The main principles of SPbU environmental policy include the following:
- compliance with government legislative and legal acts, as well as the requirements of international environmental standards;
- the system approach to developing educational courses, carrying out research, fulfilling current and long-term objectives of the University;
- application of the best available technologies when dealing with issues related to the work of the University as an entire organization;
- creating a comfortable and safe environment for humans that does not harm the natural environment;
- implementation of interdisciplinary and international projects aimed at studying the relationships within the “nature-society-man” system;
- recognition of the fact that any activity can potentially represent certain risks for human beings and the environment and that any decision has to be shaped by the need to prevent the possible impact of the negative factors;
- public availability and transparency of the information related to the activities of the University in the field of ecology and sustainable development;
- continuous analysis of all implemented decisions, with the aim of improving and increasing the effectiveness of the decisions made;
- full use of the University’s scientific potential when implementing tasks focusing on social and environmental issues.
Separate waste collection
In February 2015, the University prepared and adopted the Programme for Implementation at SPbU of the Separate Waste Collection System, which provided for a comprehensive strategy of dealing with waste disposal on the territory of SPbU. In accordance with this Programme, the conditions for accumulation of municipal solid waste have been readjusted (waste collection schedules, the capacity of the installed containers, the fill rate of the containers); recycling collection has been carried out at the University’s teaching grounds (mostly waste paper collection) and at the student halls of residence (the so-called Ecopoints, or special collection points, on Botanicheskaya and Korablestroiteley Streets); an incentive system has been introduced for the employees of the chief engineer’s office (area supervisors and superintendents) aimed at involving them in the energy-saving programme; students, employees and members of the academic staff have been informed about the possibility of separate waste collection.
At such university grounds as the campuses on Universitetskaya Embankment and in the Petrodvorets District, as well as the Smolny campus, waste paper collection has become routine. Many users have a special bin in their rooms and offices, where they put waste paper, newspapers, or cartons, and the collected paper waste is sent for recycling at predetermined intervals (for example, once in two weeks at the Main Building, once in a month in the Petrodvorets District). Thus, waste paper collection at the University now represents not a one-off exercise but a familiar, routine, comprehensive solution.
In 2016, to increase the overall share of recyclables recovered from municipal solid waste to 10 %; to reduce the total amount of collected waste by 5 % as compared to 2015.
Developing responsible eating practices which are healthy and environmentally friendly:
- introducing vegetarian options to the University canteens and cafeterias;
- avoiding the use of plastic packaging and disposable utensils.
- Reducing the carbon footprint of the University through planting of greenery in the University areas;
- Preserving biodiversity;
- Reducing the noise and light pollution from the University
The educational process at SPbU involves practical training at special stations for practical studies, including such fields as geoecology, ecology and nature management. At these stations, students receive training and put their knowledge into practice, carrying out research on many environmental issues. This research covers such topics as biodiversity and environmental protection, specially protected natural areas, Arctic ecosystems, geo-ecological monitoring and sustainable nature management.
Implementing green procurement, i.e. purchasing eco-labelled products and materials that are safe for human health and the environment
The University plans to develop the system of green procurement, to define the necessary requirements for purchases to be made within competitive tender procedures, as well as conducting the first purchase in accordance with the new system.
Implementing principles of resource conservation:
- reduction in water consumption;
- use of water-efficient processes (water reuse, rainwater harvesting, etc.).
Implementing principles of resource conservation, improving energy conservation and energy efficiency (use of energy-efficient appliances and instruments, introduction of alternative energy sources)
The University has started the process of gradual transition to LED-based lighting. By reducing the number of mercury-containing lamps, the University will be able to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases and mercury compounds and, thus, will contribute to the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
Using technologies and materials compliant with environmental standards when undertaking renovations, reconstruction or construction of new buildings
Sustainable building technologies were used during the construction of the new Mikhailovskaya Dacha campus in Peterhof. The design of its new buildings was based on the principle of maximum use of natural lighting; LED lamps and high-performance energy-efficient equipment were installed.
During the renovation and reconstruction of the Mikhailovskaya Dacha palace grounds, modern construction and design technologies were used. The ecological architecture of the new buildings maintains the necessary conceptual distance from the historical constructions and, due to a number of special techniques (slanted walls, wood and glass external finish), easily integrates into the natural landscape.
Education and research
Currently, the training of bachelor, master and doctoral students of ecology at the University is carried out in the following fields. The following bachelor programmes are provided: Biodiversity and Nature Protection (profile: biodiversity), Ecology and Nature Managements (profiles: geoecology, nature management, ecological safety, environmental management), Ecology and Subsurface Management (profile: ecological geology). SPbU also offers the following master programmes: Biodiversity and Nature Protection (profiles: protection of water ecosystems, protection of land ecosystems), Geoecological Monitoring and Rational Use of Natural Resources (profiles: geoecological monitoring, nature management), Geoecology and Environmental Safety (profiles: geoecology, environmental safety), Environmental Management (profiles: environmental management, sustainable development), as well as the international master programmes POMOR and CORELIS. The University also has the Environmental Safety Observatory Resource Centre, comprising the Lidar Complex, the Bioelectronic Complex, the Chemical-Analytical Complex, and the Environmental and Mathematics Complex. The SPbU Research Park includes two more resource centres working in the field of ecology and sustainable nature management: the Centre for Geo-Environmental Research and Modelling (GEOMODEL) and the Centre for Space and Geoinformation Technologies. Besides, the course on Ecology and Sustainable Nature Management is included as a compulsory subject in programmes that are not connected with ecology as a major field of study.
SPbU is one of the leading institutions of higher education in Russia; its students and staff members are known for their high standards of culture and responsibility. Members of the University show keen interest in the problems of the environment and the concept of sustainable development. This is demonstrated by the work of student ecological groups and clubs, whose participants actively promote the ideas of sustainable living through a variety of events, lectures and discussions.
For instance, the Umberto Eco Eco-Club has been working for 10 years; in 2002, the LaTEAM (Laboratory for Creative Initiatives of Young People) environmental group was established by SPbU students and graduates in the fields of biology, geology and geography. Besides, students and employees of the University regularly take part in Cleanup Saturday Events, which are timed to coincide with Municipal Cleanup Days and certain important dates or events, or which are held upon the initiative of students themselves. One of the leading fields of study in terms of ecological initiatives implementation is the field of Management. Collection and recovery of recyclable materials (PET bottles, paper, batteries, and unwanted clothes) has been setup at the University building located at 3 Volkhovsky Lane. Starting from 2015, all environmental initiatives of the University have been united at the Eco-SPbU community forum.
SPbU also supports the increased use of bicycles as means of transportation by students and employees of the University. Cycling initiatives are a way to reduce the damage to the urban ecosystem, a good way to keep fit, and a means for improving the road traffic situation in the city.
Bicycle parking facilities have been installed beside most University buildings. There are 871 bicycle parking spots altogether.