University of Melbourne launches climate action plan

Professor Duncan Maskell, Thea Shields, Professor Jacqueline Peel, Allan Tait and Katie Mee
L-R: Vice-Chancellor, Professor Duncan Maskell, Wattle Fellow and Juris Doctor student, Thea Shields, Climate Futures Director, Professor Jacqueline Peel, Chief Operating Officer Allan Tait and Associate Director, Sustainability Katie Mee at the launch of the University of Melbourne's Sustainability Plan 2030.

The University of Melbourne has launched its new sustainability plan outlining a whole-of-University approach to address the global climate and sustainability crisis.

The Sustainability Plan 2030 renews and strengthens the University’s commitment to climate leadership and responds to the need over the next ‘critical decade’ for deep cuts in carbon emissions to maintain a safe climate for the planet.

Launched at an event with students, research partners, staff and members of the wider community, the new plan outlines targets and performance indicators for the University’s sustainability commitments until 2030.

This includes accelerated action to reach the dual goals of achieving carbon neutral certification by 2025 and climate positive status by 2030.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell said the University had access to a depth and breadth of research, and expertise allowing it to fulfil this leadership role in the fight to make change.

“We consider our duty to our community, including students, teachers, researchers, staff, alumni, policy makers and the general public, our utmost obligation,” Professor Maskell said.

“Within that falls our responsibility to demonstrate the power to transform our climate future.”

The Sustainability Plan 2030 builds on the significant progress made and lessons learned under the previous Sustainability Plan 2017–2020. 

It is the latest in a series of initiatives led by the University to address the climate crisis and accelerate the transition to sustainability. These include:

  • Fast-tracking the University’s existing climate targets to achieve carbon neutral certification by 2025 and climate positive status by 2030.
  • Establishing Melbourne Climate Futures last year, a multi-disciplinary research initiative bringing together researchers from different academic backgrounds to advocate for climate action.
  • Supporting graduates to shape, lead and succeed in their careers and communities by increasing the proportion of courses with sustainability related content, and developing measures for students’ and graduates’ sustainability self-efficacy.
  • Supporting researchers to design and conduct their research in line with best-practice sustainability principles.

“Change is possible, and we will lead and empower our community at every level to demonstrate greater action to keep a healthy, safe and equitable climate future in sight,” Professor Maskell said.

The new Plan will encourage work across all areas including research and climate leadership, teaching and learning, discovery, and campus operations, which is framed within the context of the communities, networks and ecosystems the University supports.

Recognising the need to reduce emissions within its investment portfolio, the University has committed to include emissions from its investments as part of its climate positive target and enhance the transparency of reporting on its investment portfolio.