Environmental work at SOL

Last changed: 26 May 2023

SLU is environmentally certified against the international standard ISO 14001 and since 2018 also registered according to EMAS. The department has a representative in the university environmental organisation, but we do also have our own SOL Transition Group that develops and evaluates policies and guidelines.

More on the certificate


All documents och routines are found at the SLU website for environmental work »


Organisation for follow-up of procedures and environmental aspects at Urban and Rural Development

As a support for the work of following up the systematical environmental work,  within the frames of the environmental certificate, Urban and Rural Development has established the following organisation:

Over-all responsibility: Head of department, Lars Johansson

Responsible for making sure that all procedures are registered, keeping contact with the environmental certificate organisation at SLU and communicate information: Environment representative: Lisa Matteses Åhrgren 

Responsible for the follow-up of environmental procedures in research: Head of department, Lars Johansson

Responsible for the follow-up of environmental procedures in the undergraduate education: Director of undergraduate studies, Helen Arvidsson

Responsible for the follow-up of environmental procedures in the postgraduate education: Director of the Research School, Emil Sandström / Director of postgraduate studies, Ann Grubbström

Responsible for the follow-up of environmental procedures in external collaboration: Chairman of the External Collaboration group, Thomas Norrby

Responsible for the follow-up of environmental procedures for business travel: Egencia + Deparment's Project Controller Petra Fabel

Responsible for the follow-up of environmental procedures  for procurement: Environmental representative: Lisa Matteses Åhrgren 

Responsible for information on the intranet: Communication Officer, Anni Hoffrén

About the SOL Transition Group

Transition work at SOL ‑ creating a more sustainable university

At SOL, there are many co-workers who engage with climate change and environmental issues and work towards a transition to a more sustainable future. Many also have a wish to increase the engagement with these issues at SLU level and take our own initiatives to contribute to the transition towards a more sustainable development. As a result of this, SOL started an environmental group in 2019, which today is called the transition group, as we want to take a broader approach to sustainability.

The aim of the transition group is to discuss and suggest different types of actions and initiatives at the individual level at work, at the management level at SOL, and also more generally at the entire SLU. Convener of the transition group is the environmental representative at SOL, Lisa Åhrgren.

Examples of actions that we already have discussed and decided on:

    A travel policy that encourages train travel instead of flights where possible. It includes that the prefect level pays for all business trips by train outside of Scandinavia to inspire and encourage people to try longer train trips.
    SOL has also decided on guidelines for food catering which reflect our ambition that food ordered and paid by SOL should be sound, of high quality and sustainably produced with low impact on both climate and environment as well as with care for animals in dairy, meet, egg and fish production. The meals that are ordered on a day-to-day basis (for example lunches) should preferably be vegetarian.
    The department also encourages all staff who apply for research grants, or in other ways are planning for research projects, to integrate environment and climate aspects in their projects. In which ways could research projects be more climate friendly and still keep the quality and development opportunities that, for example, conferences contribute with?
    In order to reduce emissions and waste from electronics, the institution has added clarifications to SOL's IT guidelines that computers, mobile phones and other equipment must last at least four years. In case of damage, the possibility of repairing the product must first be investigated before purchasing a new one. People who have short-term employment are offered a used computer and mobile phone.
    SOL also introduced an annual prize for the “environmental role model of the year” at the department. It is given to someone who has inspired others to take environmental responsibility. The transition group is responsible for the nomination process of the prize.



Image above: The environmental challenge prize and the previous winners Helena Nordström Källström (2018), Daniel Valentini (2019), Karin Gerhardt and Torbjörn Ebenhard (2020), Flora Hajdu (2021), Mari Kågström (2022) and Anders Arnell (2023).

Other issues that are being discussed are how we could reduce food waste, how to facilitate more people to bike/commute by public transport to work, and to increase integration of climate and transition issues in research and education.

Everyone at SOL is welcome to join the transition group! Do you want to know more or join – please contact Environmental Representative Lisa Åhrgren, send an e-mail to: lisa.ahrgren@slu.se 



SOL Travel Policy


  • Consider alternatives to making a journey
  • Choose train or boat travel over air travel where it is possible.
  • Choose the train (or boat) instead of flying when traveling within the Nordic countries (excluding Iceland – i.e. Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland), unless special circumstances apply.
  • Those who fly within the Nordic countries (excl. Iceland) should fill in a form »
    (here is an example of an aldready filled in form)
  • The prefect level will cover all trips by rail/boat/bus outside the Nordic countries in 2019.
  • When booking flights consider if the environmental impact of the trip can be reduced.

Additional instructions to the travel policy

  • All co-workers are encouraged to first of all consider if a trip really is necessary or if it can be replaced by e.g. a video meeting or a presentation at a local seminar.
  • It is entirely in order to choose 1st class for longer journeys, on night trains this means your own compartment so that you can sleep well and in the daytime a (hopefully) more undisturbed and comfortable workplace (this requires that you also work during the train journey during working hours).
  • The price difference between flights and alternative modes of transport within the Nordic countries is not so great that we think it is motivated that people would have to choose flying. Rather, we stress that we expect you to choose other transport in this region.
  • Co-workers who choose flights within the Nordic countries (excl. Iceland) will need to fill in a form (download the template here) where they are required to state what the travel option would have been by the best possible alternative means of transport, and describe what might have allowed them to choose that instead of flying. The form should be sent to our Environmental representative. The motive to be able to investigate what obstacles people experience towards choosing train/boat/bus, so that we can better direct our efforts to support such travel. The co-worker does not need to state their name on the form. For an example of a filled-in form, see here.
  • The prefect level will cover all trips by rail,boat or bus outside the Nordic countries in 2019 in order to inspire and encourage people to try longer train journeys. The price level for such trips will have to be discussed on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the prefects if you want to travel by train within Europe, preferably stating purpose, route and costs.
  • When booking flights, all co-workers are encouraged to consider if the environmental impact of the trip can be reduced, for example through only flying one-way and returning by train/boat/bus, through choosing straighter routes and avoiding stopovers and internal flights. Price and comfort needs to be weighed against environmental impact.
  • A request from the management is that those who get money for a journey help inspire others by sharing what it was, e.g. via pictures /posts in our facebook group or by writing a small blog post to our intranet. Everyone who chooses more environmentally friendly travelling options are encouraged to share advice and inspiration.

» The prefekt resolution behind the travel policy can be read here

Help with booking train tickets abroad

Thank you for choosing to travel by train abroad and thus help SOL to achieve the environmental goals faster! This short guide has been produced by the environmental group to make it a little easier to book train tickets. Our goal is that we should make it as easy as possible for employees to choose the most environmentally friendly alternative.

  1. Make sure to allow enough time for booking train trips abroad! Stureplan and other agencies may need to send physical tickets through the mail as all countries do not have electronic tickets yet.
  2. Contact Stureplans travel agency via mail / phone and explain how and where you want to travel. They help you as far as they can and has also an agreement with another travel agency that is experts on train travels.
  3. Submit both itinerary and receipts for the trip with your travel claim after the trip. The itinerary is used to confirm per diems. Remember to print out receipts that you received online. Most apps for train/bustickets have a function where you can choose to have a receipt sent to your email address. You can also print out a proof of a payment from your internet bank if no other receipts exist.

Good luck with your train journey and tell us in our facebook group about it!

Apply for a travel advance or credit card:


Tips for suitable travel agencies and sites:

Alingsås travel agency: www.alingsas-resebutik.se  (can take 2-3 weeks when they are busy)

Online agency Tågbokningen.se, www.tagbokningen.se

Own online booking in different countries:

Denmark: www.dsb.dk

Train in Norway: www.vy.no

Train in Germany: www.bahn.de/

The Railplanner app can help with planning: www.eurail.com/en/plan-your-trip/rail-planner-app

Guidelines for ordering food when SOL is paying

The goal of these guidelines is that the food ordered and paid for by SOL should be healthy, of high quality and be sustainably produced, with low environmental and climate impact, and with high level of care for the animals in milk, meat, egg and fish production. These values ​​are more important than that the food is as cheap as possible.

