Sustainability Charter

The Sustainability Charter - what is the story?

Read the Sustainability Charter

  • What is the Sustainability Charter?

    The University developed a Sustainability Charter, as foreshadowed in July 2015 through its strategic document, Growing Esteem 2015-2020. Students, staff, alumni and our community were consulted over ten weeks in the development of the Charter.

    The Sustainability Charter is a framework for embedding social and environmental sustainability across all facets of University work. The Charter articulates a set of high-level principles and commitments that will be translated into priority actions through the Sustainability Plan.

  • So the Charter and Plan are different?

    Yes but interrelated. The Sustainability Charter articulates a set of high-level principles and commitments that will be translated into priority actions through the Sustainability Plan.

    The Sustainability Plan 2016-2020 will map each commitment to the relevant policy and strategy area and identify priority actions needing to be undertaken. Metrics, targets and a reporting framework will be developed to ensure the intent and commitments of the Charter are fully realised and to provide transparency of progress.

  • Does the Charter address divestment?

    Divestment is an important issue for the University community, which is captured in the Charter’s commitment to sustainable investment. The University of Melbourne will implement investment strategies consistent with the University’s commitment to sustainability and its financial and legal responsibilities.

  • What is the timeline for this Charter?
    July 2015

    The Sustainability Charter was announced.

    14 October 2015

    An initial consultation draft is made public for consultation right up until the end of December.

    19 October 2015

    The Sustainable Campus team and Sustainability Executive will be on South Lawn from 12-2pm looking for your consultation.

    December 2015

    Sustainability Charter Consultation Forum – December 16

    End of Consultation Period for Sustainability Charter – December 31

    February 2016

    University Executive Considers Approval of Charter – February 24th.

    March 2016

    University Council Considers Approval of Charter – March 16th

    Release and Virtual Launch of the Final Charter – March 18th

    April - June 2016

    Calls For Engagement on Sustainability Plan – Consultation Period

    July 2016

    University Executive Considers Sustainability Plan Approval – July 20th

    August 2016

    University Council Considers Sustainability Plan Approval – August 10th

    Release and Launch of the Final Sustainability Plan – 2nd Half of August

  • Who was involved in developing the charter?

    The Sustainability Executive has developed the draft consultation Sustainability Charter and will oversee the consultation process and finalisation of the Charter and Sustainability Plan. The Sustainability Executive comprises academics, professional staff members and students who are both passionate about this subject and experts in their field.

    Sustainability Executive Membership

    Members

    Professor Rachel Webster

    Professor Richard James

    Professor Tom Kvan

    Professor Brendan Gleeson

    Associate Professor Kath Williams

    Mr Allan Tait

    Mr Adrian Collette AM

    Mr Chris White

    Ms Clare Walker

    Ms Rachel Withers (please note - joined after the draft consultation was developed)

    Mr Jim Smith  (please note - joined after the draft consultation was developed)

    Ms Danielle Rostan-Herbert

    Mr James Baker (please note - joined from November 2015)

  • Who was consulted in developing the Charter?
    • University Council
    • Chancellery Executive
    • Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute Executive Committee
    • Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute Advisory Board
    • Melbourne Social Equity Institute Executive Committee
    • Students, academic and professional staff and alumni, community
    • University Executive
    • Academic Board
    • Finance Committee
    • Investment Management Committee
    • Buildings & Estates Committee
    • Melbourne Energy Institute - Executive Committee
  • How can I provide consultation on the Charter?

    Consultation for the Charter is now closed, but from April you will be able to provide consultation for the Sustainability Plan.

  • Past Consultation Events

    Consultation for the Charter is now closed, but from April you will be able to provide consultation for the Sustainability Plan.

    • Please read the draft Charter available here. Then provide your consultation submission via (submissions have closed). Please note we will place submissions on this website. If you do not wish for us to include your submission please let us know when you submit.
    • Attend the consultation events and have your say:

    October

    Sustainable campus team & Sustainability Executive on South Lawn – Monday 19th October, 12pm - 2pm

    November

    GSA Charter Forum – Monday 23rd November 2015.

    December

    Sustainability Charter Forum

    Don't miss out on the last major event of the year!
    Be a part of the discussion on how the University can lead and act on sustainability and climate change in the coming years.

    The University's Sustainability Charter Forum on Wednesday 16th December will be moderated by Maxine McKew and feature significant policymakers and academics:

    • Professor Ross Garnaut, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, Faculty of Business and Economics
    • Ms Ellen Sandell MLA, State Member for Melbourne
    • Mr Allan Tait, Vice-Principal Administration & Finance and Chief Financial Officer
    • UMSU Environment Representative

    When: Wednesday, 16th December, 12:30pm - 2:30pm
    Where: FBE-G06 (Prest Theatre), Building 105, Barry St
    RSVP: http://go.unimelb.edu.au/v3ia

    This is a summary of the findings from the Sustainability Survey which was filled out by students and staff at the South Lawn Consultation event on Monday, 19 October.

    • 29 out of 50 responses indicated that divestment is the most meaningful commitment the University could take to address climate change.
    • Survey respondents saw leadership and education (particularly of students) as the Uni's most important role in contributing to social change.
    • Responses were positive with regards to the University's work reducing waste, changing light bulbs, saving water, installing solar panels and other basic operational activities.
    • Divestment and operational actions were deemed the areas most in need of addressing.
    • 40% of the respondents hadn't heard about the Charter before the South Lawn Consultation event, others were not too sure about the details.
    • On the topic of the most valuable purpose of the Charter and Plan, respondents saw leadership/change and the setting of targets/vision as the highest priority.
  • Feedback Received

    We will be updating this page with the consultation feedback received by our Sustainability Charter mailbox.

    Please find here responses to general and divestment related feedback.


    Congratulations on the development of a great Charter.

    I think this is an important step to embed economic, social and environmental sustainability into our work practices.

    The Charter provides a strong framework to anchor future strategic decision making and target setting within the new Melbourne Operating Model.

    Please keep me informed of future consultation events as I'd like to know how others view the charter.

    - James P.


    As a recent alumni of the University of Melbourne's Bachelor of Science, I wish to provide feedback on the sustainability charter.

    There needs to be a more strongly worded approach to the position the charter takes on the university's fossil fuel investments - one that directly calls for divestment from all corporations with fossil fuel interests.

    This is important and unavoidable for several key reasons.

    The charter states confidently that it adheres to several of the university's fundamental principles, including leading *by example*, and by taking action, *urgent if necessary*. By not divesting from its dirty fossil fuel investments, the university is failing both of these fundamental principles.

    It is my view that continuing financial support for fossil fuel corporations is hindering the transition to a low carbon economy; whilst the university continues in this fashion, everything else in this charter is just greenwashing.

    A smattering of research and a some climate change-themed breadth subjects is like pissing in the wind compared with the financial and political power of corporate coal burners, especially when they are financially supported by the University of Melbourne.

