Sydney University commits to greener future

The University of Sydney has announced how they will reach net zero emissions, including additional goals of sending zero waste to landfill and reducing its potable water use by 30 per cent by 2030 in their Sustainability Strategy

In a statement the university shared their climate action ambitions further and their efforts to maintain alignment with the United Nation’s Paris Agreement and zero net emissions by 2050.

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence said it was important not to forget the other challenges we face globally during this current pandemic. “The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the greatest challenges of our time but so is the growing threat of climate change,” Dr Spence said.

“We know that urgent action is needed and as Australia’s oldest university we believe we have an obligation and ability to align our world-leading sustainability research and teaching with everyday life at the University – to test and showcase what can be done – in so doing, our ideas will help change the world.”

Key targets and initiatives from the strategy include:

  • 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025
  • Cutting air travel by 20 per cent by 2025
  • Composting 80 per cent of food waste by 2025
  • Zero single-use plastics offered on campus by 2030
  • Reducing the use of potable (drinking) water 30 per cent by 2030
  • Rollout of sustainable and ethical procurement practices by 2025
  • Achieving a gold rating in the United States-based open-access Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) by 2025
  • Installing University spin-off Gelion solar smart benches on the Camperdown/Darlington campus this year; and
  • The development of educational opportunities, including in new areas such as a sustainability postgraduate micro-credential.

The University’s climate statement commits the University to reviewing its progress on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 13 on urgent climate action biannually from 2022.