  • Please order vegetarian food for everyday use (e.g. for lunches, coffees, etc.).
  • On special occasions (e.g. annual retreats, the Christmas party) there may be a meat / fish option. If there is no meat / fish that meets the goals above then this need not be offered.
  • Strive to give those who eat the food as much information as possible about the origin of the food, especially with regard to meat and fish, but also for vegetables, eggs and milk. This should be done within the limits of what is possible and reasonable in view of the time it takes for the employees who order food.
  • When meat / fish is an alternative, the vegetarian food should be treated as equal to the meat / fish option. This means that the alternatives should be presented in equal detail and that no alternative should be pre-selected or appear as more ‘normal’. We also want to encourage our suppliers to have the same level of ambition on taste, nutritional composition and presentation of all the food alternatives.

Security procedures before and during travel abroad

This document describes SOL´s routines in connection with travel abroad, as well as a number of tips and advice on what to consider in order to safeguard their safety when traveling. The advice applies of course to different extent depending on where and when you travel, but the procedures should be followed. They are for your security and because we at SOL will be able to follow up our staff who are on business trips if something unexpected happens. The first thing you should do before booking a trip is to spend some time doing a safety assessment of the place you are going to visit. Always start by checking out the place you are going to go to, with whom you will go and how the security situation looks at that place and in the country as a whole. Of course, how to behave in different places depends on context. But give yourself time to do some research on the place you are going to visit before you book a ticket / accommodation, etc., and remember that you always have the right to say that you do not want to travel to a place that you consider to be unsafe! You can even change your mind at the last minute.

SOL's routines in connection with travels

  • Make an assessment of the security situation in the place you are going to visit.
  • Get contact person in place if possible.
  • Make a travel description and share it with your nearest manager.
    See this example that you can use for your own travel »
    Also forward booking confirmation for trains or airline tickets.
  • Keep in contact your nearest manager at SLU and update if your plans change.

Checklist - advice for travel

Check this out before booking a trip

  • Assessing the security situation - where are you going, when, with whom?If necessary, check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' travel recommendations / advice
  • Are vaccinations needed?
  • Need a visa?
  • Insurance card from the Chamber College (contact Ann Djurberg)
  • Take a copy of your passport and take it with you on the trip.
  • If necessary, register your trip on the UD's Swedish list. https://www.swedenabroad.se/svensklistan

Prepare your arrival

  • If possible, avoid arriving late in the evening. Especially if the place is unfamiliar.
  • Make sure that impmiant things (keys, computer, contact list)+ a change of clothes are in the hand luggage and not in checked baggage.
  • Plan for your transportation to and from the accommodation from the train / airpmi.
  • Make sure you have cash in the local currency or check that you can withdraw / exchange money on arrival / pay by card.
  • Make sure you have a contact person at home and / or in the country that you can communicate with that you have landed / checked in etc.

Accommodation Safety

  • Book accommodation based on security aspects being met.
  • Evacuation routes - check placement.
  • Fire protection - check that there are fire alarms and location of extinguishers, etc.
  • Remember that you can change accommodation if it feels insecure!

Car journeys

  • Make sure there are safety belts that work.
  • Make sure the driver knows the way.
  • Report arrival time to t e person you are going to meet.
  • Select taxi based on recommendation.
  • Do not ride a taxi with more than one driver.


Lisa Matteses Åhrgren. Photo.

Lisa Matteses Åhrgren, Project Leader, Division of Environmental Integration, SLU, Sida's Helpdesk for Environment and Climate Changes, Environmental Representative, +4618672779

Send an e-mail to: lisa.ahrgren@slu.se