    Another crucial component is this: if divestment is not committed to in this document, no one will value it any more than the paper it is written on. Certainly not the 97% of the university community who voted for divestment last year. They will see it for the cynical greenwash that it is - tarred by the same brush that shows UoM is still beholden to the coalface.

    Prove the doubters wrong by demanding action of yourselves. Demand divestment.

    NB: I am not associated with any of the climate movements; I am simply a former student who is ashamed of the spinelessness of his graduating university.

    - Julian M.


    Leadership - you claim that the university operates from this fundamental principle. Fossil Free MU, a great campaign that makes a political and literal statement to monopolising (environmentally hazardous) corporations, has been around for two years and still hasn't been allowed through. Students want divestment, I want a degree from a university that (taught me all about the severe and extremely depressing environmental events going on) is fossil free.

    Transparency and accountability - you claim that the university aims to be this, yet Fossil Free MU was refused a meeting in it's initial stages. A lot of nontransparency and nonaccountability occurs but because no one is aware of it it is allowed to continue to those in powers' wishes.

    Sustainability isn't just about research, more importantly it is about action and communication and solidarity.

    Additionally, for something getting increasingly more severe each year, it is still not a priority.

    The amount of students I meet with no global understanding of what is actually going on in the world deeply concerns me and nullifies any merit to the university's claim to being the number one university of Australia - sorry.

    Degrees will be meaningless in a collapsing climate. Seems a bit obvious to me.

    - Rachel B.


    Please keep me informed on the November Public Consultation.

    - Rupert C.


    Thank you for the opportunity to have input into the university's sustainability charter. Having read the draft, I must say it sounds very good as it is. There are some great commitments that the university is making. As an institution with significant local, national and global influence, as well as prestige, it's good to see the university taking a stand.

    However, in the item discussing the commitment to investment in low carbon concerns, I thought that the university should be more explicit. I think it's vital to the growth and success of the Sustainability movement that prominent institutions, such as UoM, come out and clearly announce their disinvestment in fossil fuels and that industry. In doing so the university would make a bold and encouraging statement about the importance of sustainability. It would join renowned bodies such as the University of Oxford (partial), the British Medical Association, Australian National University and others, who have made a public commitment to divest from fossil fuels.

    I encourage you, on behalf of students both present and future, to give a great charter teeth!

    - James K


    I think it is time to divest from fossil fuels.

    The uni has enough resources to find suitable alternative investments.

    - Lachlan A.


    This Charter is refreshing in its scope but disappointing in the detail; the "devil" is always in the detail.

    Who could possibly argue with:

    The fundamental principles … Leadership, through example, globally, nationally and locally … and Transparency and accountability, in all institutional decision-making and activity [for example] or

    The key Commitments

    *             Active engagement with all sectors to drive progress

    *             Embedding sustainable practices in all of the University's operations

    *             Integration of sustainability principles into its decision-making

    The devil is in the detail

    The University will develop and maintain its campuses as living laboratories of sustainable communities. Sounds important, but what does it mean? Unless the University establishes measurable benchmarks through which to measure progress … these "living laboratories" will reveal little that is meaningful. More specifically, under the Green Star Building Rating System, there is no guarantee that high ratings [eg five star] will achieve carbon neutral and water balanced buildings [for example]. The University must aim to provide a carbon neutral, zero energy, zero water and zero waste working and learning environment.

    Concerning the financial investment priorities of the University, having [and using] positive investment screens that focus upon sectors and organisations that lead in the delivery of a low carbon future is fine; but, it needs to be MATCHED by negative screens that RULE out investments in those sectors that PROFIT from the fossil fuel industry.

    And again, being consultative, open and accountable in reporting progress is quite laudable, but these commitments should NOT await the finalisation of this Charter. In the built environment space, the University embarked on a major project [$100,000] in 2014 to develop a new urban design framework for the Parkville campus. It was planned to finalise a Campus Development Framework by mid-2014. The Draft Framework was to be made available for community review prior to final approval. It is now October 2015 … what happened? Where is the transparency and accountability with this major planning exercise?

    - Ewan O.


    Divest from fossil fuels!!

    - Indigo M.N


    What is the energy consumption of the outdoor TV screens broadcasting public service announcements at the Parkville campus.......?

    - Christopher D.


    I commend the University for drafting a Sustainability Charter suitable to the institution.  The Charter references reporting progress against commitments, however it is ambiguous (and therefore flexible) and does not indicate if such reporting will detail the actions related to the commitments or delivery on the outcomes of the commitment and therefore the value on sustainability.

    Outcomes of the commitments would be a beneficial approach to reporting and align with the movement in sustainability reporting.  It would be worthy to consider including a reference to outcome measurement.

    - Teagan L.


    I write to you to provide feedback on the published draft of the University's Sustainability Charter. I note that the Charter is thorough if not sufficiently explicit in its aims, and that the main question that interests students now lies in equitable implementation.

    I also acknowledge the sustained efforts of Fossil Free divestment activists to seek the total extraction of the university from involvement in fossil fuel-related investments. Let it be known that I fully support this outcome and I intend to hold the University to account on this.

    In particular I note the following clauses:

    Conduct research that contributes significantly to knowledge and action across the interdisciplinary dimensions of sustainability;

    Support researchers across different fields to work collectively on environmental problems; and

    Use sustainability principles to guide decisions about research funding, conduct and communication

    The University being primarily an institution of research and learning has the responsibility and license to be unrelenting in climate advocacy. Money that has been taken out of fossil fuel investments should be re-invested in research on the development and application of clean energy and sustainable manufacturing. The university should guarantee ample funding for such work and open up the results as far as possible to ensure maximum uptake of these technologies. Further, the University should exercise its control over research sponsors and funding to expel fossil fuel companies and other major polluting industries from provision of research grants and sponsorship of events like careers fairs.

    Be a leading voice in raising public awareness and advancing and influencing policy discussion and debate

    The staff at this university and others are most familiar with the pressing reality of anthropomorphic climate change. As a major generator of new research, the University cannot afford to be equivocal on the threat that humanity faces. I call on the University to manifest this clause in the form of frequent, substantive commentary in the public climate 'debate'. This institution is better positioned  than most to publicly humiliate and destroy the climate denialism that has inhibited action on climate change for so long.

    I note with concern the material that has been released with this draft, which appears to indicate an insular position on the meaning of 'sustainable campus'. There is a big difference between absolving the university itself from contributing to climate change and actually contributing to meaningful action on clean energy, public transport and other issues outside the university. Purchasing solar panels and water recycling systems will be of no use if the University does not take the lead in challenging the entrenched interests in business and government that perpetuate the carbon economy and inequitable attempts at its solution. The University has no further interest on behalf of students and staff in pandering to these institutions.

    Students and staff will be watching the development of the University's climate plan keenly, and will be expecting quantifiable, bold and transformative objectives to be set. There is no more time for token gestures of self-righteousness.

    - Jason W.


    I'm part of the alumni network and staff from the University. I just filled out the survey you prepared for the consultation in Campus. I was wondering where can I get the link to the survey because I have many colleagues and friends who couldn't attend to the consultation today.

