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Otago sets sustainability goals

Tuesday, 11 April 2017 9:43pm

The University Council today approved Otago’s Sustainability Strategic Framework 2017-2021 – with clear targets to reduce emissions and waste, and use only renewable energy.

The University of Otago plans to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions by a third within three years, halve the waste it send to landfills in four, and be using only renewable energy sources by 2030.

It also aims to improve its energy efficiency by 20 per cent within eight years, which would help it avoid paying about $2 million annually.

The University officially set the targets today when the University Council approved the Sustainability Strategic Framework 2017–2021, with the vision of becoming a national and international centre of excellence for sustainability practice and research.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says achieving the goals starts with 10 priority actions this year, to quickly show substantial progress and propel the University forward as a leader.

She is adamant the University’s commitment must be real and measurable, and is so passionate about the cause that she created Otago’s slogan: “Boldly Sustainable – Our Promise to the Future.”

The Manager of the University’s Office of Sustainability, Dr Hilary Phipps, says the 10 priority actions include establishing clear operational sustainability targets, gaining independent assurance the University’s carbon footprint is accurate, developing targets and monitoring to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs, and developing and implementing green building standards.

The priority actions also include launching and supporting a green team network in departments and colleges, mapping sustainability-related research and curriculum activities, and applying the University’s collective expertise to help meet operational sustainability challenges.

An official launch, with more detail about the top 10 priorities, is planned for next month.