Universities Australia (UA) has endorsed the 'Commitment of Sustainable Practices of Higher Education Institutions on the Occasion of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio 2012'. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) will be held in Rio de Janeiro from 20 to 22 June 2012.
UA, as the peak representative body of Australian universities, is committed to the continuing promotion of sustainable development within the Australian education sector.
Under the United Nations Commitment, UA agree to the following principles:
- Teach sustainable development concepts, ensuring that they form a part of the core curriculum across all disciplines so that future higher education graduates develop skills necessary to enter sustainable development workforces and have an explicit understanding of how to achieve a society that values people, the planet and profits in a manner that respects the finite resource boundaries of the earth. Higher Education Institutions are also encouraged to provide sustainability training to professionals and practitioners.
- Encourage research on sustainable development issues, to improve scientific understanding through exchanges of scientific and technological knowledge, enhancing the development, adaptation, diffusion and transfer of knowledge, including new and innovative technologies.
- Green our campuses by:
i) reducing the environmental footprint through energy, water and material resource efficiencies in our buildings and facilities;
ii) adopting sustainable procurement practices in our supply chains and catering services;
iii) providing sustainable mobility options for students and faculty;
iv) adopting effective programmes for waste minimization, recycling and reuse; and
v) encouraging more sustainable lifestyles.
- Support sustainability efforts in the communities in which we reside, working with local authorities and civil society to foster more liveable, resource-efficient communities that are socially inclusive and have small environmental footprints.
- Engage with and share results through international frameworks, such as the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, led by UNESCO, the UN University system, the UN Academic Impact, the Global Compact, the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Management Education initiative and the UN Environment Programme's Environmental Education and Training initiatives, in order to exchange knowledge and experiences and to report regularly on progress and challenges.
Universities Australia vouches ongoing support for and communication with Australian universities regarding the implementation of the Commitment.
For more information please visit the Rio + 20 website or find a signed copy of the Commitment in the attachment below.