Cairo University: Towards a model green institution

Cairo University aims to become a model green university and has been undertaking various initiatives towards environmental sustainability.

This is in line with Egypt’s Vision 2030, the goals of the United Nation’s climate change conference (COP27) held in Egypt in 2022 and other national development projects adopted by the Egyptian government.

In fact, the establishment of a new generation of sustainable universities is thought to be one of the most important steps towards achieving sustainable development.

So, what are the most important planning and design guidelines that Egyptian universities are following and how are they being implemented?

Cairo University, in its efforts to become a model green university with a growing focus on environmental sustainability and a commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, has implemented various initiatives and programmes, including the establishment of a Sustainability Office and the incorporation of sustainability into its educational and research plans.

Some of the key requirements needed to turn the institution into a model green university include the adoption of sustainable resource management practices, the promotion of a culture of sustainability, and the implementation of programmes that reduce energy consumption, water usage, and waste on campus.

By prioritising sustainability and integrating it into all aspects of university life, Cairo University is working towards a greener and more sustainable future for its students, faculty and surrounding community.

Sustainability Office

One initiative that the institution has implemented to become a leader in environmental sustainability is the creation of a Sustainability Office, led by Professor Soheir Fahmy.

The office aims to train staff to identify and implement ethical, socially responsible, and economically sound solutions.

It has organised sustainability awareness events and initiatives, which have contributed to lowering energy, water and garbage usage on campus, and fostering a culture of social responsibility.

The university has also decided to create Green Offices in all its faculties and institutes, with 10 faculties already having done so as an extension of this office.

To integrate sustainability into its educational and research programmes, Cairo University has focused on aligning its teaching and research plans with Egypt’s Strategic Vision 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Currently, 64.99% – nearly two-thirds – of the total number of courses offered by the university are dedicated to the environment and sustainability.

Cairo University has taken several measures to reduce water waste, including the creation of two grey water treatment units, a pilot plant for wastewater treatment, and the planned upkeep of its internal supply networks and taps.

The Garden Irrigation Centre of Studies and Designs for Water Projects seeks to improve the standard of research and design work associated with well water projects.

The university has also taken steps towards sustainable energy, with the first step of a solar energy project having been approved in February 2023.

The use of solar cells as a substitute for traditional energy sources in greenhouses and various water cycles are examples of energy-saving measures.

Environmental quality

To promote environmental quality, Cairo University has been provided with fruit trees and roof gardening.

The ‘Green Egypt’ project, initiated by the institution, intends to plant one million fruit trees in four years.

The university has also set up air pollution monitoring stations to improve air quality inside university buildings. Furthermore, the institution’s medical plant experiment station recycles plant waste to create organic fertilizer.

The university has also implemented the use of fly recycling for trash and the disposal of organic waste programmes to reduce the environmental impact.

In general, Cairo University’s comprehensive approach to sustainability demonstrates its commitment to creating a greener and more sustainable future.

The university’s initiatives, ranging from waste management to sustainable transportation, demonstrate that it is taking a holistic approach to sustainability that encompasses all aspects of university life.

Its efforts towards environmental sustainability have been recognised globally, with the university achieving first place among Egyptian public universities and second place in Africa after the American University in Cairo, in the UI GreenMetric ranking for environmentally friendly green universities in 2022-23.

The university’s strategy to transforming into a fourth-generation institution focuses on the environmental system, encouraging scientific research in the field of sustainability and environmental preservation, confronting and reducing the effects of climate change, consolidating the university’s role in many development axes, and integrating the university’s educational and research plan with Egypt’s Strategic Vision 2030 and the SDGs.

Student guide

As part of its efforts towards sustainability, Cairo University has also launched a Sustainable life for university students guide, created by Cairo University in honour of Earth Day, and which provides tips and guidelines for students to reduce their impact on the environment and live more sustainably.

The Sustainable life for university students guide is an example of Cairo University’s efforts towards sustainability.

This guide provides students with practical tips and guidelines for reducing their environmental impact and living more sustainably on campus. By following these suggestions, students can make small changes in their daily habits and lifestyle choices that can have a significant impact on reducing their carbon footprint.

Sustainable transportation options are also an essential part of reducing the carbon footprint on campus. Public transportation, bike-sharing programmes, walking, carpooling, and electric vehicles are all options that can help reduce emissions and promote sustainability. Many universities are taking steps to promote sustainable transportation, including offering bike-sharing programmes and investing in public transportation infrastructure.

By taking action toward sustainability, universities can make a significant contribution to addressing the global environmental challenges we face today.

Professor Mohamed Osman Elkhosht, president of the university, emphasised the need for a continually changing approach to sustainability in the light of environmental problems and climate change.

The ecosystem and the alignment of the university’s instructional and research programmes with the SDGs are at the centre of its fourth-generation institution strategy.

Also, Professor Mohamed Sami Abdel Sadek, the university’s vice-president for community service and environmental development, has focused on the significance of everyone contributing to the creation of a sustainable campus and highlighted the university’s initiatives to create a more sustainable environment for the university community.

The need to promote sustainability and lower carbon footprints was emphasised at a forum on the carbon footprint of the plastics industry conducted at Cairo University.

Ambassador Mostafa El Sherbini, a world authority on climate change and sustainability, as well as professors from the university’s National Institute for Quality and the faculty of graduate African studies, were among the specialists present at the occasion.

Additionally, trainees who successfully completed a course on carbon footprint computation and verification received certificates at the event. The training offers recommendations for controlling greenhouse gas emissions aligned with international norms.

This training is important because it assists managers in various industries to calculate and control their greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to lower their carbon footprint.

A new course on calculating a company’s carbon footprint and sustainability systems was introduced in June. It stressed how important it is to promote sustainability and reduce carbon footprints through education and training.

Professor Hamed Abdelreheem Ead is based at Cairo University’s faculty of science. He is the former director of the Science Heritage Center at the university and the former Egyptian cultural attaché in Morocco. He can be contacted at and