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University of Tasmania wins Sustainability Institute of the Year award

Sustainability Institute of the year award

The University’s strong commitment to sustainability was recognised late last year when it was awarded the Sustainability Institution of the Year in the Australia New Zealand Green Gown Awards, the highest recognition in the sector for sustainability. Our student engagement activities were also recognised.

Both categories now see us advance to the international award round.

In addition, our commitment to applying a holistic framework saw the University become the first Australasian university to achieve a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) rating. STARS is a public and transparent sustainability rating system for universities.

Our University of Tasmania STARS report is publicly available and details many of our sustainability activities. In our first submission in 2020 we achieved a Silver rating and this year, in 2022, we are aiming to achieve Gold.

Initiatives cover sustainability in the curriculum, research, student/staff and community engagement, completing divestment, emissions reduction plans and outcomes, and operational improvements.

The University’s sustainability commitment is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and is embedded in our Strategic Plan 2019-2024. Yet the University’s activities in this important space are not necessarily well known among our alumni community.

There have been tangible, quantifiable actions taken with examples including 63 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill since 2016, and a projected increase to 370 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill per annum from 2025.

Since 2016, the University has been certified carbon neutral, one of only two Australian universities to achieve this.

In terms of investment, UTAS also leads the sector by applying both a negative screen to fossil fuels and a positive screen for investments contributing to sustainable development goals. UTAS achieved full divestment in 2021.

For more on the University’s sustainability achievements, watch our video showcase - Sustainability Institute of the Year 2021.

Alumnus Dr Tomas Remenyi (BAntStud Hons 2004, GradCertMarSc 2010, PhD 2013) from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies 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 codesign the research programs for the benefit of Tasmania,” he said.

The University is further showcasing sustainability achievements throughout the year. The first showcase took place on 24 March; future events will be advertised via Alumni and Friends with in-person and online options.  The next event is in July and will explore our performance and monitoring of sustainability activities and reflect on our progress this year. Our plans for future efforts will be shared in November.

There will also be a Day of Service (8 July), following the success of the Friends of Sandy Bay Rivulet Day of Service in February. Keep a look out in our Events and Opportunities section.

This article featured in the monthly eNews Alumni and Friends. If you are a member of the University of Tasmania community and would like to receive this publication, please provide or update your email address.

Published on: 12 Apr 2022 5:12pm