Here For Good
The University’s Sustainability Strategy outlines the University’s commitment to a sustainable future and its ambition to lead and deliver positive and sustainable change for good.
As a signatory to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since 2016, the Sustainability Strategy responds across our research, teaching, community outreach, and campus operations, recognising the interdependence, complexity and criticality of climate, ecosystems, biodiversity, and human societies for future global prosperity.
The strategy’s goals and targets support our students with sustainable career paths, and provide communities and partners with researched solutions to transition to the green economy, solve sustainability challenges and build climate adaptation and resilience.
Care for Country, and Country will care for you.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have lived on this Country for over 60,000 years and in Caring for Country, are experts in sustainability. The University of Adelaide commits to learning from this cultural knowledge. Across every element of our Sustainability Strategy, we seek to make positive change with an ethos of Caring for Country and culture in our heads and our hearts.
Message from the VC
Ultimately, the responsibility of University leadership is to create a better, more sustainable future for society and for our many current and future students, placing their success at the heart of what we do.
We envisage the University of Adelaide becoming a University of Choice for sustainability education and breakthrough research translated for environmental benefit whilst also leading campus sustainability transitions that inspire our students and staff.
Our Strategy has been guided by advice and feedback from staff, students, the Sustainability Strategy Steering Committee, and our broader community. It will serve as a signal to our university community and to wider society that we wish to partner and turn our ambitions into reality.
Our goals and commitments
Learning and teaching
Leading practice in sustainability education.
- Embed sustainability in the Graduate Attributes and teaching in programs across the University by 2028.
- Sustainability is embedded into all relevant programs with opportunities for foundational sustainability education to all undergraduate degree students by 2030.
- Sustainable Development Goals and principles are incorporated in relevant criteria for learning outcomes by 2030.
- Establish a new sustainability and social-good student consulting experience by 2025.
Research and innovation
Application of leading innovation and research to solve local sustainability challenges with global impact for good.
- Year-on-year increase in the number of sustainability research programs, projects and publications.
- Year-on-year increase in the number of sustainability research projects translated into policy and tangible societal outcomes.
- Establish an Industry Engagement Priority for Sustainability that is transdisciplinary and supports industry relationships to deliver on future needs of the workforce and address societal and technological challenges through research by 2025.
- Improve year-on-year the number and impact of living labs on campus.
Accelerate the sustainability and decarbonisation transition on our campuses and extend our impact beyond campus.
- Net zero emissions from directly controlled operations by 2025 and carbon neutral as per the Australian Government's Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard for Organisations by 2030.
- All new buildings to achieve Net Zero certification as per the World Green Building Council including a whole of-life life cycle assessment.
- Introduce a travel policy, climate literacy education for travellers and an offset scheme for business flights by 2025.
- Inclusion of a sustainability value to the Staff Values and Behaviour Framework by 2024.
- Introduce a First Nations procurement target by 2023.
University of Adelaide is committed to responsible investment.
- Develop a sustainability investment policy by the end of Q3 2023 and a transition and divestment plan by the end of 2023.
- Develop a plan to openly communicate responsible investment activities by the end of 2023.
- Publish information regarding investment exposure to fossil fuels by the end of 2023.
- Divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include public equities and corporate bonds of companies whose primary business is the ownership and exploitation of fossil fuel reserves by the end of 2024. For this purpose, “primary business” refers to a 10% revenue threshold.
Reporting and communications
Impactful communications will share the University’s ambition, track progress and help embed a sustainable culture.
- Initiate a sustainable behaviour change initiative to enable our University Community to make more sustainable choices.
- Reporting to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). We aim to achieve a Platinum STARS rating by 2030.
- Integrate sustainability reporting into the Annual Report
- Creation of a publicly available dashboard to demonstrate the University’s progress against its sustainability goals and targets.
- Achieve and maintain ISO14001:2015 certification for a university-wide Environmental Management System.
Our strategy builds upon the University’s Strategic Plan and acknowledges the pace, change and governance to accelerate transitions to a sustainable future.
- A Sustainability Strategy Committee will be established, comprising academic leaders, subject-matter experts from professional services, student representatives and key external advisors reporting to the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive.