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Friday 7 October 2022 12:59pm

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Rewards for carless commutes …  Our Sustainability Office's Officer Assistant Project Support Gabi Rutherford-Carr with some of the free reusable cups and coffee vouchers she handed out on the Dunedin campus during the recent World Car Free Day.

Our sustainability rates!

Our work to address Greenhouse Gas emissions is among the leaders on the national Carbon Neutral Government report card and globally we have stayed in the top four per cent of the Times Higher Education Impact rankings.

“This shows our determination to make real change,” Sustainability Office Head Ray O'Brien says.

Nationally directed

The Carbon Neutral Government Programme has released its May progress report on the entities directed to become carbon neutral and those encouraged to do the same, with our University's efforts outstripping 24 required to change, despite Otago only being encouraged to head in that direction.

Of the 29 crown agencies told to become carbon neutral, the survey shows only six have made the same progress as our University in setting emissions targets, implementing reduction initiatives, and demonstrably reducing emissions.

Those six are the Accident Compensation Corporation, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, Environmental Protection Authority, New Zealand Antarctic Institute, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

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The United Nation's Sustainability Development Goals.

While another three Crown Agencies have also demonstrably reduced emissions as directed, two are still developing their targets and one is still developing both targets and reduction initiatives.

Others had not measured their emissions reductions or did not know if they had reduced. Five did not respond to the survey.

Mr O'Brien says this shows we have made a good start, but there is still lots of bold action required to reach our targets.

Nationally encouraged

Among the 18 entities 'encouraged' to become carbon neutral, our University and two other universities are the only ones the survey shows to have set targets, implemented initiatives, and demonstrably reduced emissions.

While one other university has reduced emissions, it is still developing targets and reduction initiatives.

Others had not measured their emissions reductions or did not know if they had reduced. Four did not respond to the survey.


Our University's approach to sustainability also kept us in the top four per cent of the global Times Higher Education rankings this year despite an increase of 288 institutions taking part (a total of 1406 institutions in 2022).

Mr O'Brien says our ranking could not have been achieved without strong partnerships across our University and with our communities.

Otago was ranked 61 out of 1406 applications, based on our contribution to achieving the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals.

The rankings announcement says Universities worldwide are seizing the moment to double down on a long tradition of public service by delivering sustainable social and economic impacts for their communities and society.

Our University showed particularly significant contributions through in SDGS 3 (Health), 9 (Innovation) and 11 (sustainable communities).

The Sustainability Office is part of the Operations Group, which has three top priorities:
Enable – the University to achieve its visions and mission
Engage – with our students, each other, our customers and externally
Experience – of our students, our customers, and externally to be outstanding

- Kōrero by Operations Group Communications Adviser Gail Goodger

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