Ethics & Sustainable Development

Climate change, resource scarcity and global injustice pose major challenges to the environment, the economy, society and health. We therefore specifically prepare our students to assume entrepreneurial responsibility for sustainability and climate protection with innovative solutions and to act ethically - because they help decide how we will live tomorrow. In our actions, we are guided by the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals of the UN of 2016). We aim to have a climate-neutral campus by 2030.

Our projects and networks

We encourage ethical behaviour and sustainable responsibility in everyday life and at work through a broad range of university-wide projects as well as in cooperation with external partners.

Learning about ethics & sustainability

Exploring sustainability

Ethics at the university

Climate neutral campus

Sustainable mobility

Shaping together

Learning about ethics & sustainability - in all study programmes

We strengthen the competences of students that is necessary for a social shift towards sustainability - with the well-being of the next generations in mind. Sustainability is included in the curriculum of all schools.

Learning about ethics & sustainability - Studierenplus-Programme

We also offer students programmes outside their curricula: In the Studierenplus programme, in the area of "Ethics and Sustainability", we impart knowledge, give impulses in view of current problems, open up spaces for critical discussion and reflection and also for practical action. The course programme focuses on ethics, sustainable development and social competence. As a result, students benefit from this in their day-to-day lives and also later in their careers.

see course overview

Certificate Ethic

Those who take part in the Ethics and Sustainability Programme can acquire the so-called Ethikum. This certificate attests to intensive engagement with the subject areas of ethics and/or sustainable development. The Ethikum certifies theoretical knowledge and practical know-how in these areas.

Exploring sustainability

Research for sustainability and climate protection - Reutlingen University develops innovative solutions and thus opens up new avenues in business, administration, society and education. Interdisciplinary cooperation and collaborations with companies as well as stakeholders from the city, politics and society expand the horizons for everyone involved. Consequently, research results are put to practical use.

We would here like to present four exemplary lighthouse projects.

The project "Klima-RT-LAB" monitors, supports and researches the transformation process of the city of Reutlingen towards climate neutrality. For this purpose, real-time experiments are conducted in five climate-relevant fields of action (1. energy supply, 2. heat supply, 3. buildings and infrastructure, 4. mobility and 5. action for climate neutrality) in research and practice tandem teams. The goal is to firmly establish the path to climate neutrality in the city's municipal administration and municipal enterprises and to explore the institutionalisation process of climate neutrality. From this, Klima-RT-LAB derives how other municipalities can succeed in achieving climate neutrality.

Project team: Prof. Dr. Sabine Löbbe, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Thomas, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Truckenmüller

go to project-website

Novel technologies and products designed for sustainability and the circular economy develop their full potential when their advantages and disadvantages with regard to economic, ecological and social aspects are taken into account during product development and evaluated in the context of specific business and sales models.

The research project CYCLOMETRIC (joint project: Model-based decision support for the proactive and life-cycle-oriented development of vehicle components (Cyclometric); sub-project: Modelling of circular production structures) aims to design, implement and test an interdisciplinary decision support system. Product developers can thus be supported in the development of lifecycle-oriented components. They already receive interactive and direct feedback and suggestions for improvement on the effects of their design decisions on economic and ecological sustainability aspects, such as modularisation or material selection, during the design process. An essential aspect of the tool development is its orientation towards practical industrial implementation.

Project team: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Anja Braun, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Vera Hummel, Prof. Dr. techn. Daniel Palm, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Ohlhausen

go to project website

Hydrogen (H2), especially in its green variant, offers considerable potential for climate protection goals - both nationwide and regional. In order for hydrogen to establish itself as a permanently and easily accessible energy carrier, demand-optimised H2 infrastructures are required: production plants, logistics and a distribution network including marketing channels. The focus of the "H2-Grid" project is therefore on the construction of decentralised hydrogen production plants - in municipalities, residential quarters, at industrial sites and in households. The plan is to build electrolysers of various sizes from which hydrogen can be produced for immediate local use.

"H2-Grid" is one of four sub-projects of the "Hy-FIVE Model Region Green Hydrogen" with partners from the Mittlere Alb-Donau region.

Project team: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thorsten Zenner, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gernot Schullerus

Website "HyFIVE"

Website "H2-Grid"

Laboratory-grown, "clean" meat offers a way to meet future nutritional needs whilst overcoming the environmental problems of conventional meat production. Laboratory meat production requires large quantities of culture medium, which is currently supplemented with animal serum and/or costly additives. In order to produce growth media in the future in a cost-efficient and resource-saving way, regional biological resources that are already available are to be used efficiently. These can be, for example, a wide variety of plant extracts or by- and waste products from rural biomass production or the food industry.

The feasibility study Sustainable Meat aims to identify and reduce cost- or energy-intensive components in the established growth media. Regional biomass is to be identified as a resource for the development of sustainable nutrient media. A detailed evaluation catalogue to assess the market potential of different solutions will be prepared.

Project team: Prof. Dr. Petra Kluger

go to project website

Principles for Responsible Management Eductation (PRME)

In response to the financial crisis, the United Nations has launched an initiative aimed at future generations of managers. To this end, the initiative has drawn up six principles for responsible education and teaching that business schools can incorporate into their curricula. Since 2012, Reutlingen University has reported on its progress every two years, participated in international conferences and shared its experiences with the global network via the PRME blog.

In 2014, Reutlingen University joined forces with other universities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to found the German-speaking DACH network. In this network, the research project "university social responsibility" (USR) on the social responsibility of universities was created.

PRME report 2022

On the way to climate neutrality

Reutlingen University aims to become greenhouse gas neutral by 2030. The project "Climate Campus RT" was launched in April 2022. The goals of the project are to develop a climate protection concept, to establish and maintain a climate protection management and to implement climate protection measures on campus.

