Australia's first carbon neutral university
n July last year, Charles Sturt University was declared Australia’s first official carbon neutral university. The University was certified as ‘Carbon Neutral’ by the National Carbon Offset Standard – Carbon Neutral Program, administered by the Federal Department of the Environment, becoming one of only 28 organisations to be nationally recognised for their carbon neutrality. CSU’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Vann, called the official status a just reward for years of planning and investment in people, systems and infrastructure that have reduced the University’s ‘carbon footprint’. “We have shown how an organisation with nine campuses spread over a thousand kilometres in regional NSW and Victoria can operate and thrive while being aware of and showing care for the places where we live and learn. “It’s beyond the simple goals of our University Strategy, or of higher education. It goes to the heart of all Australian people, particularly our communities in regional Australia. “It shows we don’t just claim to be sustainable – we are recognised as doing the hard work and investment to earn this status.” “It means that we’ve accurately measured and quantified our total carbon footprint; we’ve undertaken a range of projects to bring that carbon footprint down, things like energy efficiency, renewable energy and alternative energy sources; and we’ve also purchased offsets to eliminate the balance of carbon emissions that we still have. “The University has had a long-standing goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2015 and has aggressively pursued energy efficiency, maintaining leadership in this area. “This is something that’s very close to CSU’s heart. As an organisation, we see ourselves as being there for the public good and acting in the spirit of the Wiradjuri phrase 'Yindyamarra Winhanganha', which roughly translates to 'the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in.' “We hope that the action we’ve taken will inspire other organisations and individuals to follow suit.”
For more than a decade, CSU has invested in programs to improve energy efficiency and raise awareness about the university’s carbon footprint among students and staff. CSU being named Australia’s first certified carbon neutral university in July this year is just one step on a continuing journey.
Professor Vann said CSU is determined to maintain its reputation as a leader in economic, social and environmental sustainability. “Now we have reached this pinnacle, the University will continue its commitment to reducing its current emissions, particularly by reducing
Reducing carbon footprint to zero
Ed Maher, the manager of CSU Green, describes becoming Australia’s first carbon neutral university as a significant achievement for CSU.