizing that the world can only become sustainable if people of all ages learn how to behave more sustainably, this project helps teachers master principles of sustainability and provides practical strategies to help students attain relevant competencies via the public education system, from kindergarten to adult learners. This project will adapt competencies-oriented models to offer workshops for primary to tertiary educators, ultimately resulting in generations of students with deeply rooted sustainability competencies.

GCSO participants: Leuphana University of Lüneburg (Germany), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKSAR/China), Dublin City University (Ireland), Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico), Arizona State University (USA)

Living Campus Accelerator Toolkit

This project offers a “toolkit” to identify and implement solutions to sustainability challenges including energy, waste and water. University campuses act as living laboratories for implementing measurable, effective, equitable and viable solutions. Using this approach, the project will identify regulations and attitudes regarding the built environment that result in unnecessary waste and offer policy solutions to decision-makers. As its first challenge, the project will pilot removal of unnecessary hot water use in select buildings on university campuses, assessing pre- and post-pilot attitudes and leading to reductions in carbon emissions and implementation of behavior change methodologies.

GCSO participants: University of Toronto (Canada), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany), Leuphana University of Lüneburg (Germany), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKSAR/China), Dublin City University (Ireland), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico), Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico), King’s College London (UK), Arizona State University (USA)