Project title: "KSI: Creation of an integrated climate protection concept by a climate protection management for Reutlingen University (Climate Campus RT)".
Project duration: 01.04.2022 - 31.03.2024
Funding reference: 67K16726
Partners involved: Zukunft - Umwelt - Gesellschaft (ZUG) gGmbH as project management agency for the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg (Tübingen Office)

National Climate Protection Initiative:

With the National Climate Protection Initiative, the Federal Ministry has been initiating and funding numerous projects that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions since 2008. Its programmes and projects cover a broad spectrum of climate protection activities: From the development of long-term strategies to concrete assistance and investment support measures. This diversity is a guarantee for good ideas. The National Climate Initiative contributes to embedding climate protection locally. It benefits consumers as well as businesses, municipalities and educational institutions.

Further information:

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Sustainable mobility

Reutlingen University promotes the sustainable mobility of its students, lecturers and employees. It encourages all university members to cycle and equips the campus in a particularly bicycle-friendly way. It supports travel by bus and train and is considering further incentives to be mobile without a car.

With a fundraising bike ride in the winter semester 2021/22, the university financed two covered bike racks on campus. Within three weeks, students and staff cycled an impressive 16,000 kilometres! On the campaign website, the university also provides valuable tips on cycling, presents the infrastructure for cyclists on campus, recommends cycling routes in and around Reutlingen and gives advice on safe cycling.

go to project website

As of 01.01.2023, a grant from the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Transport will enable the university to further improve the general conditions for sustainable mobility. The university will further develop its infrastructure, provide incentives, accompany and promote the change process through monitoring and targeted communication. To this end, a mobility concept is to be developed as part of the project.

Project title: "MobilCampus RT
Funding amount: 122,990 €
Participating partners: Ministry of Transport Baden-Württemberg, Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg (Tübingen Office)

Shaping together

Everyone's commitment is needed when it comes to advancing sustainability and climate protection. The Sustainability and Climate Protection Office coordinates the activities at the university. We network, initiate change and shape the change process. We carry out projects and campaigns. We support student initiatives and work with stakeholders in politics, the municipality and region, and other universities.

The Sustainability Board, a supervisory committee with representatives of the Executive Board, the schools, the administration, the staff council and the students, supports us in this process. Other partners on campus, the Protestant University of Applied Sciences Ludwigsburg, the Knowledge Foundation Reutlingen University (KFRU) and the Studierendenwerk Tübingen-Hohenheim, are also represented on the board. The board serves to form opinions, network and coordinate.

In the Energy and Climate Protection Group, all interested university members are committed to climate protection and the efficient and sustainable use of energy and natural resources. The members of the group support, advise and accompany the university's climate protection management. The Executive Board, the schools, the facility management, the university administration, the student initiative Oikos, the Landesbetrieb Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg and the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg are all represented in the group.

Oikos is an international student organisation that deals with sustainability in business, research and society:

Oikos Reutlingen

Sustainability award for final theses

Since 2024, Reutlingen University has awarded an annual sustainability prize for outstanding theses. The prize is intended to incentivise students to engage with sustainability issues and develop innovative solutions for corporate responsibility with regard to sustainability and climate protection. The university aims to support ethical and sustainable behaviour.

Theses from all faculties can be submitted. Prizes are awarded to the best and second-best Bachelor's and Master's theses from the previous two semesters. The prize money is sponsored by the German Society for Operational Risk Management.

Legal recourse is excluded.

To the overview

Sustainability and Diversity Teaching Award

Sustainability and diversity are important cross-sectional tasks at our university. In our courses, we impart the necessary specialised knowledge as well as interdisciplinary competences. We would like to honour the commitment of the professors and at the same time provide an incentive to deal with these topics and make innovative approaches visible.

Sustainability & Diversity Teaching Award

Reutlingen University will award the Sustainability and Diversity Teaching Prize for the first time in the summer semester 2023.

The award is presented for a course taught in the two previous semesters (individual teachers, but also teams or the organisers of lecture series).

Students and lecturers at Reutlingen University

Courses from all degree programmes in which sustainability or diversity feature prominently are eligible for the award. Does one of the following criteria apply? Then this course is eligible for the teaching award.

Essential competences for sustainable development are strengthened.
Examples are: Value-based critical thinking, the ability to empathise with others, imagining the impact of actions on future generations, skills in dealing with areas of tension, learning with head, heart and hand.


  • The course is designed to make a tangible contribution to greater sustainability and/or participation in society.


  • Innovative, practice-relevant contents on sustainability and climate protection or on gender and diversity topics are taught.


  • Diversity-friendly teaching methods are used. These promote equal participation of all students, question stereotypes, rethink role models, and design teaching materials in a diversity-conscious way.

From 17.04.-14.05.2023, courses worthy of the award can be nominated for the teaching award at the following link.

vote now

The jury consists of:

  • Sustainability Officer: Prof. Löbbe
  • Sustainability Officer: Dr. Merkens
  • Deputy Equal Opportunities Officer: Prof. Beldarrain
  • Equal Opportunities & Diversity Officer: Dr. Söllner
  • Student Members

If applicable, from the second year onwards, the award winner of the previous year.
The selection is made on the basis of comments formulated by students and on the basis of documents submitted by the nominees. The criteria for the award are defined above.


Sustainability and Climate Protection Officer of the Executive Board

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Sustainability and Climate Protection Officer of the Executive Board
Professor at the School of Engineering

Sustainability Officer

Climate Protection Manager

Senate Representative for Ethics

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