The University of Tasmania has been certified carbon neutral since 2016, one of only two universities in Australasia to reach this milestone. Our strong commitment to sustainability has also been recognised through various international awards, a tribute to the work of students, staff, alumni and the wider community.
This year we are the top-ranked university in the world for climate action, according to the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, a global performance assessment of universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In 2021 we were awarded the Sustainability Institution of the Year in the Australasian Green Gown Awards.
And in 2022, we achieved a Gold rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) used by over 1,000 universities globally. We were also awarded an International Green Gown Award for Student Engagement for our inspiring Sustainability Integration Program for Students (SIPS).
So what does all this mean?
Our Strategic Framework for Sustainability encapsulates our commitment across four areas: sustainability governance and implementation, sustainability education and research, partnerships and engagement, and facilities and operations management.
In terms of investment, the University leads the sector by applying both a negative screen to fossil fuels and a positive screen for investments contributing to sustainable development goals. We achieved full divestment from fossil-fuel-related industries in 2021.
The University has committed to further significant and bold action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including a minimum 50 per cent reduction in our gross emissions by 2030.
Corey Peterson, Chief Sustainability Officer at the University, says reductions will focus on more efficient energy use and more renewable energy on campus, a circular economy approach in procurement and waste management, as well as smarter travel.
“Part of this effort will involve ensuring we minimise carbon emissions from our new campuses and buildings using cutting-edge green technology and efficient designs.”
An example of a tangible, quantifiable action taken is the 6.5 km of decommissioned steel gas pipelines re-used as pilings in our new Inveresk buildings.
Through engagement with architects and the building industry, the University is fostering a sustainable building approach that can inform others in the future.
The University’s SIPS program is providing students with the opportunity to engage in real-world sustainability challenges across all study areas.
Our curriculum is also increasingly focused on sustainability across a wide range of disciplines as well as through specific course offerings such as our Certificate and Diploma in Sustainable Living as well as the new Major in Sustainability.
Research is another important focus, involving all Colleges and Divisions, whether it’s assisting in the creation of sustainable businesses, responding to climate change or other environmental challenges, or addressing the State’s educational and social needs.
Alumnus Dr Tomas Remenyi (BAntStud Hons 2004, GradCertMarSc 2010, PhD 2013) from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) says one aspect of sustainability involves finding answers to the right questions.
“We bring together the right experts to solve the right problems and figure out how we can best work with them to co-design the research programs for the benefit of Tasmania.”
Written by Katherine Johnson for Alumni Magazine Issue 53, 2022.
Connect with our alumni community to discover more.
Top of page: Sustainable Living student and staff at a South Hobart garden.