We are committed to leading by example and taking care of our own backyard. We are making all Victoria University campuses and spaces welcoming, inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable through collaboration with our students, our staff and our communities.
University sustainability initiative
Energy & greenhouse gas efficiency
We encourage our staff to reduce greenhouse gases by riding a bike to work, carpooling, or taking public transport. VU offers free shuttle buses to take staff and students to and from local train stations for many of our campuses.
Rainwater & recycled water
Our rainwater harvesting and backwash treatment facility at our Footscray Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre saves approximately 2 million litres of water annually. We also reuse bathroom water for our landscaping. [Read more following.]
More on water conservation
VU reduces campus water consumption through use of rainwater tanks on Footscray Park and Sunshine campuses for reticulating to bathrooms and for landscape use. Our state-of-the-art rainwater harvesting and backwash treatment facility at our Footscray Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre saves approximately 2 million litres of water annually by recycling the water for reuse in the pool. Water consumption is reduced by use of rainwater tanks at Footscray Park and Sunshine for reticulating to bathrooms and for landscape use; by reusing bathroom water for our landscaping; and by limiting the use of mains fed sprinklers on campus.
5 Star Green Buildings
All new buildings at VU are designed to a minimum '5 Star Green Star – Education' rating. The Sport and Learning Precinct building at Footscray Park Campus features an array of sustainable design features and state-of-the-art sport and exercise science facilities and learning spaces.
Waste & recycling
Almost everything can be re-used or recycled at VU! We provide recycle bins for paper, cardboard, bottles, cans, plastic, toner cartridges and scrap metal (Sunshine Campus). Mobile phones can be recycled in special bins located at each library and we reuse furniture and electronic equipment in our offices and teaching areas too.
The University is working on a number of initiatives aimed at improving our focus on Ethical Procurement. In addition to Policy and Procedure updates, Modern Slavery compliance and awareness in our supply chain will also be an important initiative in 2022.
Renewable energy purchase
Victoria University entered into a power purchase agreement to procure 100% renewable electricity on 1 July 2021. The agreement, with Iberdrola Australia, aligns with the university’s new strategic direction and its commitment to working to Protect Country. Victoria University’s commitment to renewable energy will reduce carbon emissions by an average of 23,305 tonnes of CO2-e per annum.
The Iramoo Wildflower Grassland Reserve adjacent to our St Albans campus is one of the last remaining pockets of Indigenous flora and fauna in the region. The Iramoo Grassland Centre and Nursery at St Albans is dedicated to the conservation and regeneration of the flora indigenous to the region. The centre features a Bush Food display garden of plants used by Aboriginal people which offers a self-guided tour.
Campus & regional greening
VU has commenced a series of landscaping projects for campus greening that emphasise water conservation and biodiversity through the use of water hardy indigenous plants and opportunities to embed water capture. We are working with west of Melbourne communities groups and local councils to replant using flora indigenous to the region to preserve biodiversity and for water conservation.
Staff & student initiatives
Buy, swap & sell at VU
In the spirit of planetary health, this group has been established with the intention of encouraging everyone at VU to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Help limit your contributions to landfill by recycling your preloved goods through our Yammer community forum (staff only).
Offices without single-use plastic
Our aim is to stop use of single-use plastics and takeaway cups, and to recycle in VU's offices. We supply reusable cups and bags, and take office material for recycling.
To find out more email [email protected].
Cafes & shops without single-use plastic
VU values sustainability and as is partnering with on-campus retailers and researchers to phase out single-use plastics and find alternative sustainable-packaging solutions.
Email your interest to [email protected].
Net zero principles
- Protecting Country: We have a responsibility, in all that we do – our research, our teaching, on our campuses and in our communities – to improve the health and wellbeing of our local and global communities, and the planet that we share. We acknowledge that First Nations peoples have long espoused the cultural, social, economic and environmental benefits embedded in the holistic relationship of Protecting Country. We respect and embrace this perspective.
- Ethical & credible: We will deliver on the expectations of the current and future staff and students by taking the ethical responsibility to treat the climate crisis as an emergency and deliver real results.
- Seizing opportunities: The transition to net zero will present many opportunities for the University, through funding, partnerships, anticipating policy shifts, and emerging research and innovation. By setting an ambitious target and achieving that, Victoria University can maximise opportunities as an early leader.
- Demonstrating leadership: We will demonstrate moral leadership, delivering what we know to be important (walk the talk). Society looks to universities to provide guidance and leadership, and the net zero transition requires this.
- Changing the future: We recognise that we can influence beyond the boundary of the University and transform people's lives and future workplaces through strategy and educational programs.
Going beyond our own boundary
Our net zero plan represents opportunities to expand our influence and challenge our partner organisations. This includes emissions within our reporting boundary such as our paper supplier, power purchase agreement (PPA) and cloud computing provider. We need to mandate net zero reporting requirements to these partners.
This should also influence which retail outlets and organisations we partner with on our campuses. We will influence for net zero with these organisations.
Ultimately, we recognise the biggest impact we can have as an organisation is to inspire and encourage our staff and students to change their lives and use their research and future workplaces to amplify the global community to decarbonise.
- Mandate net zero within our boundary.
- Influence and advocate partners outside our boundary.
- Amplify impacts in the global community.
Developing VU into a green, sustainable & climate-smart campus
This project will develop a green living lab on VU campuses, which will comprise green roofs, walls and facades. Such a living lab will be used for both research and teaching.
The first of VU’s Green-Living Labs, a rooftop garden of native plants and wetland area, was installed in 2020 at Footscray Park campus. The living lab is used for research, teaching and community education on the value of green infrastructure for building thermal properties, to counter the urban heat island effect, for the quality of water run-off capture and to boost biodiversity across sites. Guided tours of the living lab for school and community groups have commenced and are part of community events on the campus.
Biodiversity on VU campuses
In partnership with researchers, Moondani Balluk, academic staff, students and facilities, we will create a series of projects to enhance each campus's local biodiversity and sustainability.
Email: [email protected]
Greening the west
'Greening the West' is a regional initiative to enrich communities in Melbourne’s west through the development of green spaces. Urban greening can be a low-cost strategy that will bring high-impact results – environmentally, economically and, crucially, for the health and wellbeing of the communities of the west. VU has joined with key organisations in the Greening the West alliance in support of place-based planetary health, and will look to join existing initiatives (e.g. 1 Million Trees for Melbourne’s West) and advocate for new projects to make the west greener.
Email: [email protected]
Website: Greening the West