Maastricht is situated in the south-eastern corner of the Netherlands, spanning both banks of the river Maas. Thanks to its geographical location, strategically positioned just a few minutes from both Belgium and Germany, the city is a central point in Western Europe. Maastricht has a rich history which is reflected in the old city centre with its many Romanstyle buildings and squares, giving the city a sense of charm and tradition.
Maastricht aims to be carbon-neutral by 2030. In order to achieve this ambition, Maastricht has set the goal to achieve carbon balance in its governing bodies and organisations by 2015. The city aims to bring its contribution to climate change to a halt while maintaining an affordable and reliable energy supply. To meet this challenge, the city council initiated a dialogue between various target groups. Representatives of education and knowledge institutes, citizens, SMEs, the builders’ alliance of Maastricht, local industry and local governing bodies joined forces to look for possible collaborations and solutions to reduce CO2 emissions.
Platform Cool Maastricht
The dialogue between the various target groups resulted in the establishment of Platform Cool Maastricht. This alliance takes on the challenge of reducing CO2 emissions in Maastricht by 20% in 2020, promoting energy efficiency and facilitating the development of sustainable alternatives to traditional energy sources. The parties involved in Cool Maastricht have pledged to make an effort in their own organisation to cut CO2 emissions, stimulate sustainability and create awareness among fellow organisations.
One of the contributing parties to the platform is Maastricht University. The mission of this renowned academic institution is to protect and enhance the environment through its teaching, research, services and administrative operations. Environmental principles and environmentally responsible practices are fundamental and integrated components in all of the operations and programmes of Maastricht University. It clearly demonstrates their commitment to both sustainability as well as the creation of awareness for the issue.
Knowledge and awareness
In 1998, the International Centre for Integrated assessment & Sustainable development (ICIS) was founded at Maastricht University. ICIS now has a staff of about 22 people and addresses complex issues facing the planet and its inhabitants. ICIS has become a scientific centre of excellence for the integrated assessment of sustainable development. At ICIS, researchers of various nationalities conduct theoretical and empirical research, often related to relevant policy. This scientific research programme forms an excellent basis for the programmes and courses on sustainable development that ICIS offers on the bachelor, master and PhD level. With the commitment of organizations such as the university to Platform Cool Maastricht, the city is on the right track for a sustainable future.