    It would be really useful if you publish the survey on your webpage.

    - Angela R.


    I am currently studying an IP law postgrad, having studied an Environmental Law Masters. Ecological Sustainability, Environment Sustainability and Sustainable Development (they are all linked but different) have been a long term interest of mine.

    The biggest flaw in approaches to 'sustainability' are linear thinking and cost minimisation (those dreaded low hanging fruit). I am an architect studying law. So I am very aware that linear thinking is brilliant for some things - it seems to be an essential and valuable part of legal reasoning and often scientific thinking - but deadly to others. Architectural thinking is iterative. It is essentially about reconciling competing priorities, systemic and integrated thinking using both the imagination and reason. It has to strike a balance. And this balance has to be struck within time and budget constraints in the physical world of everyday life.

    Also architecture uses and depends on the environment in multiple ways. We are essentially transforming natural resources to provide dwelling places for human beings situated on, in and subject to the environment. (But we are more easily able to ignore that we share the planet with other species.) It is possible that we neglect the contribution of the song bird and other creatures to our well being and joy, especially as urban dwellers.

    From the start of my research interest in the area it has been next to impossible to shift peoples thinking from energy efficiency ( which has more to do with peak oil ) and human development ( more closely aligned with international aid ) to a more nuanced thinking.

    If I am able to be of assistance within a community of scholars perhaps it might be possible to start the conversation with the charter? Perhaps a COP/MOP process for the disciplines to bring their perspectives to the table might be a place to start to really comprehend the parameters of the challenge ahead?

    - Christine S.


    I had 2 comments for the sustainability charter.

    1.            It seems that milk is automatically provided to a lot of buildings/groups and I'm sure it often gets thrown out, and we now know that milk is not that good for people, or the environment. I think if people want to use milk they can bring/buy this themselves. In stead, provide herbal tea or fruit!

    2.            Union house on campus comprises many food outlets. I would say 95% of the food served there is very unhealthy fast food, high in saturated fat and salt or sugar. It would be very good for the environment, but also our staff and students, to ensure there are predominantly healthy food options available. Non-processed, plant based, low in fat, salt and sugar. The farmers market on Wednesdays is highly popular and a more permanent inclusion of healthy food options would be a massive improvement.

    - Claudia M.


    Please don't barbeque animal flesh in the name of sustainability!!

    - Nikki J.


    Thank you for the email that a retiree happened to read by chance!

    I wondered how this fits in with past commitments, including to the Talloires declaration as mentioned on the website .. At least it should be consistent.. The new charter takes up at least Points 2,3,5,7.. But it may be worth considering all.

    Are they similar to our commitments under Universities Australia, and Universitas 21?

    From current website… http://environment.unimelb.edu.au/about_us/our_commitment_to_sustainability

    OUR COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY

    The Graduate Environmental Program plays a critical role in educating students for a more sustainable world. A number of key university documents such as the Environmental Policy, the Sustainability Forum Terms of Reference and the Graduate Attributes can be found on theSustainable Campus website. The University also maintains external commitments through the Talloires Declaration, Universities Australia, and Universitas 21.

    -------------------------------

    https://www.unimelb.edu.au/publications/docs/environment_plan2005.pdf Updating with the many stories of people and projects this year , including from MSSI would be good

    In 2002, the University signed the Talloires Declaration. It joined 300 other higher education institutions from around the world, affirming the importance of the environment as a foundation of tertiary education and practice.

    ---------------------------------------------

    THE TALLOIRES DECLARATION

    We, the presidents, rectors, and vice chancellors of universities from all regions of the world are deeply concerned about the unprecedented scale and speed of environmental pollution and degradation, and the depletion of natural resources.

    Local, regional, and global air and water pollution; accumulation and distribution of toxic wastes; destruction and depletion of forests, soil, and water; depletion of the ozone layer and emission of "green house" gases threaten the survival of humans and thousands of other living species, the integrity of the earth and its biodiversity, the security of nations, and the heritage of future generations. These environmental changes are caused by inequitable and unsustainable production and consumption patterns that aggravate poverty in many regions of the world.

    We believe that urgent actions are needed to address these fundamental problems and reverse the trends. Stabilization of human population, adoption of environmentally sound industrial and agricultural technologies, reforestation, and ecological restoration are crucial elements in creating an equitable and sustainable future for all humankind in harmony with nature.

    Universities have a major role in the education, research, policy formation, and information exchange necessary to make these goals possible. Thus, university leaders must initiate and support mobilization of internal and external resources so that their institutions respond to this urgent challenge.

    We, therefore, agree to take the following actions:

    1. Increase Awareness of Environmentally Sustainable Development
    Use every opportunity to raise public, government, industry, foundation, and university awareness by openly addressing the urgent need to move toward an environmentally sustainable future.

    2. Create an Institutional Culture of Sustainability
    Encourage all universities to engage in education, research, policy formation, and information exchange on population, environment, and development to move toward global sustainability.

    3. Educate for Environmentally Responsible Citizenship
    Establish programs to produce expertise in environmental management, sustainable economic development, population, and related fields to ensure that all university graduates are environmentally literate and have the awareness and understanding to be ecologically responsible citizens.

    4. Foster Environmental Literacy For All
    Create programs to develop the capability of university faculty to teach environmental literacy to all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

    5. Practice Institutional Ecology
    Set an example of environmental responsibility by establishing institutional ecology policies and practices of resource conservation, recycling, waste reduction, and environmentally sound operations.

    6. Involve All Stakeholders
    Encourage involvement of government, foundations, and industry in supporting interdisciplinary research, education, policy formation, and information exchange in environmentally sustainable development. Expand work with community and nongovernmental organizations to assist in finding solutions to environmental problems.

    7. Collaborate for Interdisciplinary Approaches
    Convene university faculty and administrators with environmental practitioners to develop interdisciplinary approaches to curricula, research initiatives, operations, and outreach activities that support an environmentally sustainable future.

    8. Enhance Capacity of Primary and Secondary Schools
    Establish partnerships with primary and secondary schools to help develop the capacity for interdisciplinary teaching about population, environment, and sustainable development.

    9. Broaden Service and Outreach Nationally and Internationally
    Work with national and international organizations to promote a worldwide university effort toward a sustainable future.

    10. Maintain the Movement
    Establish a Secretariat and a steering committee to continue this momentum, and to inform and support each other's efforts in carrying out this declaration.

    - Graham B.


    My name is Stephen and I am a Masters of Screenwriting student at VCA. I am also a social entrepreneur and with my co-founder Eleanor Meyer, built and developed the Sustain Me App. Victorias premier, recycling and sustainability information portal. What Google is to the internet we are to recycling, up cycling and donating. We currently work with two of State Government of Victoria's recycling and environmental agenicies (Sustainability Victoria and Metro Waste Management) along with several large metropolitan councils.

    The Draft charter is a good first step towards ensuring sustainable actions are taken. However, I would be interested in learning and finding out how I can offer my services to see how the action manifests. We have been working with Monash to develop a waste and sustainability platform and I would be happy to come and speak with your team about some of the issues we are addressing and how we are helping to make universities a better place.

