Sustainability is so much more than just a buzzword or marketing strategy at IE University. Instead, we place it firmly at the core of our values. We think hard about the role that our community can play in building a more sustainable future, and we have a stated ambition of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
It’s an ongoing effort that touches on every aspect of life at IE University. Our 10 Year Challenge is our sustainability framework, carrying a different focus each year until the goal is achieved. The focus in 2020, for example, was sustainable consumption, with the use of water, paper, single-use plastics and packaging, energy and transport, and our waste management standards being highlighted across the community.
We have also joined forces with the UN to foster innovation for sustainable development, leveraging innovative technological solutions in pursuit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. And our Sustainability Office combines with our Research Office to provide Sustainability Impact Research Awards, reflecting the importance of research in pursuit of sustainability goals.
The stunning IE Tower, the latest addition to both the IE University campus and the Madrid skyline, perfectly demonstrates sustainability’s place at the heart of IE University’s values. According to Global Head of Sustainability, Isabela del Alcázar Benjumea, behavioral change is critical in tackling environmental, economic and social issues within a sustainability agenda.
“Biodiversity loss, inequality and pollution are everywhere in our lives. This has created habituation in people, and we are desensitizing. Part of IE University’s role is to bring down these concepts, so that everyone understands their role, and how they can make a change,” she explained.
The 180-meter tall IE Tower is a bastion of sustainable architecture that embodies IE University’s own role in promoting sustainability. The hugely innovative, vertical learning space has been specifically designed to foster sustainable behaviors within the IE Community. Over 50,000 square meters of dynamic, multi-use space, IE Tower plays its part in fulfilling our commitment to sustainability. A commitment that we consider to fall in three broad categories:
- Social. Social sustainability initiatives take place across all IE University campus spaces, and the IE Tower is no exception. From pro-bono Legal Clinics to the Social Impact Lab, our community looks out for each other and the wider community.
- Economic. A sustainable economy is fundamental to the betterment of society as a whole, and our community is active in key local projects like Madrid Nuevo Norte, the largest urban regeneration project in Europe, in the north of Spain’s capital.
- Environmental. So much more than just net-zero emissions, our environmental commitment demands that we continue the fight. We are focusing on Community Building in 2021, having implemented policies in Segovia and Madrid to reduce our environmental impact.
Sustainability hasn’t been built into IE Tower as an add-on, or after-thought; it was a key element of the brief from the very start of the project. Architect Fernando Serrano-Súñer de Hoyos explained that every element of the building was developed with the same consideration in mind: “From its geometry, its orientation, the construction materials, its thermally efficient facade, to its air quality—sustainability has been a key part of this project since the initial decision on where we were going to place our campus,” he confirmed.
Fernando asserts that IE University actively encouraged fearless decision-making throughout the process. “At the end of the day, it’s in IE University’s DNA to be an innovative institution,” he concludes.
At the IE Tower, just as it is across IE University as a whole, innovation has become synonymous with bravery. To build a sustainable future across the globe, our community and society in general are going to need to continue demonstrating an abundance of both.