Holcim España, Spain: Helping shape the sustainability leaders of tomorrow.

Holcim España, Spain: Helping shape the sustainability leaders of tomorrow

Since 2003 Holcim España leads the Chair in Sustainable Development at the University of Seville's School of Engineers, which expanded in 2007 to include the School of Architects. Holcim España develops the curriculum, invites specialized professors and speakers, funds various scholarships and organizes field visits to company sites.

There is a great need to invest in the leaders of tomorrow to ensure the sustainability not only of business, but of society as a whole. The goal of this involvement is hence to spark the interest of university level engineering and architecture students in sustainability issues. To this end the Chair promotes interdisciplinary studies that enable to investigate the different contexts, challenges, benefits and perspectives of sustainable development. The goal is to train future leaders to "think sustainable".

About 900 engineering and architecture students are now graduates of the Holcim Chair, which lectures complement the basic curriculum by integrating sustainability concepts. Topics include sustainable use of resources, waste recycling, climate change, sustainable construction, engagement with stakeholders, mining in the construction industry, corporate social responsibility, occupational health and safety, etc. These topics are presented from various angles, taking into account, for instance, the best available technologies, the national allocation plan for emissions rights, and sustainability reports.

Further, the Chair relies on a wide range of experts to give lectures, from management, public administration, NGOs, and media. All course materials are published online for use by the school and Holcim España. At the end of the academic year, the Chair grants a prize to the final project that best combines the merits of innovation and environmental benefits.

The achievements of the Holcim Chair in Sustainable Development have gained broad recognition. In November 2006 Holcim España was awarded the "Education and Environmental Communication" prize by the business newspaper Expansion and the law firm Garrigues.

Following an evaluation process in March 2008 involving key internal and external stakeholders, the Holcim Chair was found to be an effective way to promote sustainable development and enhance the education of professionals who will have a hand in shaping a sustainable world.