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  • Germany's largest university again certified as climate-neutral by TÜV SÜD
  • IU's goal: more educational equity with fewer CO2 emissions
  • IU publishes all measures and initiatives in an ESG report for the first time

Erfurt, 26 January 2023. As Germany's largest university with over 100,000 students and more than 3,000 employees, IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU) is committed not only to teaching sustainability in an interdisciplinary way in all faculties, but also to making a very concrete contribution: for the environment, for its students and employees, for society as well as in its corporate management.

For Dr. Sven Schütt, CEO of IU International University of Applied Sciences, IU's social responsibility is of central importance: "Our vision is to provide access to education for as many people as possible. To achieve this, we are sustainably reducing access barriers and creating more educational equity for people worldwide. Although our student numbers have risen continuously in recent years, we have been able to further reduce our emissions per student. Nevertheless, we remain committed to both carefully managing and further reducing our ecological footprint and continuously increasing our contribution to society. As Germany's largest university, we want to set a good example."

TÜV SÜD certified: IU is climate neutral 

In 2020, IU became one of the world's first climate-neutral distance learning universities. TÜV SÜD now reconfirms the climate neutrality of IU International University of Applied Sciences. The certification is for the third year in a row. The conditions for certification include an inventory of actual and expected emissions, proof of ambitious measures to gradually reduce avoidable greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the promotion of recognised climate protection projects to offset unavoidable emissions.

Despite rapidly growing student numbers, IU reduced its total direct and indirect emissions in 2021 by 31 percent compared to the previous year. In addition, the university was able to reduce its specific GHG emissions per student by 24 percent. The carbon footprint was calculated by the Institute for Energy, Ecology and Economics (DFGE) based on the international Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

The majority of students at IU learn in a distance learning model thanks to innovative digital learning formats. This can significantly reduce CO2 emissions that would be caused by commuting, for example. Teaching a distance learning student at IU generates seven times less greenhouse gases than teaching a regular campus student.

Moreover, energy officers are deployed at all IU locations in Germany, which are currently more than 30. They check the individual circumstances as well as the consumption on site and establish resource-saving measures. In addition, IU offsets its carbon footprint in cooperation with ClimatePartner Deutschland GmbH by supporting certified climate projects. These include the expansion of wind energy in Brazil, the generation of hydropower in Laos and access to clean water in Mozambique. 

Creating sustainability through education - for all 

Apart from reducing CO2, IU places particular emphasis on education when it comes to sustainability. Education enables people to develop and live sustainably. In addition to individual learning modules, IU offers entire degree programmes such as Sustainable Management, which equip today's students with knowledge and methods for a viable future. 

To provide access to education for more and more people worldwide, IU initiates important alliances. The Study Access Alliance, for example, provides 100,000 scholarships in Africa. As a member of the UNESCO Global Education Coalition, students in need in crisis situations receive crucial educational support at IU. Numerous scholarship models (e.g., for people from poorer countries, single parents and people with disabilities), fair admission requirements and inclusion-friendly study formats open up individual further education opportunities for additional target groups - and thus the basis for a self-determined, sustainable life. 

Further information on sustainability at IU International University of Applied Sciences can be found both in IU's first official ESG report (download here) and at the following link: 

More information on IU's certified climate projects can be found here at this link

More information on the TÜV SÜD certificate can be found here under this link. 



With over 100,000 students, IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU) is the largest university in Germany. The private, state-approved educational institution with its main campus in Erfurt brings together more than 200 bachelor's and master's programmes under one roof, which are offered in German or English. Students can choose between dual studies, distance learning and myStudies, which combines online and face-to-face events, and design their studies independently with the help of a digitally supported learning environment. In addition, IU enables further training and promotes the idea of lifelong learning. The aim of the university is to give as many people as possible worldwide access to personalised education. IU started operations in 2000 and is now represented in more than 30 German cities. It cooperates with over 15,000 companies and actively supports them in the development of their employees. The partners include Motel One, VW Financial Services and Deutsche Bahn. Further information at: