HAK Lienz harvesting apples. Copyright by HAK Lienz.

Open mind: HAK Lienz combines ecology and economy

The HAK Lienz is the first educational institution in East Tyrol to be awarded the Austrian Ecolabel. This makes it an ecological pioneer!

"Entrepreneurship" - "creativity" - "innovation" - "economy" - "varied" - "versatile" - "well-being" - "enterprise" - "information technology". These are the terms that students associate with their school, the Bundeshandelsakademie und -handelsschule in Lienz. Laura Gasser, Lea Bachlechner and Moritz Bitzker have used the answers to create a video that is well worth watching. It shows very clearly how students think in 2022, what is important to them and how they will shape the future: https://youtu.be/ivg_wOZs0Xs.

Well-being. Some of the associations made by the students are both astonishing and pleasing to a 1986 Matura graduate. It is recognisable that higher schools, whose teaching educates young people in business and economics, have changed very much for the better and are on the right, i.e. future-oriented, path.

Fairtrade. Director Josef Pretis explains: "Ecology and economy should not be a contradiction. A demand that was only present in rudimentary form, if at all, in 1986. So a lot has happened in the Austrian business academies. Director Pretis continues: "We have been trying to work according to the SGDs in our school for many years. That is why we also received the 'Fairtrade School' award. This meant that we were already well prepared in advance for certification with the Austrian Ecolabel. What has changed is that we are even more attentive to certain points: For example, waste separation or waste avoidance or the reduction of energy consumption. Furthermore, we have installed CO2 measuring devices in several classes to control class ventilation."

© HAK Lienz planting trees.

Involving the pupils. The certification process for the Austrian Ecolabel was accompanied by the diploma thesis "Conception for obtaining the Austrian Ecolabel of HAK Lienz" (2022). It was prepared by Sandro Klein and Adamo Valtiner.

With this work - which presents the current state of the school and a concept of the procedure towards the Ecolabel - pupils were intensively involved in the procedure.

To the public! The school website documents the activities of the pupils in terms of the Ecolabel. This is a sustainable way of presenting the school's extensive commitment to the public: The „Energy Tour through the School“, the analysis „Electricity Consumption and Energy Efficiency", „Visit to the Foal Farm“ and the „FAIRTRADE-Workshop for the 1st HAK plus Pupils" present the versatility of the Business School.

Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are an important topic at the Lienz Business School. Several diploma theses deal with them. "However, the SDGs are also continuously discussed in several subjects. Above all, it is about raising awareness. Within the framework of FreiDay - this form of teaching has nothing to do with 'having time off' - the students of the 1st grade of HAK plus work on projects on this topic," reports Director Pretis.

Thinking globally. In the video "The global goals are our goals" https://youtu.be/ivg_wOZs0Xs (idea and production: Birgit Hippacher, 2021) - with which the school applied for the award "Education for Sustainable Development, category mobilisation" of the Forum Environmental Education - pupils explain why the SDGs are also their personal goals. In this way, the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals were made known in the school. Results: The "week of sustainability" in September 2022 and a thesis on SDG 5 "Gender Equality": for this, the authors interviewed female leaders in East Tyrol.

Repetition. Let's repeat: Contemporary teaching is "creative", "innovative" and "varied". Then "ecology and economy are not mutually exclusive." Great! The students of the Federal Commercial College in Lienz are thus very well prepared for their future. And congratulations again on receiving the Austrian Ecolabel!