    To learn more about us please, download the Sustain Me app, free on google play or iOS, or visit www.sustainme.com.au

    I am a current student and conscious of how I can be part of this process and believe my expertise in the field garnered over the last three years, liaising with the different agencies and organisations could be effectively utilised in this instance.

    - Stephen H.


    Given that animal agriculture is the main contributor to global warming, I am curious about whether this will be addressed in the Charter. It wasn't specifically mentioned under the "sustainable practice" subheading. Producing livestock for human consumption also uses huge amounts of our valuable freshwater.

    This is an issue which often not emphasised in discussions about environmental sustainability. For example, will there be meat served at the BBQ on the 19/10?

    - Kate T.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    - Toni R.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    The University of Melbourne has a responsibility to lead through meaningful action. Divesting from fossil fuels is the type of action I would like to see The University leading.

    - Harry S.


    It would be nice to see the University of Melbourne take on a true leadership position. Instead of a festival of ideas, a festival of action.

    The University needs to follow up its strong affirmative discussions on the importance of climate change, sustainability and recycling for a green future by taking those first brave steps.

    I look forward to a missive from the VC outing what we will do.

    - Paul M.


    You don't have to be an economist or an environmentalist to understand the corellation between sound economic management and reducing fossil fuel investments. Since the Stern report, there has been ample evidence that it makes good financial sense for all institutions to support a shift away from activities that increase greenhouse gas emissions.

    As a leading university, UoM should be able to realise this fact and take appropriate steps to put it into action.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    - Lisa A.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    In order to stay below the internationally agreed upon safe limit for global warming, 2 degrees, we need to keep at least 80% of current fossil fuel reserves in the ground.

    - Imogen M.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    - Matt P.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    - Alexandra S.


    I was very happy to read the strong words put forth in The University of Melbourne Sustainability Charter for Consultation (draft as of 12 October). To commit to the six principles of Leadership, Interdisciplinary research, Active global citizenship, Equity, Transparency and accountability, and Action is an excellent step towards The University of Melbourne being a higher education leader on issues of sustainability.

    Additionally, I was particularly happy to see a commitment to action being 'urgent if necessary'.

    I would like to take this opportunity to communicate that with respect to actions towards sustainability, it is my belief that the most urgent action necessary is for The University of Melbourne to divest from all fossil fuels and fossil fuel related companies.

    Climate change is the biggest threat to our collective future, it simply makes no sense to be investing in industries that are in direct contradiction to our shared prosperity.

    You have the support of students to take this key step towards sustainability. Divest!

    - Oliver L.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes good economic sense.

    - Thomas B.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I have been a student at the University of Melbourne for 11 years. I am very proud to attend this wonderful institution, however I am extremely disappointed that The University of Melbourne still invests in fossil fuel companies. The University of Melbourne has a strong international reputation for a high level of teaching in sustainability and for espousing principles of environmental awareness. It is now time to support industries and businesses who are working on developing renewable energy technology.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    - Lenka O.


    Thank you for moving the university towards a better place by considering a charter on sustainability. I think it is crucial that a key component of any such charter is to clearly outline a plan for divestment from fossil fuels. Please make this a top priority when drafting the charter.

    - Christian M.


    Thank you for opening the sustainability charter to student consultation.

    My name is Oliver and I am a 22 year old studying creative writing and literature at the university.

    Like many at the university, I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels.

    Earlier this year i went to the Great Barrier Reef with my family. The beauty i found in the natural world there was unlike anything i've ever witnessed. The Great Barrier Reef is just one of many natural wonders that will be corroded to unrecognisable levels if we don't do something to stop climate change and the incursions made by fossil fuel companies into natural areas.

    For this reason and many others, I would encourage you to take the top 200 coal, oil and gas companies out of your investment portfolio. It may be slightly inconvenient for you but it is the morally right thing to do.

    It has also been shown to be economically responsible, with fossil fuel stocks becoming increasingly risky as governments move to control carbon emissions.

    Once again, thank you for initiating the sustainability charter and for inviting student consultation.

    I look forward to seeing the final results of the charter.

    - Oliver J.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    There is no contradiction between divesting from fossil fuels and ensuring the University's long-term financial position. A wealth of research shows that taking the top 200 coal, oil and gas companies out of an investment portfolio doesn't negatively impact on long-term returns [1]. On the contrary, a number of studies show that fossil fuel stocks are becoming increasingly risky, a fact that is going under-acknowledged by much of the finance industry [2].

    Not only do fossil fuel companies plan to burn all of their reserves, but they pour millions of dollars into searching for new fossil fuels every day. They are also the main industry standing in the way of action on climate change, limiting action through political donations and funding climate denial.

    By divesting from the fossil fuel industry, the University can send a powerful message that we need to move away from fossil fuels and help to loosen the grip the fossil fuel industry has over our political system, making space for legislation that is in line with the climate science.

    [1] See for example: Fossil Free ESG Investing: Recent Australian Performance, Future Super

    [2] See for example:

    Unburnable Carbon, Carbon Tracker

    Investing in a Time of Climate Change, Mercer

    Australia's Fossil Fuel Projects: Dead in the Water? MSCI

    - Nir L.


    Thank you for pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University, and for releasing the draft principles early so that the University community may have more time to provide feedback.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    The internationally agreed upon safe limit for global warming, 2 degrees, requires that we keep at least 80% of current fossil fuel reserves in the ground. This does not fit the business model of fossil fuel companies today. All of them intend to burn all of their reserves, and the industry spends millions of dollars on searching for new fossil fuels every day. This is not sustainable. Worse yet, the fossil fuel industry seeks to limit action on climate change, by making large political donations and funding climate denial.

    For our University to be a thought leader, we must take a stand and declare that we will stop investing in industries whose profits are directly linked to the destruction of our planet, and our health.

    Today, there is much research showing that taking the top 200 coal, oil and gas companies out of our investment portfolio will not impact on our long-term returns, for an example see here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.350.org/images/Fossil_Fuel_Free_ESG_Investing_1.pdf

    A number of studies demonstrate that fossil fuel stocks are becoming increasingly risky, see this Mercer study here: https://www.mercer.com.au/content/dam/mercer/attachments/asia-pacific/australia/investment/sustainable-growth/mercer-climate-change-study-2015.pdf

    As the UMSU Environment Officer, I will provide further feedback on the Charter soon, and I am sure next year's officers, Anisa Rogers and Zachary Power, would like to engage with the creation of the Sustainability Plan 2016-2020.

    - Daniel S.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    I have been a student at the Univerity of Melobourne since 2010 and in that time have never seen such a concerted campaign by students to address an issue of such concern. With the university community behind this, it is time for the administration to listen to us and take action.

    - Samuel D.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    The decision is overdue. Please make us and our children proud of you.

