The University is committed to minimising greenhouse gas emissions and has joined Race to Zero and become carbon neutral certified to demonstrate this commitment.
Race to Zero
The University joined Race to Zero in April 2021. Race To Zero is a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, educational institutions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth. It mobilises ‘real economy' actors (including 572 Higher Education Institutions) in 120 countries in the largest ever alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. Collectively these actors now cover nearly 25% global CO2 emissions and over 50% GDP.
The objective is to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonised economy ahead of COP26 in Glasgow (Nov 2021), where governments must strengthen their contributions to the Paris Agreement. This action and outcome-focused campaign replaces and builds on the Global Climate Letter for Universities and Colleges (i.e., Climate Emergency Declaration).
By joining Race to Zero, UTAS has committed to the Race to Zero criteria. As a carbon neutral certified organisation, UTAS already meets all the criteria:
- Pledge: having a 2050 or sooner net zero target.
- Plan: explain what steps will be taken toward achieving net zero.
- Proceed: taking action towards net zero. Carbon neutral certification requires demonstrating where emissions reductions are being made, not just buying offsets.
- Publish: commit to report progress annually.
Carbon neutral certification
The University was certified as a carbon neutral organisation in 2017 (for its 2016 greenhouse gas inventory) by the Commonwealth Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard. To achieve carbon neutral certification, organisations must:
- Measure and reduce emissions where possible. Read the Greenhouse gas emissions management at UTAS and Our progress sections below to find out more.
- Offset remaining emissions. Offset projects selected deliver benefits to the Tasmania community and to regions from which our international students originate, and provide co-benefits aligning with the University's values.
- Publicly report on their carbon neutrality. You can find the University's Public Disclosure Statements in the Climate Active certified organisations webpage, and the latest University's carbon inventory in the Our progress section below.
- Undertake independent validation (i.e. audit or verification) by an environmental auditor or carbon consultant at least once every three years. The University's latest independent audit (PDF 204.4 KB) was conducted in 2018.
Watch this interview with Dr Carmen Primo Perez, Senior Sustainability Officer, who explains carbon neutral certification to Diploma of Sustainable Living students.
Emissions Reduction Strategic Plan
To meet our commitment to climate action, Race to Zero and carbon neutral certification, the University has developed a comprehensive and ambitious Emissions Reduction Strategic Plan, which sets out how the University will accelerate and broaden climate action to address carbon emissions from all three emission scopes. Our efforts are guided by the 1.5°C Paris Target (IPCC pathway) that requires a global net anthropogenic GHG reduction of 45% by 2030 and reaching net zero before 2050.
Our objective is to set goals and deliver an ambitious plan for carbon reduction that are ahead of current global standards, so that we are a model for how to transition our society and economy to a low to zero carbon basis. Thus, our Emissions Reduction Strategic Plan will reduce gross emissions by at least 50% by 2030 from a 2015 baseline year.
The Emissions Reduction Strategic Plan 2022-2030 (PDF 1.7MB) includes 42 measurable actions by emission source (covering scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions) with clear KPIs/targets, deadlines, indicative cost of implementation and responsibility.
The University has committed to applying a negative investment screen to fossil fuels and a positive screen to companies and funds which contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and completely divested from fossil fuel-exposed investment funds at the end of 2021.
These commitments have been explicitly or implicitly embedded in relevant University's policies, strategies and procedures such as: