University of Melbourne signs sustainability and biodiversity pledge

The University of Melbourne is leading a campaign to deliver solutions to biodiversity decline.

The University of Melbourne has signed on as a founding member of the Nature Positive Universities Alliance, further reinforcing its commitment to preserving biodiversity and championing sustainability.

The alliance, which Oxford University and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced on 8 December at the UN Biodiversity Conference as part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, calls for members of its network of over 400 universities worldwide to work together to promote nature on their campuses, in their supply chains and within their cities and communities.

By taking the pledge, the University commits to:

  • Carry out baseline assessments
  • Set specific, time-limited and measurable targets for nature
  • Take bold action to reduce biodiversity impacts, protect and restore species and ecosystems, while influencing others to do the same
  • Transparent annual reporting.

As the effects of climate change worsen, Australia is suffering catastrophic declines in local plants, animals and ecosystems, which threaten human health, economy, and food systems. The University is leading the campaign to deliver solutions to biodiversity decline.

‘Strengthening our biodiversity commitments by making this pledge means that the University of Melbourne will not only halt, but reverse nature loss, so we can start to see our species and ecosystems recover,’ said Professor Jacqueline Peel, Director of Melbourne Climate Futures.

‘This is a vital piece of the complex but crucial struggle to combat the effects of climate change, which the University is leading not just through its research, but also its actions.’

The University of Melbourne’s Sustainability Plan 2030 sets a ‘no net loss’ policy for on-campus biodiversity and identifies healthy ecosystems as a key outcome, establishing targets to:

  • Achieve no net biodiversity loss on any campus by 2025
  • Achieve an increase in biodiversity on every campus by 2030.

Biodiversity levels will be measured in comparison to information established by the Biodiversity Baseline Data Project, and improved by implementing detailed action planning around:

  • Effective data collection
  • Landscape and ecosystem protection and enhancement in campus planning
  • Biodiversity requirements set in University design standards, such as the Green Star Rating System
  • Aligning biodiversity targets with climate leadership and water management.

The announcement comes days after the launch of the Biodiversity Council, hosted by the University of Melbourne and established alongside 10 other founding universities.