Systemic sustainability: About us

The enhancement of systemic sustainability is one of the strategic priorities of Stellenbosch University. It is parallel to the broadening of access, maintaining the momentum of excellence, promoting social impact, expanding internationalisation, and promoting systemic transformation.

On 29 November 2010, the council of Stellenbosch University committed the university to sustainability by approving the Policy for the Integrated Management of Sustainability. (Download the policy here.)

Sustainability is the ability to meet current basic needs, and to improve and develop quality of life without an increase in the use of materials and energy that exceed the capacity of existing support systems. Support systems can also be renewed in such a way that the ability of future generations to provide for their basic needs and to enhance and develop their quality of life is not impaired. 1A balance therefore exists – spanning more than one generation – between nature (ecology), people (community or social networks) and the economy.

As far as nature is concerned, the university is aware that we need to be sensitive to the ecological footprint left on the environment by our activities (for example research) and facilities (for example buildings, experimental farms and gardens).

However, sustainability also means that the impact of activities on people, society and the economy must be taken into account. It aligns with the essence of a university, because our core functions of learning and teaching, research and social impact are focused on people. At the same time, financial resources must be managed in a responsible and sustainable manner otherwise the university cannot continue to exist. Sustainability therefore forms an integral part of the essence of a university


1 Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future, Transmitted to the General Assembly as an Annex to document A/42/427 - Development and International Co-operation: Environment  (