Murdoch University has become the first university in Western Australia to become a signatory to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The 17 SDGs were agreed by UN member states in 2015 and aim to end extreme poverty, promote prosperity and well-being, protect the environment, address climate change, and encourage good governance, peace and security.
Murdoch Vice Chancellor Eeva Leinonen said Murdoch had signed the commitment because universities had a vital role to play in addressing these critical global challenges through education, research and in daily operations.
“Universities like Murdoch have a responsibility through our teaching to prepare the next generation of ethical leaders, innovators and thinkers to understand and tackle the challenges facing the world,” Professor Leinonen said."Through our research in internationally-recognised centres like the Harry Butler Institute, and training of research leaders, Murdoch is at the forefront of finding sustainable social, economic, environmental and technical solutions to global problems.
“Our teaching and research priorities already facilitate student engagement in all 17 of the SDGs, and signing the commitment demonstrates our obligation to enhance our efforts.
“We can also pioneer innovation and set an example to other sectors and businesses through our own operations.”
Reduced energy consumption
Murdoch University has a longstanding reputation as being ahead of the curve on sustainability, social justice and environmental research, teaching and learning.
In the last four years, the University has reduced its energy consumption by 26 per cent thanks to the installation of energy saving technology and systems in lighting, air conditioning and cooling.
It is currently developing a construction waste management plan to ensure materials such as lighting systems are recycled to other parts of the University wherever possible.
In addition, the University has developed and implemented a policy that for every tree felled on campus, a further three are planted. It also works closely with an on-campus volunteer group to maintain biodiversity on campus (such as populations of quendas and black cockatoos) while managing fire risk.
Sustainability manager Leah Knapp said the Commitment would provide an additional driver for sustainable operations, such as reducing waste to landfill and plastic waste, reducing overall carbon emissions, protecting and enhancing campus biodiversity and supporting student welfare.
“We would like the Sustainable Development Goals to be embedded into our everyday practices at Murdoch, and we are currently mapping our existing governance and academic activities to help us identify areas for improvement,” she said.