Group of Eight champion common goal of environmental sustainability at annual forum

UNSW partnered with University of Sydney to host the event on 9-10 November.

| 13 Nov 2023

The Group of Eight (Go8) Sustainability Forum fosters collaboration and knowledge exchange on sustainability initiatives. The forum was attended by sustainability leaders from Australian National University (ANU), University of Adelaide, University of Melbourne, Monash University, University of Queensland, University of Western Australia, University of Sydney (USYD) and of course, UNSW Sydney.

UNSW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Attila Brungs opened the forum, welcoming this opportunity to amplify our impact through robust partnerships with each other and with government, industry, community and not-for-profit organisations.

“As public universities, we exist for one, very specific purpose – we exist solely for the public good,” he said. “Environmental sustainability and climate change are literally existential problems of planetary significance and the window to take effective action is closing quickly.”

As Go8 universities, we have a responsibility to demonstrate sustainability in our campus operations; to translate our research into real-world solutions, both locally and globally; and to impress the value of sustainability upon our students for cumulative impact beyond university, he said.

At UNSW, positive societal impact is at the heart of our vision – “to improve lives globally, through innovative research, transformative education and commitment to a just society”. Sustainability is a key part of the 2025 Strategy, with UNSW well on the way to reaching many of our goals. The University is working towards our Environmental Sustainability Plan 2022 – 2024.

In 2022, we made the Nature Positive Pledge to set specific, measurable targets for biodiversity. The University is restoring Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Station in outback New South Wales as a dedicated conservation site after 150 years of agricultural use.

In 2020, we switched to 100 per cent renewable energy, marking a huge step in our commitment to achieve net zero emissions. Additionally, our researchers are delivering world-class solutions in solar photovoltaicssustainable materialshydrogen research and renewable energyclimate research and more.

Head of Environmental Sustainability William Syddall welcomed our Go8 partners to campus. UNSW Sustainability presented on sustainability and biodiversity with the University of Sydney as well as the success of the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) driving sustainable lab practices on campus.

Other presentations included carbon forests (Deloitte) and z carbon and biodiversity footprints (USYD), flights and travel strategies (ANU), greenwashing (KPMG) and the circular campus (University of Melbourne).

The forum is focused on partnering for positive change. Together we can deliver a more sustainable future for all.