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Net Carbon Zero 2030


Climate change is the biggest challenge we have ever faced, and we all need to do our part. Under the Paris Agreement we know that we need to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. We need to play our part in this.

University of Otago has committed to reaching Net Carbon Zero by 2030 by radically reducing our Greenhouse Gas emissions and then offsetting the emissions that we have not been able to eliminate.

This is an ambitious goal that will not be achieved easily. So, we have established a Net Carbon Zero Programme and appointed a Net Carbon Zero Programme Manager to lead the way.

Net Carbon Zero programme

2021 will see the launch of our Net Carbon Zero programme, a series of projects that will drive our emissions down and develop the most beneficial ways to offset or inset those emissions.

University of Otago Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2019

There is already a significant amount of work underway.

Air travel

The air travel project aims to position the University of Otago as a leader in achieving excellence at net carbon zero.


The Property Services Energy Management team has been successful in removing coal from the main heating system for the Dunedin campus and is working on a range of energy efficiency initiatives. Arana College will be moving to wood pellets later this year after a successful trial last summer.

Food purchase

Chefs and catering staff have been engaged in reducing emissions due to food purchased. Retail outlets have all introduced lower carbon menu options. Residential colleges have adopted Mindful Monday (plant-based meals one day per week), resulting in a 11% reduction in emissions due to food purchase.


Promoting and supporting low carbon transport options through the ebike discount scheme, the ebike hub, and promoting the bee card bus pass to staff and student.


We are working closely in partnership with Waste Management New Zealand to reduce the total waste to land fill (and reduce landfill emissions) as well as specifically focussing on reducing food waste in the residential colleges. We expect a digestor to be operational in 2021 to reduce the amount of food waste that is sent to landfill.If you see opportunities to reduce emissions in your area, we’d love to know:

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Winner of the Sustainable Campus section of the Green Gown Awards in 2018

This initiative aims to shrink the University’s carbon footprint by a third by 2020 and propel the campus more than halfway towards being zero carbon: