- Charles Sturt releases Sustainability Scorecard for World Environment Day
- The University maintained best practices in sustainability despite obstacles created by COVID-19
- World Environment Day is on Saturday 5 June
Charles Sturt University has released the 2020 Sustainability Scorecard, which details activities and achievements that cement the University’s commitment to environmental sustainability and building upon being Australia’s first certified Carbon Neutral University.
The release coincides with World Environment Day on Saturday 5 June, which is the United Nations’ designated day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment.
Charles Sturt Manager of Sustainability Mr Ed Maher said despite what was a tough year, the University did not lose sight of the big picture.
“On this special day we share our annual Sustainability Scorecard,” he said.
“Whilst 2020 was an incredibly tough year for all, Charles Sturt continued to implement best practice in sustainability and ranked 61st overall in the Times Higher Education 2020 Impact Rankings.
“We observed a very significant downturn in utility consumption and associated carbon emission figures in 2020, which was expected with the COVID-19 restrictions.”
Mr Maher noted that while there were less staff and students on campus, Charles Sturt continued to work on the 254 hectares of biodiversity zones across the University’s seven campuses at Albury-Wodonga, Wagga Wagga, Canberra, Dubbo, Orange, Bathurst and Port Macquarie.
Work carried out included planting trees, installing squirrel glider nest-boxes, monitoring endangered species including the Sloane’s froglet, installing composting bays, replacing mown turf areas with native grass and shrub regeneration, erosion control, and completing remediation work.
“We hosted virtual farm tours at the Wagga Wagga campus covering an overview of biodiversity, farm plantings to revegetate the landscape, natural resource management of water and soil, threats including weeds, feral species and habitat loss, and ongoing monitoring,” he said.
“We continued capital works, including installing more solar panels across our campuses to generate clean energy, constructing electric vehicle charging stations for our fleet and completing stage 2a of the Port Macquarie campus construction. We also funded a range of sustainability projects through our annual grants program”.
While the University achieved a lot in 2020, Mr Maher said there is still a huge amount to do in this space and he is committed to making sure sustainability is embedded across the organisation.
Charles Sturt was recognised as Australia’s first carbon neutral university and has produced the Sustainability Scorecard for 15 years.
Key achievements in that time include: installing 14,300 solar panels, planting more than 22,000 native trees since 2020, establishing a mandatory sustainability-focussed induction for staff, a commitment to equip graduates with skills and knowledge in sustainable practices and investing more than $1 million in internal sustainability projects via a competitive grant program.
The University recognises and acknowledges the diversity and unique position of First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of Australia and the islands of the Torres Strait, in accordance with local First Nations laws and customs. The University also recognises that sustainable practices are inherent within First Nations culture and seeks to learn from this.
The scorecard can be viewed on the Sustainability at Charles Sturt website.