23 de December, 2020

Total commitment to sustainable development and its positive impact on society

Preparing exemplary and well-rounded professionals, as well as conscious citizens that take responsibility for their impacts, are the greatest commitments of this Faculty, part of the Casa de Bello. This is ratified by its status as the only Sustainable Campus in the Metropolitan Region and the 2019/2020 distinction of the Huella Chile Program as one of the three institutions at a national level that achieved the seal of quantification of Greenhouse Gases (GHG).


Since 2012, the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEN) of Universidad de Chile has been strongly incorporating sustainability to the development of its institutional strategy, a milestone that allowed it in 2017 to be certified as a Sustainable Campus through the voluntary signing of the Clean Production Agreement (Acuerdo de Producción Limpia). This agreement required 100% compliance with more than 60 goals in the areas of training, research, engagement with the environment and management, within which it incorporated the annual quantification of greenhouse gas emissions.


That was the opportunity that the Faculty took to be able to make progress in the incorporation of good practices in sustainable campus management and in accordance with national and global climate emergencies. The GHG quantification certification for 2016, 2017 and 2018, by the Huella Chile Program (HCh), not only validated the process and emission sources of FEN U de Chile’s corporate footprint, but was also the stimulus for the institution’s development planning to grant reliable risk and opportunity analysis in order to move towards mitigation and soon become carbon neutral.


It was that long traveled path that has brought FEN to be highlighted in the Recognition Event 2019/2020 of the Huella Chile Program. “This distinction recognizes the dedication, commitment and deep work that all of us who make up the Faculty have had to undertake to carry out a true project of sustainable development. The political decision to make the change is not enough, it must be implemented, and for that the decisive action of those who are part of FEN is needed. In fact, we have an impact indicator verified and certified by the Program, which has been the first step in implementing the mitigation processes that will help us reach carbon neutrality”, says Dean José De Gregorio of the Faculty of Economics and Business of Universidad de Chile.


Currently, FEN is the only faculty of Universidad de Chile and the Metropolitan Region that is certified as a Sustainable Campus. This has been possible thanks to a cultural and systemic change that has committed the areas of training, research, management and environmental outreach, and one which has involved the entire educational community: students, academic faculty members and officials. Consistent with this policy, within the commitments taken on by the Faculty, is the annual quantification of GHG emissions, an alliance with the HCh Program that will remain as permanent, to continue responding and updating public policy processes and goals and contribute to international agreements that have been signed at the national level. Within this framework, continuing to be a Sustainable Campus has allowed FEN to create alliances to assure moving forward with permanent education for the entire community, both internally and externally.


“The initial analysis that was developed, when quantifying the GHG emission for the first time, gave us the drive to progress in the gradual but permanent integration of good practices in waste management, efficient use of water and energy, sustainable mobilization, incorporation of sustainability criteria in purchases and tenders, among many other actions that have a direct impact on all our stakeholders”, points out Francisca Sandoval, director of the Sustainable Campus FEN U. de Chile.


Likewise, this academic unit -part of the Casa de Bello- has incorporated environmental outreach programs that have allowed work with MyPES (micro and small businesses), faculty members, students and faculty officials, through the "Sustainable Seal for micro and small businesses" , which seeks to recognize in these companies a change in their business model, seeking a purpose-driven, positive social, environmental and economic impact. Francisca Sandoval concludes: “This seal has more than 30 good practices, among which are the quantification of GHGs and the incorporation of the HCh Program, which has meant strengthening even more ties with this Program and with the social responsibility that the Faculty has with the change that this socio-environmental crisis requires”.

Educate for sustainability


FEN U. de Chile’s sustainable standpoint is certainly also reflected in the curricular innovations of the academic programs that it imparts, betting, according to its leading condition in its field, towards continuous improvement and innovation in teaching and learning methodologies. "We are convinced that a comprehensive training of our students, which incorporates content that is linked to sustainability or being aware of their impact or contribution as a student and / or employee, will allow them to contribute in a solid and permanent way," says Dean José De Gregorio, concluding: “Our students are becoming the main characters of their education, faculty academics and officials are the facilitators of this process. Likewise, we have had to make some curricular interventions to ensure that our students, prior to graduation, develop attributes and competencies that will contribute to a sustainable society, such as social responsibility, professional rigor, teamwork, critical thinking, effective communication, among others”.