The Sustainability Office has released its annual report for 2015. After a busy year it is illuminating to look back and remind ourselves of some highlights and achievements. Sustainability planning at the University of Canterbury is based on the draft ‘Sustainability Strategy 2012-2022’, which breaks sustainability planning into short, medium and long term objectives. Annual planning for sustainability at UC is handled by the Sustainability Office and the operational elements of this are encapsulated in the Engineering Services Operational Plan.
This 2015 report for the first time presents the continuous data sets collected by the Sustainability Office, in many cases since 2009. This helps to paint a picture of our overall sustainability performance, and helps us to identify some gaps in our current reporting framework (for example on biodiversity/ecological health data).
Some indicators are trending in a positive direction, including more people attending Okeover Community Gardens working bees, increasing levels of engagement through social media, and an increase in the number of cost centres purchasing Fair Trade certified products for their kitchens. There has also been a significant shift in student attitudes with respect to knowledge about sustainability practices and future employment. Other indicators remain in a steady state or are exhibiting a negative trend. The volumes of waste sent to landfill continues to increase, with a concurrent decrease in recycling an organics which is particularly concerning.
In terms of the Campus Masterplan, UC is progressing a number of significant pieces of work concerning the campus master plan. This includes a low carbon campus feasibility study, a transport management plan, a landscape concept, and a cycle plan. The Sustainability Office has developed a series of documents intended to inform these projects, which can be found here.