Sustainability - Governing Policy - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Sustainability - Governing Policy

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Approval authority
Responsible Executive member
Vice-Chancellor and President
Designated officer
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
First approved
13 October 2009
Last amended
10 December 2019
Review date
28 June 2021
Related documents
Sustainability - Procedures
Linked documents
Sustainability - Procedures

1. Purpose of policy

This policy expresses the University’s commitment to supporting the creation of a sustainable future and to embedding sustainability principles and practices throughout learning and teaching, research, community engagement and operational activities.

2. Policy scope and application

This policy applies to all University staff, students, visitors and contractors when they are engaged in University activities.

3. Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to this policy and are critical to its effectiveness:

Sustainability means the enhancement of communities into the indefinite future without impinging on the value of natural systems. It is achieved through promoting equity within and between generations, conservation of biodiversity and natural systems and the wise use of resources. Sustainability enhances the interdependency and resilience of economic, environmental and social systems.

4. USC commitment

The University is committed to supporting the creation of a sustainable future through its teaching, research, community engagement and operations and through the provision of leadership at the local, national and international level.

5. Sustainability principles

5.1 Culture and governance

5.1.1 The University will make sustainability an organisational priority.

5.1.2 Sustainability considerations will be embedded in decision-making at all levels of the organisation, including strategic and operational planning and processes.

5.2 Teaching and research

5.2.1 The University will encourage sustainability to be addressed in all undergraduate academic programs.

5.2.2 The University will encourage the advancement of sustainability-related research.

5.2.3 The University will provide opportunities and support to further develop and innovate in sustainability teaching and research.

5.3 Corporate practices

5.3.1 The University will establish measurable targets and goals for the implementation of sustainable practices and establish regular and consistent reporting against progress.

5.3.2 Legislative and regulatory requirements for sustainability will be met and exceeded where possible and the University will aim to achieve exemplary practices for higher education institutions.

5.3.3 The University will plan and take action to support diversity across staff and student profiles and will work to support the health and well-being of all USC staff and students.

5.3.4 The University will promote and foster an ethos and awareness of sustainability through the provision of education and/or training to staff, students, visitors and contractors.

5.3.5 Environmental Sustainable Design (ESD) principles will be incorporated in the planning and development of new and existing buildings.

5.3.6 Biodiversity will be protected and, where possible, enhanced.

5.3.7 The University will strive to minimise the consumption of energy, water and other resources (both natural and manufactured) and will work to manage its carbon footprint.

5.3.8 The reuse and recycling of resources will be promoted and encouraged and waste will be managed responsibly.

5.3.9 The use of sustainable forms of travel by staff and students will be promoted and encouraged.

5.4 Community engagement

5.4.1 The University will proactively engage and collaborate with industry, government and the broader community, including local traditional owners, to promote sustainability within the local region and beyond.

5.4.2 The University will communicate relevant sustainability information, and report on the University’s sustainability performance, to staff, students, partners and the wider community.

6. Responsibilities

6.1 All organisational units and faculties will incorporate consideration of sustainability within their annual operational plans.

6.2 Managers and supervisors have overall responsibility for sustainability and are accountable for the sustainable performance and effective implementation of sustainable systems in their area of operation.

6.3 Staff and students have a responsibility to follow and embrace sustainability processes and procedures where they exist.