Tzu Chi University Wins the 2024 USR* Award Bestowed by Global Views Monthly


Tzu Chi University (TCU) recently received the 2024 USR Award from Global Views Monthly in the “Ecological Cohabitation Group” category. This award celebrates TCU’s commitment to sustainability and community engagement through its innovative project, “Enhancing Local Sustainable Consumption and Production,” based on principles of the Satoyama Unity Carbon Economy.

At the heart of this project is a collaborative model that unites tribal residents and local farmers and businesses, promoting ecological and social harmony. This collaboration supports responsible consumption and production, revitalizing tribal areas and empowering local communities. Initiatives like a campus cooperative store and a monthly farmers’ market support eco-friendly agriculture, reduce plastic use, and provide a sales platform for local farmers, making their organic produce and goods available to the TCU community and the public.

Furthermore, TCU partners with Tzu Chi Foundation and the Hualien County Government to revitalize idle farmland, enhancing the tribal residents’ income and encouraging young people to return to their hometowns to engage in sustainable agriculture. This has led to a significant increase in young farmers returning to the area, from only six in 2020 to twenty-five by 2023.

The University also supports the “PGS Guarantee System” for agricultural carbon credits through the “Small Farmer Carbon Planting” app. This app helps track farming methods and involves consumers in building a trustworthy system. The project includes soil biocarbon testing to push for net-zero emissions and enhance local agriculture, marking Taiwan’s first regional effort to certify rice paddies for global carbon reduction.

The USR Center at TCU not only supports local development, but also incorporates these achievements into its teaching and research resources. This embodies TCU’s commitment to interdisciplinary problem-solving and fulfilling local social responsibilities, helping to advance the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Following a significant earthquake on April 3, 2024, with Hualien at its epicenter, TCU and the local communities demonstrated remarkable resilience. By April 10, the University had resumed normal operations and classes. The partner tribes and farmers reported that they were safe and continued their farming activities as usual.

University President Ingrid Liu expressed gratitude towards founder Dharma Master Cheng Yen and the global Tzu Chi community for their ongoing support. She emphasized that the concepts of environmental protection and sustainability are deeply embedded in the daily lives of TCU’s faculty, staff, and students, forming an integral part of the school’s culture. Despite the earthquake affecting the whole of Taiwan, President Liu highlighted the importance of listening to the Earth’s cries and continuing our commitment to ecological conservation, responsible production, and consumption to protect Taiwan’s pristine environment.

* University Social Responsibility