UOW commits to carbon neutrality by 2030
Targets reaffirm University’s commitment to addressing climate change
Climate change is a mounting challenge that has affected every aspect of human life, with parts of the world already experiencing hotter temperatures, and unprecedented climate changes leading to frequent wildfires, and extensive periods of drought and floods severely impacting day-to-day lives of people.
The extraordinary changes in climate patterns are creating irreversible damage to our environment and requires a stronger climate action.
The University of Wollongong (UOW) acknowledges the need to take climate action and remains committed to working towards a more sustainable future. Over the past decade, UOW has reduced its carbon footprint through educational, engineering and purchasing improvements.
In 2021, UOW engaged with its Student Advisory Council’s Climate of Youth project to endorse five key sustainable goals for both the University’s operations and for educating staff and students to become more sustainable in their private lives.
Today, ahead of World Environment Day on Sunday (5 June), UOW formally commits to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
The progress of the University’s commitment will be overseen by the Sustainable Futures Committee under the leadership of Professor Tim McCarthy.
The journey to carbon neutrality includes addressing direct and indirect emissions, which can be categorised into Scope 1, Scope 2 or Scope 3.
Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, for example gases or fuels consumed onsite. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of greenhouse gasses offsite, such as purchased electricity. Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company's value chain.
“UOW is committed to achieving carbon neutrality no later than 2030,” Professor McCarthy said.
“UOW has been working to reduce its emissions for many years. The University’s Shoalhaven Campus has already switched to 100 per cent renewable energy and aims to be a leader in renewable energy both in the region and nationally. However, achievements to date have been accomplished in the absence of a formal climate change goal.
“To achieve the target for scope 1 and 2, there will need to be improvements along several fronts including on-site power generation, reduction in power usage, and a shift in purchasing towards lower emission products and vehicles.
“Scope 3 emissions are harder to measure and will require detailed analysis and UOW’s supply chain and expenditure will need to be reviewed in detail. Scope 3 reductions and offsets will require behavioural, policy and procurement related changes.”
UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Patricia M. Davidson congratulated staff and students for their commitment to achieving a sustainable and clean future for their communities.
“I am delighted to see that UOW community is moving forward in the right direction toward achieving a sustainable future,” Professor Davidson said.
“UOW is proudly engaging with student advocates through the Student Advisory Council and industry partners to keep our 2030 net-zero commitment on track.”
The University’s Sustainable Development Goals on climate action is already making a positive impact through projects such as Petjakarta.org, ECO Antarctica, the Bushfire Research Hub and Blue Carbon and hosting annual Global Climate Change Week and bringing industry experts, community members and academics together to take action against climate change.