Charles Sturt University (CSU) has been declared
Australia's first official carbon neutral university.
On Tuesday 26 July, the institution was certified
as 'Carbon Neutral' by the National Carbon Offset Standard – Carbon Neutral
Program, administered by the Federal Department of the Environment.
CSU is currently the only Australian
university to reach this national standard, and one of only 27 organisations to
be nationally recognised for their carbon neutrality.
CSU's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Vann,
has 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'.
"With this accreditation, we hope that we can
inspire other organisations, both regional and national, to seek to achieve
these standards and do their bit for the planet," Professor Vann said.
"This award shows we don't just claim to be
sustainable, we are recognised as doing the hard work and investment to earn
CSU reached this important sustainability
milestone by reducing and offsetting its carbon emissions so that, according to
the Department of Environment, "the net emissions of the organisation are equal
Professor Vann said, "The
award demonstrates that Charles Sturt University lives by the Wiradjuri phrase Yindyamarra Winhanganha, or 'the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a
world worth living in'.
"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.
certification, Charles Sturt University is showing all Australian communities
how we can live more sustainable lives in our unique environment.
"We have shown how an organisation with nine
campuses spread over a thousand kilometres in regional New South Wales and
Victoria can operate and thrive while being aware of and showing care for the
places where we live and learn," he said.
Professor Vann is determined
that CSU will maintain its reputation as a leader in economic, social and
"Now we have reached this pinnacle, the
University will continue its commitment to reducing its current emissions,
particularly by reducing energy use using more efficient lighting and air
conditioning, and generate more energy on its campuses using solar energy
In addition to its carbon saving systems, CSU is
investing in a range of projects that provide carbon offset credits and allow
the institution to become carbon neutral. These are due to be announced in due
CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann and
Foundation Professor of Engineering, Euan Lindsay, will meet with the media at
a media conference to officially announce
the certification at 11am on Thursday 28
July. The conference will be held in the Foyer of CSU Engineering building,
building 1305, Village Drive, CSU in Bathurst.
The event will include opportunities for
pictures in the building and at a tree planting ceremony to mark the occasion.
For details and requests, contact Wes Ward (in Albury) or Bruce Andrews (in
Bathurst) at CSU Media.
See more on the announcement at the CSU
Contact CSU Media for spokespeople on other
CSU campuses – Albury-Wodonga, Dubbo, Orange, Port Macquarie, Wagga Wagga and
Wangaratta – are available for interviews and pictures on the announcement. The audio file of Professor Vann is available from CSU Media.
The University has had a long-standing goal
of achieving carbon neutrality by 2015 and has sought to aggressively pursue
energy efficiency, and maintain leadership in this area. CSU also aimed to
"encourage and assist organisations in our regional communities to achieve
their sustainability goals" (p.3).
CSU sought Carbon Neutrality status through
the National Carbon Offset Standard – Carbon Neutral Program, administered by
the Federal Department of Environment. According to Federal Department of
Environment, Carbon Neutrality is achieved when "net greenhouse gas emissions
of an organisation, a product, service or event are equal to zero. This can be
achieved by reducing emissions and then purchasing and retiring offset units to
match or 'offset' the remaining emissions." (http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/carbon-neutral/carbon-neutral-program).
The CSU submission to attain Carbon
Neutrality was prepared and submitted to the Department of Environment in March
2016, using figures from CSU's 2014 Carbon Inventory and its subsequent Carbon
Offset purchases. CSU's submission has been independently audited through the
CSU's 2014 Carbon Inventory showed the university
teaching, research and community engagement activities produced around 43 000
tonnes of carbon, of which 70 percent was from purchased electricity, 15
percent from natural gas for heating and 5 percent from long distance flights
by its staff and students. The remaining carbon production included building
construction, municipal waste, and the University vehicle fleet.
Based on these figures, CSU has been granted Carbon Neutral status.
To become carbon neutral and offset the carbon
produced, CSU has purchased carbon offset credits from projects located in
Australia and overseas that aim to reduce carbon production or absorb and store
carbon currently in the Earth's atmosphere. The projects aim to improve
national and global social outcomes, in line with the University's ethos and