UNSW releases progress update on World Environment Day

Despite the challenges of 2020, UNSW achieved some significant milestones in implementing our Environmental Sustainability Plan.

| 05 Jun 2021

Despite the challenges of 2020, UNSW achieved some significant milestones in implementing our Environmental Sustainability Plan.

Marking World Environment Day on 5 June, UNSW Sydney released its Environmental Sustainability Report 2020, an update on progress in the second year of its Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21.

Although 2020 saw a global pandemic significantly impact on the higher education sector, UNSW has continued to implement our ambitious Environmental Sustainability Plan.

In November 2020, UNSW realised its long-held vision to switch to 100 per cent renewable electricity through an innovative solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Our switch to solar renewable electricity is a great source of pride and a reflection of UNSW’s pioneering work in photovoltaics over the past four decades.

Other key achievements highlighted in the Environmental Sustainability Report 2020 include:

  • UNSW Council agreed the University would commit to a science-based pathway to net zero emissions across our entire value chain, including travel, supply chain and investment activities.
  • Launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Toolkit to support academic staff to incorporate sustainability thinking into their course content and across all education platforms.
  • Adapted the Green Impact sustainability engagement program so that students and staff could complete actions from home, with almost double the number of actions completed compared to 2019.
  • Established a new furniture reuse portal to help reduce waste and improve resource efficiency.
  • Reduced campus activity contributed to reductions in energy (7 per cent) and water usage (45 per cent), total greenhouse gas emissions (43 per cent) as well as general waste generated (50 per cent).
  • Introduced a compostable waste stream as part of a new three-bin system to campus outdoor areas to improve recycling rates and support our Plastic Free Dining initiative launched in 2021.

“2020 brought some challenges, but we have achieved some key milestones, including that we have achieved or are on track to achieve the majority of our targets,” said UNSW Head of Environmental Sustainability William Syddall.

With this being the final year of our Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21, Estate Management will now turn its attention to developing a new plan that will further deepen UNSW’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

“In 2021 we are focused on delivering the remaining initiatives in our plan, and setting out our ambitions for 2022 and beyond that meet the challenges of the moment and the expectations of our community.”

World Environment Day 2021

This year the theme for World Environment Day is Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.

It’s a call to action. This is our moment. We are the generation that can make peace with nature.

Get involved and join #GenerationRestoration.