UNSW acknowledges and pays respect to the traditionalowners where University campuses stand at Kensington(the Bedegal people of the Eora Nation), Paddingtonand Coogee (the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation) andCanberra (the Ngunnawal peoples).Our Kensington campus is located near an 8000-year-oldcampsite around which the people of the area taught culture,history and subsistence. From an age-old past through to thepresent the site holds significance as a place for gathering,meeting, teaching and sharing.UNSW is committed to honouring Australian Aboriginal andTorres Strait Islander peoples’ unique relationships to theland, waters and seas and their rich contribution to society.
CONTENTSFrom the President and Vice-Chancellor .02Environmental sustainability at UNSW .03Campus sustainability in action .04Developing the Environmental Sustainability Plan .05The ESP at a glance .06Achieving the Global Goals .07Focus areas08a. Climate Action08b. Buildings & Campus09c. Energy & Water Efficiency10d. Waste & Recycling11e. Travel & Transport12f. Goods & Services13g. Investments14h. Engagement & Integration15i. Learning & Teaching16j. Research & Advocacy17Governance & reporting .18Roles & responsibilities .19Relevant standards & frameworks .21
Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 2FROM THE PRESIDENTAND VICE-CHANCELLOROur planet faces aseries of complexenvironmentalchallenges, frompollution of land andoceans to biodiversityloss and climatechange.A report publishedin 2018 by the UNIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Changewarned that the global community had onlyuntil 2030 to bring about the unprecedentedtransformation that is required to limit globalwarming to a maximum of 1.5 C. A recent UNreport has warned that over the coming decades,human activity will put more than one million plantand animal species at riskof extinction.Our planet is under extreme pressure and it is timethat public and corporate institutions – includinguniversities – take action that matches the scale ofthe challenge.UNSW has a long history of environmentalstewardship through education, and as leadersin research fields from advanced recycling andclimate science to renewable energy and storage.About 50% of the solar panels sold world-widetoday use UNSW-designed technology, and ouralumni are at the forefront of the photovoltaics andenergy transition industries.We are also a major investor, consumer and landholder, and our campuses form part of the dailylives of some 62,000 students and more than6,700 staff. In many ways we are like a small city,and so it is right that we grow and invest like anysustainable city would, with a responsible andclear plan.Since introducing our first Environment Policy in 1995,UNSW has shown that major change is possible: our landmark rainwater capture system seesmore than 90% of campus stormwater injectedinto the local aquifer and used to reduce ourmains water usage; our solar power purchase agreement will see ourcampus powered by 100% renewable electricityfrom 2020 – a first for an Australian university; andthe Paris commitments.This Plan will enable us torealise the bold ambition set out in UNSW’s 2025Strategy – a vision of a sustainable campus wherewe undertake teaching and research in areascritical to the future of our planet.While UNSW will show leadership where wecan, so must political and business leaders, andindividuals. A collective approach to this crisisis imperative if we are to undo or abate some ofthe catastrophic environmental damage that hasalready been done.I invite all students, staff and members of thebroader UNSW community to take ownershipof this Plan, and treat what is the greatestmoral challenge of our time with the seriousnessit deserves. improvements to waste management practicessaw 90% of our waste diverted from landfillin 2018.This Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-2021will see us build on, embed and deepen ouractivities over the next three years.Commitments include increasing our onsite solarenergy generation, reducing our total emissions inline with a 1.5 C global warming scenario as set outon the Paris Agreement, and becoming a leader byimproving our approach to responsible investing,through a process of de-carbonisingour relevant financial investments in a waythat keeps our portfolio emissions intensity withinProfessor Ian JacobsPresident and Vice-Chancellor
Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 3ENVIRONMENTALSUSTAINABILITY AT UNSWUNSW Sydney is an educationand research-intensive university,delivering outstanding teachingalongside cutting-edge research.Established in 1949 and withcampuses in Sydney and Canberra,UNSW has a unique focus onthe scientific, technological andprofessional disciplines.Environmental sustainability is a keyelement of our 2025 Strategy. Throughthis, we have made it our mission tobecome the first university in Australiato commit to having 100% of itselectricity supplied by photovoltaicsolar power.Our students and staff are activelyengaged in environmental and socialissues. We recognise that we areuniquely positioned to contributeto solving global environmentalchallenges through teaching,research, thought leadership anddemonstrating leading practices onour campuses.UNSW is committed to continuouslyimproving environmental performanceacross University operations – fromthe way we plan, construct, operateand power our buildings, reduce andmanage waste, make purchasingdecisions and travel to and around ourcampuses.Through our learning and teachingprograms we educate students aboutenvironmental issues and equipthem to understand and solve globalchallenges. Our contribution to asustainable world is underpinned byour strong research focus – helping totackle environmental challenges suchas climate change.Our vision is to be a catalyst for an environmentallysustainable future through excellence in research,teaching and campus operations.
Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 4CAMPUS SUSTAINABILITY IN ACTIONUNSW has a history of environmental stewardship across research, learning & teaching and campusoperations across several decades. The Environmental Sustainability Plan (ESP) will build on pastachievements, while raising our ambition levels to meet the environmental challenges of today.Highlights during 2018 included:SOLAR POWERPURCHASE AGREEMENTREDUCED MAINSWATER USEEXPANSION OF RAINWATERCAPTURE SYSTEMAnnounced a 15-year solar photovoltaic Power PurchaseAgreement (PPA) that will provide UNSW with 100%renewable electricity by 2020.UNSW’s Kensington campus has reduced mains wateruse by progressively transitioning to bore water, whichrepresented 44% of total water use in 2018.Our rainwater capture system was expanded and nowdrains rainwater from 90% of the campus, replenishing theBotany Sands Aquifer (the source of our bore water).90% LANDFILLDIVERSIONFIRST ‘RETURN AND EARN’MACHINE FOR A UNIVERSITYEXPANDING FACILITIESFOR CYCLISTSComingled general waste is responsibly sorted off-site,with more than 90% diverted from landfill in 2018 forrecycling, composting and waste-to-energy.A new Return and Earn reverse vending machine – the firstfor a NSW educational institution – allowed more than 2.6million containers to be recycled.104 new bicycle spaces plus six repair stations andpumps were added in 2018, bringing the total toaround 900 spaces.
Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 5DEVELOPING THEENVIRONMENTALSUSTAINABILITY PLANUNSW’s environmental sustainability program is coordinated by the Sustainabilityunit within Estate Management. The Environmental Sustainability Plan wasdeveloped during 2018 through: an internal review of current UNSW environmental sustainability performancetrends and practices benchmarking of UNSW performance and practices with leading Australianand international peer organisations consultation with more than 350 stakeholders, including students,professional and academic staff, university leadership and governmentrepresentatives – through surveys, interviewsand forums an assessment of our material environmental issues, based on the perceptionsof internal and external stakeholders.“UNSW is a world leader in research and innovation.It has a responsibility to act on the overwhelming evidencefor climate change.”UNSW Environmental Sustainability Survey 2018
Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 6THE ENVIRONMENTALSUSTAINABILITYPLAN AT A GLANCEThe Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 (ESP) outlines aroadmap towards best practice in environmental sustainabilityin the higher education sector. It defines commitments, targetsand activities across 10 key focus areas, each supportingspecific themes of the UNSW 2025 Strategy and UNSustainable Development Goals.BUILDINGS & CAMPUSWASTE & RECYCLINGMaintain treeReduce general waste per student bycanopy cover of10%28%(102,593m2) at Kensington campus10%Maintain90%Design new buildings to belandfill diversion of general wastezero emission inoperationThe ESP targets the following outcomes by 2022:ENGAGEMENT & INTEGRATIONCLIMATE ACTIONGOODS &SERVICESINVESTMENTSAlign procurementprocesses withISO 20400Establish aResponsibleInvestmentFrameworkCO2Switch our campuses to100%Set a pathway tonet zero emissionsin line with a 1.5 C globalwarming limitrenewable powerIncrease student andstaff engagementby 2020in environmental sustainabilityENERGY & WATER EFFICIENCYSave over 300keach year in energy and water costsTRAVEL & TRANSPORTIncrease active commutingby staff and students to20%LEARNING & TEACHINGEstablish a program to integrate‘SDG thinking’into learning & teaching programsRESEARCH & ADVOCACYContinue researchand thought leadershipon global environmental challengesSDGTHINKING
Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 7ACHIEVING THEGLOBAL GOALSThe United Nations SustainableDevelopment Goals (SDGs) are atthe heart of a global agenda aimingto tackle the world’s most pressingchallenges by 2030 – including endingpoverty, bringing more equitableprosperity and protecting the planet.Universities have a critical role toplay in the achievement of the SDGsthrough research, teaching andcampus operations. The EnvironmentalSustainability Plan supports UNSW’scontribution to seven of the SDGs thathave an environmental focus.GoalESP Focus AreasEnsure availability and sustainablemanagement of water and sanitationfor allEnergy & Water EfficiencyEnsure access to affordable,reliable, sustainable and modernenergy for allClimate ActionEnergy & Water EfficiencyMake cities inclusive, safe, resilientand sustainableBuildings & CampusTravel & TransportEnsure sustainable consumption andproduction patternsWaste & RecyclingGoods & ServicesEngagement & IntegrationTake urgent action to combat climatechange and its impactsClimate ActionConserve and sustainably use theoceans, seas and marine resourcesWaste & RecyclingSustainably manage forests, combatdesertification, halt and reverse landdegradation, halt biodiversity lossBuildings & CampusGoods & ServicesFor a full list of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals visit https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org
Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 8CLIMATE ACTIONIn 2018, a landmark report by the UN IntergovernmentalPanel on Climate Change (IPCC)1 warned that a rapid andunprecedented transformation is required to limit globalwarming to a ‘safe’ limit of 1.5 C. Mitigating our climateimpact, while building capacity to adapt to a changingclimate, are key challenges for UNSW.Initial analysis shows that more than 50% of our emissionsare indirect emissions associated with purchased goodsand services, travel and other activities. We will develop acomplete inventory of our direct and indirect emissions anddevelop a long-term pathway to zero emissions – alignedwith the Paris Agreement commitment of limiting globalwarming to 1.5 C.Sustainability in ActionUNSW signed a 15-yearsolar energy Power PurchaseAgreement in 2018 that willprovide the University with100% renewable electricityby 2020.The activities in each focus area of this Plan contribute toreducing our greenhouse gas emissions.Commitments Transition to renewable energy and reduce netgreenhouse gas emissions to zero Ensure our campuses and operations are resilient tofuture climate risksBy 2018, we expanded onsitesolar PV generation capacityto almost 800kW – enough topower 160 homes.Targets Reduce net emissions from building energy use to zeroby 2020. Expand onsite solar energy generation to 1.2MWp by 2022. Reduce total Scope 1, 2 and 32 emissions in line with a 1.5 Cglobal warming scenario.2025 StrategyD3: World Class EnvironmentsActivities Develop a Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions inventory andstrategy to achieve net zero emissions. Evaluate carbon pricing mechanisms. Purchase 100% renewable electricity by 2020. Develop a Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan.12 IPCC, 2018: Global warming of 1.5 C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 C Scope 1: Direct GHG emissions (e.g. mains gas); Scope 2: Indirect GHG emissions from consumption ofpurchased electricity, heat or steam; Scope 3: Other indirect emissions (e.g. travel, waste, purchased goodsand services).
Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 9BUILDINGS & CAMPUSDevelopment of our campuses presents an opportunityto provide healthy and regenerative places for learningand work that minimise use of natural resources in theirconstruction and operation. A framework will be developedestablishing our approach to sustainable design in new buildand refurbishment projects, to deliver spaces that are fit forpurpose and future proofed. This approach is underpinnedby a minimum standard for new buildings, delivering highlevels of sustainable design while allowing flexibility tochoose the rating system best suited to each project.Our approach also seeks to drive improved utilisation ofexisting spaces.Sustainability in ActionUNSW includes energy andsustainability performancerequirements in the design ofall new buildings, includinghigh-efficiency facades,solar photovoltaic cells,high-efficiency lighting andcontrols, and energy andwater sub-metering.Commitment Embed leading environmental sustainabilityprinciples and practices throughout the planningand operation of our buildings and campusesTargets Design and build new buildings to minimum 5* Green StarDesign & As Built or equivalent and 5.5* NABERS Energyequivalent by 2022.The Tyree EnergyTechnologies Building,completed in 2012, was thefirst UNSW building to have itsdesign certified as 6* underthe GBCA’s Green Starrating system. Ensure no net loss in tree canopy cover compared to the2018 baseline (28%).Activities Establish and implement a framework to embedsustainability best practices into the Estate Improvementand Estate Development programs. Ensure all planting schemes use minimum 70% indigenousspecies, with a preference for drought-resistant species. Implement one initiative each year to benefit the naturalenvironment, biodiversity or urban agriculture. Establish a life-cycle Building Information Modelling (BIM)strategy and roadmap. Design new buildings to be zero emission in operation.2025 StrategyD3: World Class Environments
Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 10ENERGY & WATER EFFICIENCYUNSW campuses are significant consumers of energy andwater, and some higher education activities are by theirnature energy and resource intensive. We aim to continuallyimprove energy and water efficiency by investing in highefficiency equipment and fittings and new technologies toimprove control of building systems. In the long term, wewill progressively electrify our campuses, transitioning fromfossil fuels such as gas to renewable energy.CommitmentsSustainability in ActionExpanded our rainwatercapture system in 2018.Water from more than 90% ofthe campus is now injectedinto the Botany Sands Aquifer,replenishing the source ofbore water used. Continually improve energy efficiency and electrifyour campuses Reduce potable water use and return water to thehydrological cycleTargets Achieve a NABERS Energy equivalent rating of 4* or abovefor 10 existing buildings by 2022. Increase average energy efficiency of existing buildings by3% by 2022. Increase water efficiency per EFTSL by 2% by 2022.In 2018, UNSW partneredwith TransGrid to install thefirst industrial-scale Teslabattery on an Australianuniversity campus as part ofa 10 year energy researchtrial. The battery can store upto 500 kWh of electricity.Activities Develop and implement an Energy & Water Strategy. Expand the building active commissioning program. Install aquifer recharge monitoring equipment. Install a bore water network for non-potable uses in allnew buildings. Ensure all new water consuming fixtures are WELS-rated. Review laboratory and equipment efficiency requirements.2025 StrategyD3: World Class Environments
Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 11WASTE & RECYCLINGWaste is the most visible environmental issue on campusand tackling single-use disposables – in particular plastics– has been identified as a key priority by the UNSWcommunity. Our strategy follows the waste hierarchy bypromoting reuse over single-use, reducing packaging andprioritising products that are recyclable. We will do this byengaging with suppliers and retailers, and improving wastemanagement facilities and practices.CommitmentSustainability in ActionAn on-campus Returnand Earn reverse vendingmachine enabled students,staff and the local communityto recycle more than 2.6million glass, plastic andmetal containers in 2018. Close the loop by minimising waste, improvingresource efficiency and managing waste responsiblyTargets Reduce general waste3 per EFTSL by 10% by 2022. Maintain general waste landfill diversion at 90% . Achieve minimum 90% recycling of construction anddemolition waste.Activities Develop and implement a Waste Management Plan.After launching food wastecollection from retail outletsand colleges in 2018,approximately 30 tonnes offood waste per month wascollected and transformedinto renewable energyand fertiliser. Implement centralised waste collection in offices andexpand food waste collection. Work with retailers and hospitality partners to eliminatesingle-use plastics wherever feasible and practical. Identify and implement circular economy initiatives. Ensure best practice recycling of construction anddemolition waste. Implement a comprehensive furniture reuse solutionand platform.3 eneral waste defined as including mixed waste from internal andGexternal areas and segregated paper, food and mixed recyclables2025 StrategyD3: World Class Environments
Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 12TRAVEL & TRANSPORTHow people travel to, from, and through our campusesis an important strategic issue for UNSW. Future growthof the University will need to be supported by public andactive transport modes in order to manage congestion andreduce pollution. We will develop a new plan to improve keyconnections to, from, and through our campuses – witha focus on pathways, wayfinding, policies and keyinfrastructure upgrades.Opportunities to reduce staff business travel have also beenidentified, including expansion and promotion of enhancedaudio-visual (AV) and video conferencing (VC) facilities.Investment in high-quality third-party carbon reductionprojects is planned to offset the environmental impact ofstaff travel.Sustainability in ActionA Bicycle Masterplanwas developed in 2014 andupdated in 2017, analysingissues related to cycling,and identifying opportunitiesfor improvem
Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 • 6 The Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 (ESP) outlines a roadmap towards best practice in environmental sustainability in the higher education sector. It defines commitments, targets and activities across 10 key focus areas, each supporting specific themes of the UNSW 2025 Strategy and UN