Report Profile

The first sustainability report of RWTH Aachen University has been designed and written on behalf of the Rectorate under the leadership of the Staff Unit: Sustainability and University Governance. The contents have been developed in close coordination with the responsible administrative units, institutes and project managers.

The report summarizes the key figures and information in the various fields of action at RWTH Aachen University and outlines the status quo of sustainability activities at the moment.

Objectives and impact

The report is intended to make RWTH Aachen University's activities with regard to sustainable development visible and to be the starting point for monitoring the sustainability performance. As a central instrument, sustainability reporting enables the strategic and participatory development of a sustainability strategy and ensures transparency in this process. The goal is to develop and align RWTH more sustainably in ecological, economic and social terms, starting from the status quo.

Structure and references

The sustainability process at RWTH builds on the results of the BMBF-funded joint project "Sustainability at Universities" (HOCHN). In cooperation between the universities involved in HochN and the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), the university-specific German Sustainability Code (HS-DNK) was developed, which provides a low-threshold introduction to detailed and professionalized sustainability reporting. The intensive participation in the ongoing national sustainability dialogue between the universities, which is perceived by the staff unit, also sets new impulses for the future work at RWTH.

The structure of this first sustainability report of the RWTH is basically based on the contents of the HS-DNK. In some places, however, it deviates from this - in terms of content and sequence - in order to take into account the special features and structures of RWTH.

For example, separate chapters are devoted to the core tasks of the university - research and teaching. The cross-sectional topic of transfer is also addressed in particular in the chapters Research and Society - International Affairs - Social Affairs.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, which are also addressed as sustainable development goals in the German Sustainability Strategy of the Federal Government from the beginning of 2017, also form an extended frame of reference for the classification of activities and measures at RWTH.

A layered pie chart with three levels. These get smaller from bottom to top and are each subdivided. An arrow with tips pointing up and down runs through the middle of the. The top arrowhead points to the Sustainable Development Goal 17 Partnerships for the goals.  The lower level, titled Biosphere, is divided into four equal sections showing 4 goals: 15 Life on land, 14 Life below water, 6 Clean water & sanitation, and 13 Climate Action. ¬ The middle level Society is divided into eight equal sections. These are Goals 1 No poverty, 11 Sustainable Cities & communities, 16 Peace, justice & strong institutions, 7 Affordable & clean energy, 3 Good health & well-being, 4 Quality education, 5 Gender equality, and 2 Zero Hunger.  The upper level Economy is divided into four goals: 8 Decent work & economic growth, 9 Industry innovation & infrastructure, 10 Reduced inequalities and 12 Responsible consumption & production.
SDG Wedding-Cake-Model I Source: Azote for Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University

Reporting boundaries and organizational matters

The sustainability report makes no claim to completeness; in particular, the projects presented are merely a selection of the diverse sustainability landscape at RWTH. The projects selected here as examples are intended to give an impression of how sustainability is advanced in the various fields of action at RWTH in terms of content, methodology and social aspects.
The quantitative data cover the reporting period 2016 to 2020, qualitative data were included until summer 2021 inclusively. The operational part does not include the independent operations of the University Hospital Aachen (UKA).
In the future, the report will be updated every two years.

In some places, reference is made to existing texts and other materials. These can be accessed directly by means of a link and are indicated by blue font color and an underline. The photos, some of which were taken for this report, were always taken in compliance with the currently valid Corona protection measures.
The Sustainability Report is available in German and English.


Without the dedicated support of a wide range of stakeholders from within the university and beyond, the production of this report would not have been possible.

This sustainability report was prepared in particular with information and contributions from
Agnes Förster, Alan Hansen, Alicia Fernandez Colino, Alina Schultz, Andrea Nebel, Annette Dederichs, Annette Rieg, Ann-Kristin Winkens, Antonello Monti, Barbara Göbbels, Bastian Lehrheuer, Benjamin Daniels, Bianca Thoma, Bram Wijlands, Brigitte Küppers, Brita McClay, Carin Jansen, Carmen Leicht-Scholten, Christine Krüger, Claudia Römisch, Claus Bertram Bonerz, Corinna Mescherowsky, Dagmar Grübler, Dana Saez, Daniela Wilmes, Denis Grizmann, Dieter Janssen, Eleonor Thompson, Elke Müller, Fabian Kießling, Felix Kampel, Gero Bornefeld, Gert Vanberg, Gitta Doebert, Hans-Dieter Hötte,  Helen Bassett, Helmut Vanicek, Henriette Finsterbusch, Ina Kochendörfer, Ingrid Thiele, Jana Mathar, Jasmin Baier, Jennifer Roseboom, Jenny Roder, Johannes Lohschelder, Joost-Pieter Katoen, Jörg Dautzenberg, Joscha Wirtz, Julia Berg, Jürgen Kleinen, Karl Hammer, Katja Pustowka, Katrin Zeumann, Klaus Feuerborn, Kurt-Jürgen Schmitt, Lena Schrader, Linda Diepenbruck, Linda Wien, Luisa Königs, Lukas Lardinoix, Lutz Eckstein, Lutz Klinkenberg, Mandana Biegi, Marcel Thiel, Mareike Kempen, Marie Decker, Mario Hillebrand, Markus Leber, Martin Trautz, Martina Roß-Nickoll, Matthias Müller, Michael Klages, Michael Wirtz, Michael Zündorf, Michaela Bleuel, Michaela Graetz, Nicole Gertig, Olaf Gockel, Paul Heuermann, Ralf Pütz, Ralitsa Petrova-Stoyanov, Renate Kinny, Ricarda Mahlberg, Rolf Rossaint, Sara Wigger, Sebastian Backhaus, Sebastian Barth, Sebastian Moeller, Sebastian Münstermann, Simon Peacock, Simona Classen, Sophie Stebner, Stefan Bastian, Stefan Böschen, Stefan Jockenhövel, Stefan Pischinger, Stefan Sterlepper, Stella Schröder, Sven Wamig, Theresa Janning, Thomas Bergs, Thorsten Karbach, Ulrich Schwaneberg, Ulrike Brands, Volkmar Miklosch
and many other supporters.


RWTH Aachen University (2022). „Sustainability Report 2021".  <>.