Sustainability, as defined by the United Nations is development which takes care of current needs, without jeopardizing the needs of future generations. Its three-pillar conception (economy, social and environment), represented by three intersecting circles with overall sustainability at the center is an integral concept towards Sustainable Development (SD). SD is viewed as niche area of development and an integral element of policy development towards the utilization of natural resources, integration of environmental and development, right to development and opportunity for equity. USM-APEX blueprint, Transforming Higher Education for a Sustainable Tomorrow, calls for a systemic institutional adoption of the principles and practices of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). As put forward by The World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (2009), ESD is an approach to teaching and learning based on the ideals and principles that underlie sustainability. As an effort to create a world-class institution in championing sustainability through excellent education, research, and engagement, USM is committed in transforming the university into a sustainability led institution. Five universal principles as outlined in our Sustainability Roadmap are:
(i) Living within our environmental means,
(ii) Ensuring a progressive, equitable and healthy society,
(iii) Achieving a sustainable economy,
(iv) Enhancing sound science-policy interactions, and
(v) Promoting good governance.
The key attributes of a sustainability-led university are:
- Sustainability vision elaborated through a mission or policy statement.
- A whole-institution approach in framing sustainability action plan.
- The integration of sustainability in all aspects of university’s operations and institutions.
- Embedding sustainability in the formal and informal learning through creative and practical engagement.
- Culture of sustainability for improvement and enhancement of societal wellbeing.