    - Wendy K.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    - Louis B.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    - Michael M.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    - Brayden C.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    - Kate D.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I am a Commerce student at the University and will soon graduate with a double major in Economics and Finance. I've had the opportunity to study under great academics at Melbourne Uni and learn about the value of sustainable growth and responsible financing strategies. It is imperative that the University divest. It makes sense economically, financially, socially, and environmentally. This is one of the most valuable things I've learnt at Melbourne Uni and one of the most important take-aways from my degree.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Melbourne University is educating the next generation of leaders but without divestment and other climate action, there may not be a planet left to lead.

    - Monica G.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I am a Commerce student at the University and will soon graduate with a double major in Economics and Finance. I've had the opportunity to study under great academics at Melbourne Uni and learn about the value of sustainable growth and responsible financing strategies. It is imperative that the University divest. It makes sense economically, financially, socially, and environmentally. This is one of the most valuable things I've learnt at Melbourne Uni and one of the most important take-aways from my degree.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Melbourne University is educating the next generation of leaders but without divestment and other climate action, there may not be a planet left to lead.

    - Patrick S.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    - James C.


    I'm sensing a slow but steady rise in excitement since the release of this consultation for the Charter of Sustainability. I think it's so great that we might be on the verge of making an actual difference. Divestment is such a crucial step in the right direction. A direction that means a stable environment. Hope for my future, my family's and my friends futures. A hope that i hope is not misplaced.

    I'm tired of the inaction from our petty money driven politicians. You could really do it Melbourne University. Long-term sustainable holistic goals and practices.

    Please divest, i would be so proud to call you my University. It case for divestment makes sense, I'm sure you've done the research and if you haven't give it a look!

    Please include divestment in the Charter.

    - Darcy P.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    It pains me to admit that those who lead my University from the top down may have forgotten the space and resources that a University provides to all forms of new change makers in our society. I can absolutely assure you that there are a multitude of young individuals who crave the opportunities to make the world a better place, but by simply telling them to take extra curricular activities and consider post graduate studies or placements you are giving them the wrong message. Change can be made here and now, in fact it only makes sense for change to occur in the University first. If you believe that change is a real thing and not just a pretty word or a new set of light bulbs, please get real about divestment.

    Similarly, by communicating to students that it is acceptable to still profit from an industry that wishes to exploit Australia's natural resources without the permission of this First Nations people that exist on the land, and in direct opposition to the vast majority of the country's population is to say that your limitations in life are dictated by your monetary value. This is a crying shame. This is a dying shame. Please take this opportunity to send a new message to the University community - let them know that you also believe that Australia can one day be a nation that respects all of its people and chooses not to exploit all of its resources.

    - Tori B.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    - Simon G.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    As a casual academic staff in the Faculty of Science and someone who teaches sustainability to undergraduate students, I feel that the university must lead by example on this and demonstrate that it's truly committed to environmental and social justice by divesting from fossil fuels. As a powerful and respected institution, this would send a very strong message to the university community and to the country. If we want future generations of humans and nonhumans to have a future, fossil fuels must be left in the ground.
    I look forward to hearing from you about this and I hope you will make the right decision.

    - Esther A.


    I was extremely pleased to see the release of the Sustainability Charter draft.

    Throughout my education at the University, a Bachelor of Environments and now Master of Environment - the sense of duty and justice for the global environmental system and current and future generations - particularly those less fortunate - could not be clearer. This is what the my education at this University has taught me.

    Divestment from fossil fuels is a significant and highly symbolic step necessary that I feel must be incorporated into the final Charter.

    I appreciate that this process is easier said than done, but as a global leader the University needs to practice the very same ethics and high moral standards that they teach to their students.

    - Tim S.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    A wealth of research shows that taking the top 200 coal, oil and gas companies out of an investment portfolio doesn't negatively impact on long-term returns, whereas investing in fossil fuels is becoming increasingly risky.

    By divesting from the fossil fuel industry, the University can send a powerful message that we need to move away from fossil fuels and help to loosen the grip the fossil fuel industry has over our political system, making space for legislation that is in line with the climate science.

    It is imperative that 80% of current fossil fuel reserves remain in the ground.

    We are living in a time of climate emergency. This requires that all of us take bold action to move away from an untenable status quo powered by fossil fuels and towards a safer future with renewable energy.

    - Natalia D.


    My name's Kate and I'm a third year student at Melbourne University.

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    I sincerely hope that Melbourne University uses its social capital wisely and ceases to support the fossil fuel industry.

    - Kate C.


    Congratulations on leading The University of Melbourne towards a sustainable future.

    The draft mentions "transparency and accountability" as a fundamental principle of the charter, as well as the aim to "focus investment priorities on sectors and organisations that lead in the delivery of a low carbon and ethically sound future". Based upon these elements of the draft I am hopeful that the University will be led to both reveal the full extent of its investments in fossil fuel companies and remove these investments, disentangling its profits from those of those companies.

    - Henry H.


    I'm writing to encourage the University to include a commitment to divest from fossil fuels in the Sustainability Charter.

    My connection to the University as is a Masters student studying environmental issues, and an academic tutor sharing this knowledge with my undergraduate students. From these roles I see both the moral and financial value of the University taking this admirable step forward and divesting from fossil fuels.

    - Phoebe R.


    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    - Angela R.


    this..

    "strategically focus investment priorities on sectors and organisations that lead in the delivery of a low carbon and ethically sound future, while ensuring the University's long-term financial position"

    ...  is not really good enough.  You say,

    "The University will be an international exemplar of a fully sustainable community in all of its activities"

    but there is nothing sustainable about fossil fuels.  On this we are laggards, not exemplars

    why do you refuse to commit to divesting from fossil fuels?

    it makes the rest of the charter sound like green-wash

    you can get out of fossil fuels whilst "ensuring the University's long-term financial position"

    do it

    - Samuel M.


    I am a current Melbourne Uni student and in response to this charter draft, I would like to suggest that the university divest itself of fossil fuel investment.

    - Thomas F.


    It would be great if the you would divest from fossil fuels, and invest in renewable energy.

    - Lachlan T.


    I wish to contribute to consultation on the University's proposed Sustainability Charter. For me, the main things that I think are essential to include but are missing are:

    1) a commitment for the University to divest completely from fossil fuels within a relatively short time frame, such as five years;

    2) set goals for progressive divestment each year (e.g. 20% divestment by a year's time, 40% by two) that are to be adhered to by the University;

    3) commitments and progressive goals for increasing the University's green energy use to 100% of all energy used alongside and according to the same structure as those outlined in 1) and 2);

    4) regular and vocal lobbying by the University to private individuals, private institutions and the global public for addressing the climate crisis that is a scientifically verified and immediate threat to the continued survival of most life on Earth, including that of humanity.

    I note the principle of Action in the charter being described as "urgent if necessary" and I agree with its inclusion, but I think it should be accompanied by such commitments to immediate action as I suggest, given the verified energy and climate urgency that we all face.

