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Six steps towards achieving sustainability goals

Working with communities, industries and governments to progress sustainability on all fronts: environmental, socio-cultural and financial.

Research | Partners

For many years our University has been working hard to deliver more sustainable outcomes for Tasmania, and from Tasmania to the world. We know that our mission is a pressing one. Now is the time to create a society based on a climate positive and circular economy, where inequality diminishes rather than grows, and where a better measure of the quality of life guides our choices.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through the United Nations (UN) Development Programme, integrate environmental, socio-cultural and economic aspects and recognise how they intersect in achieving sustainable development across generations and in all its dimensions, including in other UN programs.

As we aim to be a global, sustainable and responsible leading institution, our Strategic Framework for Sustainability (PDF 2.5 MB) aligns with these goals. The SDGs are specifically named as a University curriculum focus and the SDGs clearly align with many of our research themes, as well as informing our operational activities.

Our sustainability mission is individual as well as institutional. Below are just a few examples of the unique work being undertaken by our institution, and the people within it, to deliver a more fair, equitable and sustainable society.

Zero hunger

The University supports research into sustainable and innovative food production while increasing the skills and employability of people in the rural sector. We actively explore approaches to enhance food security by addressing social inequities through on-campus programs and activities to allow access to food and through education to increase health literacy, climate change mitigation and adaptation in food systems, and supply chain management in agribusiness.

The University has over 900m2 of garden beds for food production across all four campuses often adjacent to our accommodation facilities, with the largest at the brand-new campus at Inveresk in Launceston.

SDG 02 Zero Hunger

Good health and well-being

Our University works with government and communities to improve the health and well-being of Tasmanians, and from Tasmania to the world, through medical research; educating future and current health workforce; improving quality and sustainability of healthcare and health systems; increasing educational attainment and health literacy; and addressing social inequities, local and global environmental challenges, and planetary health. The University recognises that Indigenous views of health include relationships to lands and waters, and health of Country.

Led by our College of Health and Medicine and supported by the World Health Organisation as a globally relevant demonstration project, HealthLit4Kids aims to bring members of the education and health sectors together with families and communities to improve health literacy in Tasmania. It supports positive health and educational outcomes for children and works towards reducing health inequities for families.

SDG 03 Good Heath and Well-Being

Clean water and sanitation

University research and education seeks to understand hydrological cycles, effects of water-borne diseases and pollutants on health, and to address local and global environmental water challenges. We partner with local communities and Indigenous knowledge holders to enhance water management. We work with industry to reduce water use and negative impacts on ecosystems to improve human and environmental health. The University led the project "Adaptive Water Resources Management" to provide free support to local farmers on using technology to achieve good water management.

The Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) provides the free event Irrigation Field Days to the wider community on a regular basis, focusing on teaching farmers strategies on enhancing irrigation efficiency and management.

SDG 06 Clean Water and Sanitation

Affordable and clean energy

The University is committed to contributing to Tasmania being a leader in affordable and clean energy and efficient energy use. We drive innovation for the global application of Tasmania’s renewable energy expertise, including hydroelectric, wind and marine platforms for offshore energy production. We also drive innovation for energy efficiency through our research and built environment programs.

In partnership with the University, both the Tasmanian University Student Association (TUSA) and Source EcoHub are 100% on-site renewably powered. This was a first for a student union in Australasia and achieved over six years and fully funded by Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF).

SDG 07 Affordable and Clean Energy

Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Green Bonds are issued to finance eligible assets that deliver environmental outcomes which are part of our broader approach to environmental, social and governance outcomes and our commitment to sustainability.

Our Green Bond Framework requires a minimum 20% reduction in the upfront carbon emissions embedded in construction projects, with over 33% achieved on recent Inveresk projects. Based on our sustainability efforts over the past decade, the University was successful in raising a record $350m Green Bond to support providing better learning and research facilities across the state. This achievement was recognised with a KangaNews Award for Australian Sustainability Bond Deal of the Year in 2022.

SDG 09 Industry Innovation and Infrastructure

Peace, justice and strong institutions

Since its establishment between the State Government, the University and the Law Society in 2001, the Tasmania Law Reform Institute (TLRI) has become recognised as the State’s premier law reform agency. The approach of basing the TLRI within a University environment was unique for Australia and has been subsequently emulated by others.

TLRI’s work and research is integral in the considered formulation of law and policy to support peace, justice and strong institutions. Michael Hill, the former Chief Magistrate, noted that the TLRI “plays a vital role in Tasmania in both law reform and access to justice on its innovative, lucid and well-reasoned research and recommendations…”

SDG 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Main image: Students working in the food garden at our Melville Street apartments, Hobart

This story features in the 2023 edition of It's in our nature - a collection of stories that celebrate and highlight the unique work being undertaken by our institution, and the people within it, to deliver a more fair, equitable and sustainable society.

Explore sustainability at the University of Tasmania and how you can get involved.