Going Greener: Our Sustainability Journey

Sustainable development, and particularly the climate crisis, is the key global challenge of the 21st century.

We are part of a sector that evolves around travel and thereby generates substantial carbon emissions. This fact makes it particularly critical to be intentional about our sustainability efforts, focusing on the capabilities of DIS as a Scandinavia-based, non-profit study abroad organization, to make the most meaningful impact we can.

A Strong Scandinavian Foothold

Sustainable development, and particularly the climate crisis, is the key global challenge of the 21st century. Tackling the crisis requires acknowledgement of the global equity and fairness dimensions of climate change and fundamentally rethinking energy infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, industrial production – and consumption. The Nordic region has consistently ranked high on sustainability achievements globally, making it a unique place to learn about transformations for sustainability (see for example the Sustainable Development Report 2022).

Working Towards a More Sustainable Future

Our ambition for a more sustainable future is threefold:

Reducing our Carbon Footprint: 2025 Reduction Target

The vast majority of emissions caused by DIS activities stem from study tours and staff travel. We have set a target to reduce emissions from study tours by 10% in 2025 by using less carbon emitting transport when possible, and are committed to compensate for the emissions caused by study tours and staff travel through impactful climate investments starting 2025.

Enhancing our Carbon Handprint: Preparing Students for a Carbon-Constrained World

Our biggest opportunity to positively impact the climate and environment is through the minds and actions of our students.

DIS offers students a strong curriculum on climate, environment, and related topics, and a unique opportunity to experience sustainable infrastructure and lifestyles in Scandinavia. We also want to support students in making sustainable choices outside the classroom, like using a bike for their local commute, embracing a green lifestyle in DIS housing, and finding alternatives to flying for independent travel.

>> Sustainable Lifestyle in Scandinavia

Collaborating with Peers: Accelerate the Field’s Response to the Climate Crisis

In collaboration with peers, DIS was part of the work group to develop guidelines for Advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals through Education Abroad. DIS has also joined the Climate Action Network for International Educators – CANIE, in recognition of the need to strengthen and accelerate the response of our sector to the climate crisis.

Executive Director of DIS, Malene Torp talks about the sustainability pillars of DIS with faculty member Emmanuel Gentil, who teaches courses on sustainability and renewable energy systems.

Creating a Carbon Literate Institution

Carbon Literacy is the knowledge and capacity required to create a positive shift in how we live, work, and behave in response to climate change. All DIS staff participate in a one day Carbon Literacy Training, to gain the inspiration and dedicated time to identify actions that contribute to our goal of being carbon neutral and to strengthen students’ awareness and skillset for more sustainable lifestyles.

>> Carbon Literacy Training at DIS 

Courses Focusing on Climate and Sustainability

The DIS curriculum captures many different aspects of climate and sustainability. These are some of the courses we offer:

Semester Courses

Anthropology of Food

Arctic Geopolitics

Arctic Glaciology

Biological Conservation and Biodiversity + Lab

Biology of Marine Mammals + Lab

Biostatistics

Climate, Glaciers, and Human Impact + Lab

Energy Cloud: Engineering Localized, Digitized, Sustainable Networks

Engineering Sustainable Environments in Scandinavia

Environmental Economics

Environmental Impact of Humans

Environmental Philosophy

Environmental Policy in Practice

Geographic Information Systems: Applied Climate Change Cases

Getting There: Transportation in Urban Europe

Ice Cores and Ice Ages + Lab

Integrated Climate Change Planning

Polar Biology + Lab

Politics and Ethics of Food

Renewable Energy Systems

Smart and Sustainable Cities

Sustainable Business Strategy

Sustainable by Design

Sustainable Development in Northern Europe

Sustainable Food: Production and Consumption

Understanding Climate Change

Urban Ecology

Waste Management Systems in Europe

Summer Courses

Arctic Ecology

Bicycle Urbanism

Climate Change and Glaciers

European Biodiversity

Food, Taste, and Waste

Environmental Philosophy

Nordic Culinary Culture

Renewable Energy Systems

Understanding Climate Change of Arctic Ecosystems Lab

Sustainable Business Strategy

Sustainable Denmark: Solutions and Dilemmas

Sustainable Development in Northern Europe