Publication of the University of Melbourne’s Sustainability Charter draws near 

March 16 / 177

Feedback from 111 submissions and a number of consultation events, including a South Lawn consultation and a public forum, helped shape the University of Melbourne’s Sustainability Charter, which is now in the final stages of development. 

The Sustainability Charter will be the framework for embedding social and environmental sustainability across all facets of University work.  The Charter will articulate a set of high level principles and commitments that will be translated into priority actions through the Sustainability Plan. 

During the ten-week consultation period the South Lawn consultation was a particular highlight, attracting mainly students, who voiced their concerns and queries about the Charter consultation process.

The public forum, chaired by Maxine McKew and featuring the University’s Chief Financial Officer Allan Tait, Professor Ross Garnaut, UMSU Representative Anisa Rogers and the Member for Melbourne, Ellen Sandell, was also very well attended.

Additionally, in response to calls for Charter feedback, the Graduate Student Association (GSA) & Fossil Free Melbourne University (FFMU) led their own successful consultation events. 

The question most commonly asked in the feedback was whether the University would change its policy around investments relating to fossil fuel companies – an issue raised by 49 per cent of respondents.

Other issues raised included questions about reducing energy and carbon emissions on campus, sustainable procurement decisions by the University, improving waste management, and social inclusion. 

Participants were also keen for the University to offer more information more frequently about its practices so everyone in the community could stay informed about activities to improve our sustainability credentials.

All stakeholder feedback is now being considered and where possible addressed by the Sustainability Charter, which is due to be launched on 18 March pending approval by University Council.

Following the launch of the Sustainability Charter, it is anticipated that the University’s inaugural Sustainability Report will be released in late March before another round of community engagement is held from April until the end of June, to seek input about what should be included in the University’s Sustainability Plan.  

To find out more about the Charter and plan development and to see all consultation visit: sustainablecampus.unimelb.edu.au

Story by Thomas Zhi Jing Feng

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