    I also note the commitment to "strategically focus investment priorities on sectors and organisations that lead in the delivery of a low carbon and ethically sound future, while ensuring the University's long-term financial position." I would amend "low carbon" to "no carbon," given the numerous energy alternatives (e.g. solar, wind, hydroelectric) that exist and alongside sustainable practices can be used to power the world without recourse to carbon-based energy sources. Furthermore, I acknowledge the desire to promote the "University's long-term financial position," but I believe that a clause should be added stating that ensuring the University's long-term financial position will never come at the expense of investing in sectors and organisations that actively or passively: a) deny climate change, b) deny the need to act immediately on climate change and/or c) promote non-green energy sources (e.g. coal and other carbon-based energy sources) and non-sustainable resource use.

    I believe that all these inclusions and modifications are necessary and ethically demanded, given that we as a species have contributed greatly to the climate crisis at hand and are also in a unique position to act positively and decisively to work towards resolving it. Immediate action must be emphasised, promised and followed through on, given that each day we do not act brings us closer to our own destruction and that of countless other forms of life.

    Thank you for reading my submission and allowing students to provide input on such an important matter.

    - Nicholas S.


    I would like to submit my support for this commitment in particular:

    * strategically focus investment priorities on sectors and organisations that lead in the delivery of a low carbon and ethically sound future, while ensuring the University's long-term financial position.

    I would like to make it clear that such a commitment entails immediate divestment from fossil fuel related industries. Immediate divestment would have significant positive symbolic and reputational value for the University of Melbourne. Incurring tax or other financial losses are no longer an excuse considering the current impact of climate change.

    - Sebastian K.


    I am writing with my comments on the draft Sustainability Charter.

    I really appreciate the admission of the Earth as 'a finite environment' , the effect of humanity and the University's 'social responsibility to lead

    public debate and action towards a sustainable future.'

    One thing that I believe is missing from the Charter is any comment as to how the University will manage its funds and resources. The Charter highlights the principle of 'Leadership' including 'being a leading voice' and discussing 'its environmental impact and performance'.

    The use of fossil fuels has been shown, scientifically, to be the leading factor of human-caused climate change. I would like to see a commitment from the University to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels by:

    1.  Putting an immediate halt to any new investments in fossil fuels,

    2. Having a plan to reduce current investments in fossil fuels, to be completely divested within five years, and

    3. Making plans and arrangements to start producing its own energy through renewable technologies.

    These three items would help to fulfil the Charter's promise of 'The University actively engages with all sectors to drive progress towards a sustainable future.'

    Thank you.

    - Lucy B.


    I strongly support the university having such a charter and think the current draft is good.  The real challenge is implementing the charter - "talk is cheap".

    Of particular concern to me is the way research is communicated in some disciplines (such as my own - computer science).  There is far too much reliance on conferences, requiring extensive travel.

    - Lee N.


    Thank you, for your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at our University.

    Something that is extremely important to me, as a student here at University of Melbourne, is to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense. It is necessary, and now is the time.

    - Mia T.


    To the University of Melbourne,

    As a current student, past student and someone who has a long family connection to the University, I am requesting that the University divest itself of any fossil fuel related investments.

    I have returned to study to change careers partly because the corporation I was working for became increasingly and narrowly tied to the coal industry.

    I would like the family association with the University to also continue into future generations, so please seek to invest in areas that will secure the planet's future rather than destroy it.

    Thank you.

    Ana O.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    I believe the draft Sustainability Charter is an excellent document, albeit with some detail to still be worked out in the Sustainability Plan.
    I have made some minor suggestions below from my position as a researcher and teacher in sustainable business, as well as a member of the University's Fair Trade Steering Committee and the Program Director of The Compass, the University's new, extracurricular social entrepreneurship program.
    My suggestions are capitalised below:
    * support researchers across different fields to work collectively on SOCIAL AND environmental problems; and
    * provide specialist interdisciplinary education in SOCIAL AND environmentAL sustainability; and
    * strategically focus investment priorities on sectors and organisations that lead in the delivery of a low carbon and ethically sound future, IN ORDER TO ENSURE the University's long-term financial position.

    Sincerely,
    Ben N.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,
    I am writing in response to the request for feedback on the recently released Draft Sustainability charter. Much of the content of the charter resonates with me, especially the commitment to ensure that research is conducted in such a way that  contributes to environmental sustainability.
    With respect to integrating sustainability into the University's decision-making processes, I wish to express my unreserved support for the University of Melbourne's full divestment from Fossil Fuels. This is a necessary step to ensure that the university is being guided by sustainability principles.
    Thank you for providing the opportunity to give feedback on this important document.

    Regards,
    Jessie S.


    Hi there,
    I had a remark about the BBQ you are organizing. With the recently updated WHO, and existing cancer council's guidelines on processed meat and barbecued meat and the risk for health, as well as the well-known negative impact that meat consumption has on the environment I find it strange to say the least that a BBQ is being organized, unless you are planning to only roast vegetables... :)
    How about a feast including many vegetarian options and limited sustainable meat options?

    Kind regards,
    Claudia M.


    Hello,

    I am very pleased to see the emergence of a Sustainability Charter by the University.

    I believe a clearer commitment to investing in a low carbon future is needed and suggest the following amendment to the final goal of the fourth commitment:
    * strategically invest in sectors and organisations that lead in the delivery of a low carbon and ethically sound future


    To whom it may concern,

    I wanted to express my feedback to the draft sustainability charter. I would like the University to divest from fossil fuels.

    Kind regards,
    Teresa G.


    My feedback on the draft Sustainability Charter is as follows:
    * The University won't be "an international exemplar of a fully sustainable community in all of its activities" until we divest.  This is major opportunity for us to show "leadership, through example" (although we lost the chance to demonstrate our position as number 1 when we were not the first Australian university to do so).  The dot point that we will "strategically focus investment priorities on sectors and organisations that lead in the delivery of a low carbon and ethically sound future, while ensuring the University's long-term financial position" is weak and the last part (after the comma) does not need to be made explicit.

    * The dot point that the University will "offer an education that enables graduates from all disciplines to develop knowledge, values and skills to be societal leaders" is too broad.  It does not indicate what type of societal leaders they will be.  We could be training up students to be the next Pol Pot or Adolf Hitler and we would still meet this commitment.

    Thank you for the opportunity to feedback.

    Regards,
    Liz T.


    Hi.
    I'm just writing in response to the sustainability charter draft. I wanted to express my support for strong action on climate change.
    I believe that the best way for the University to take action on climate change is to divest from fossil fuels.
    Thank you!

    Yue B.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.
    I believe fossil fuels are totally last millenium!
    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    Yours sincerely,
    Jane B.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.
    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    Yours sincerely,
    Kris S.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.
    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense. Indeed, a number of studies show that fossil fuel stocks are becoming riskier investments.
    I am one of many students who feel strongly about the impact of human use of fossil fuels on our climate. As a respected institution with an international reputation for excellence in research and development, it is imperative that the University of Melbourne takes climate science seriously when developing its sustainability policy. This must include a plan to divest.

    Yours sincerely,
    Nicola H.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.
    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.
    Yours sincerely,

    Samuel D.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.
    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    Yours sincerely,

    Julian O.


    In general this is great, there are a few comments in the document. There are two things that I think it lacks though:
    1.What is the definition of sustainability
    2.Where is the inspirational, the motivational, the thoughts that not only can we start to fix the problems but we can actually create net benefit, create systems and processes that will lead to not only sustainability but thriving, thriving of people and nature. Many of my students know that there are a lot of problems, they have heard all they want to hear about drought, climate change, species extinction, pollution, they are tired of being given problems and not solutions. They feel disempowered and often helpless/hopeless. I am missing that within the charter, how the university of Melbourne will play a significant role in chartering a new path for a thriving future.

    Dominique H.


    To the Sustainability team,
    Thank you for seeking feedback from students regarding the draft sustainability charter. While I think it is great I would like to strongly urge the University to divest all current direct and/or indirect interests regarding fossils fuels.
    Thank you again.

    Cheers
    Bianca L.


    how can the unimelb continue to say that they are supporters of sustainability when the uni still invests in fossil fuels?
    also- when you work for the uni, you have to get super from unisuper, and they dont have an ethical investment option, so it leaves you no choice on where your money goes.
    there is no future in coal, lots of international companies have realised this and even whole countries have stopped using coal for energy, so why does the uni keep investing in coal? seems like you need to get better investment advice from someone who understands how damaging it is to the environment.

    I love Melbourne uni, I have loved being a student, but if you really want to lead the country in education you have to put your money where your mouth is, so to speak.
    please listen to organisations such as 350.org and beyond zero, they have done loads of research, also you have a whole department of staff and students who study sustainability on campus, seems a bit of a joke that you offer courses in subjects and then ignore completely the key messages being taught, because somehow they don't apply to the campus?
    anyway, you asked for feedback and I gave you my thoughts.
    I know you are trying to make things better, but I would argue that you have dropped the ball on this one.
    DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUELS NOW!

    Kirsteen M.


    Hi,
    I am current student at the University of Melbourne, studying a Master of Environment in the Climate Change stream.
    I am appalled that the University continues to invest in the fossil fuel industry. Every day in my studies at this University I learn about the devastating impacts that continued burning of fossil fuels is having, and will increasingly have, on the environment and societies around the world.
    The University simply cannot continue to support this industry, and it should divest from fossil fuels as soon as possible.
    I would like to see divestment as a key part of the new Sustainability Charter.

    Thanks and regards,

    Rebecca D.



    To whom it may concern,

    I am writing to express my strong support for Melbourne University divesting from fossil fuels. With the now almost unanimous consensus on climate change, it seems un ethical for an institution that promotes the development of knowledge to then continue to support industries that fuel global warming.

    Thank you for your time,

    Ben T.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    Yours sincerely,

    Rachel B.

    (Regarding Charter response email)

    That was the most generic, blase, un-proactive response. But I look forward to your efforts. Moreso I hope you understand the reality of why people fight so hard for this and why there is no excuse for this massively comodified and corporatised uni to make probably what in reality is minimal effort to help with all the money and power they hold. I'd prefer life to be prioritised over the capitalist machine

    Seriously just considering moving to a university that actually divests/engages in real world issues its students face. I'd prefer a quality university and education to a quantified, dishonest, dishonorable and statistically savvy one.:)

    Thanks

    Rachel B.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    if the university moves quickly to set a realistic path for divestment then it will still be seen as part of the leading institutions adopting such policies. The rate of divestment decisions by institutions is clearly accelerating; it would be a blow to the brand of the University to be seen as trailing behind action - especially in this year of the Paris COP .

    Yours sincerely,

    Chris R.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    As a student being taught about sustainabilty in Agriculture I find that the University needs to lead by example and wish to see it head the changes not follow others.

    Yours sincerely,
    Phillip L.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    Yours sincerely,
    Emma H.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    Given the University of Melbourne is the number 1 in Australia, it's decision regarding investment industries is of high significance. It is UoM's responsibility to demonstrate why it is a national and international leader in tertiary education by taking the next step towards sustainability.

    Yours sincerely,

    Brayden C.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    The proposed Charter signals an important commitment by the University, but there is solid scientific evidence that climate change is overwhelmingly the greatest threat to sustainability of the world as we know it.

    A clear commitment to divestment from fossil fuels would not only be the right thing to do morally, but it should actually protect the University's long-term financial position.

    Yours sincerely,

    John C.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    Yours sincerely,

    John J.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    Yours sincerely,

    Anisa R.


    Hi

    A Colleague of mine at Melbourne Uni indicated to me that Melbourne Uni are developing a Sustainability Charter and I felt compelled to share some thoughts. In particular I would like to support the inclusion of sustainability in its broadest sense, encompassing social as well as environmental benefit. At Social Traders we exist to support the growth of social enterprise in Australia. Social Enterprises are businesses that exist to deliver community benefit rather than to maximise personal profit. They are also terrific suppliers who can have an enormous positive impact on the sustainability of supply chains because just by operating they create positive social externalities.

    There has been growing interest in social procurement – the purchase of goods and services and social impact – in the last five years with a growing realisation that procurement is a strategic lever for the creation of organisational value, that goes beyond price. We are increasingly seeing institutional buyers like Gold Coast Council, The Victorian Government, Transfield or the GPT Group (to name a handful) who are incorporating social procurement into their sustainability platforms. Now Melbourne Uni is positioning itself to join this growing group. We were particularly heartened to see the principle articulated below which incorporates the intent of social procurement.

    “Sustainable practices are embedded in all of the University’s operations, modelling innovative ways to maximise social and environmental value. The University will:

    • instil sustainability principles in procurement decisions, across product life cycles and supply chains”

    Social Traders has been working to make it easier for institutional buyers like Melbourne University to engage with social enterprises by providing social enterprise certification and running a service called Social Traders Connect. Connect works with engaged buyers to identify supply chain opportunities and then identifies certified social enterprises that operate in that industry, providing the buyer with contacts and information on the capability of suppliers.

    We have also helped to establish Social Procurement Australasia (SPA) to progress social procurement in Australia. SPA and Connect are two great resources for you to draw on as you go onto develop a Sustainability Plan.

    Don't hesitate to contact, if I can be of assistance.

    Regards,

    Mark D.


    Hi there,

    I would like to share my feedback about the sustainability charter with you.  I will proceed to raise some points which are somewhat addressed in the charter, but that I feel should be elaborated upon and addressed more specifically.

    My principal concerns regarding the charter relate to the fact that there is not clear enough of a mention of how the consumption or procurement decisions that the university makes (ie. regarding building construction, use of natural resources including office supplies, food, water, transport decisions and options, etc) will be made more sustainable or have sustainability concerns as a major factor in decision-making.

    I feel that it would be useful for the charter to recognise the significant impact that the university's consumption and procurement patterns can have upon sustainability outcomes, and that seeing as the University would like to consider itself a sustainability leader, it is necessary that the university be seen to practice sustainability in all aspects of its consumption.  Typically these discussions regarding resource use focus only on energy or water use, but it is important to consider other consumption of resources tied to food and office supply consumption, clothing, furniture use, technology acquisitions and upgrades etc.

    The university's leadership in regard to sustainable consumption should also encompass trying to foster and encourage sustainable attitudes and practices in the university populace, including students and the wider population.  Perhaps this could take the form of meat-free days, or increased vegetarian/vegan options at university sponsored events.

    What strikes me as most missing from the charter is the recognition that at the heart of everything, the charter should be aiming to instil sustainable practices in the student and professional teaching body.  I think it should aim to recognise that fostering and encouraging sustainable practices in students, changing hearts and minds and involving everybody, not just peak professional or academic bodies and groups, in the sustainability challenge is paramount.

    Regarding divestment I advocate for a change in the wording from "strategically focus investment priorities on sectors and organisations that lead in the delivery of a low carbon and ethically sound future, while ensuring the University’s long-term financial position" to "strategically focus investment priorities on sectors and organisations that lead in the delivery of a low carbon and ethically sound future, to ensure the University’s long-term financial position." This owing to the fact that it is widely recognised that investments in fossil-fuel and environmentally damaging industries are not considered to be wise nor socially responsible long-term investments.

    Regards,

    Ben R.


    For the most part, I believe the draft Sustainability Charter is a strong and comprehensive statement of general principles, responsibilities and aspirations.

    However, like many others, I am concerned by the Charter's lack of commitment to fossil fuel divestment. I agree with the feedback which suggested that the charter should include language committing the University to negatively screening high-carbon investments, as well as positively-screening innovative low-carbon investments.

    The University needs to divest. If it does not, its claims to sustainability leadership will ring hollow. We all know that "business as usual" will lead to intolerable consequences for our planet. It is the responsibility of all research-driven, sustainability-oriented institutions to signal to the fossil fuel industry (and the wider public) that "business as usual" will not be permitted. This is the role the University should take. This is the urgent (indeed, radical) leadership which our historical moment demands.

    Yoshua W.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    I'm delighted that Melbourne University is taking the positive step of developing a sustainability charter. I'm studying a Master of Environment at the university and have spent the last 8 months learning about anthropogenic impacts upon the environment . I understand what a massive challenge sustainability is, so it's great to see that you're taking steps.

    Unfortunately, after reading the charter I felt a little disappointed, it just doesn't go far enough. Particularly the clause relating to investments.

    I'm sure you are aware of the issue of climate change. It's not something that's easy to ignore and with 97% of scientists now accepting the causal link between burning of fossil fuels and increasing global temperatures, it seems pretty important that we do something about it.

    In 2009 world leaders agreed to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees celcius under the Copenhagen Accord, however given current emissions it's likely that we'll exceed the budget of allowable fossil fuel emissions by 2024 if we don’t act quickly. A fact resulting from modelling completed by a University of Melbourne academic - Malte Meinshausan and published in the journal Nature in 2009.

    In order to have a chance at restricting temperature increases to less than 2 degrees we need to keep more than 80% of fossil fuels in the ground. Investing in companies that profit from fossil fuel extraction and combustion will contribute to a failure to reach the goal.

    As one of Australia's leading universities (in fact one of the top 100 in the world) - I think Melbourne University should be a leader in this arena like it is in so many others.

    So, I call on you to strengthen the charter to include a commitment to divest from fossil fuels within a 5 year time frame from the enactment of the charter.

    Humanity needs it.

    Kind regards,

    Alison B.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    Yours sincerely,

    Alessandra P.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    Yours sincerely,

    Michael M.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    Yours sincerely,

    Keith E.


    Thank you for taking the time to respond. I am watching with interest and I hope that you make the right decision to divest from fossil fuels as part of this process.

    I don't agree that it is a complex issue, however. In fact I think that it is rather simple: fossil fuel companies are burning the planet. Not only have they covered up how much they knew about climate change, they actively lied about the role they have played (borrowing their PR strategies of doubt and manipulation from the tobacco industry). They have in their reserves 5 times more carbon than even the most optimistic climate scientists believes is safe to burn and they are still actively looking for more.

    You simply can not justify investing in these companies if you are serious about sustainability. If it is wrong to wreck the planet, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. You have a moral obligation to distance yourself from this industry.

    James C.

    (Regarding Charter response email)

    Thank you for taking the time to respond. I am watching with interest and I hope that you make the right decision to divest from fossil fuels as part of this process.

    I don't agree that it is a complex issue, however. In fact I think that it is rather simple: fossil fuel companies are burning the planet. Not only have they covered up how much they knew about climate change, they actively lied about the role they have played (borrowing their PR strategies of doubt and manipulation from the tobacco industry). They have in their reserves 5 times more carbon than even the most optimistic climate scientists believes is safe to burn and they are still actively looking for more.

    You simply can not justify investing in these companies if you are serious about sustainability. If it is wrong to wreck the planet, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. You have a moral obligation to distance yourself from this industry.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I desperately wish to see the number one university in Australia put divestment as key to its principles. As Elbert Einstein once said, "those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act". As a thought leader in our society, you have a responsibility greater than most. I have devoted 3 years of my life to learning what I can from my degree at Melbourne University. What I have learned is that Melbourne University cares deeply about climate change. Yet the investments they hold in the fossil fuel industry are completely undermining their commitment to making positive environmental change.

    Divestment as an action represents a message that will spread throughout its vast community - that climate change is taken seriously by the university and that we must act. By refusing to divest, the university is delaying the inevitable. Divestment will come, there is too much people power behind this movement for it to be stopped. The question is whether or not the university will act as a leader or a laggard. Which of these terms will be used in the future by our children to describe the University of Melbourne's role in the climate crisis is up to the people who can make the change. Please include divestment in the principles, for the sake of the future and the university's reputation.

    Kind regards,

    Angus D.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    On behalf of the University’s Fair Trade Steering Committee, I would like to submit the Committee’s considered feedback on the proposed Sustainability Charter, including potential operational detail relevant for the forthcoming Sustainability Plan.

    The Fair Trade Steering Committee was formed in 2012 in alignment with the University’s responsibilities in becoming Fair Trade accredited. The University has thus committed to promote the procurement of Fair Trade tea and coffee across the Chancellery, kitchenettes and vendor outlets. Specifically, we have committed to all tea and coffee used within the Chancellery to be Fair Trade, at least 50% in kitchenettes, and for it to be encouraged in vendor outlets.

    The Committee would like to support and commend the inclusion of “sustainability principles in procurement decisions” in the Charter. We understand this to include both environmental and social aspects of sustainability, and if not we ask that this be included.

    The Fair Trade certification represents an audited process of providing customers with assurance that the products they have bought have reached an acceptable standard across a comprehensive range of sustainability principles. These include, for example, fair prices, fair wages, no forced or child labour, health and safety standards, environmental standards, community involvement and democratic representation of growers in the Fair Trade organisation. Beyond tea and coffee, Fair Trade certification also exists for numerous foodstuffs, wine and cotton.

    The certification provides a highly legitimate vehicle for the University to demonstrate its adherence to the procurement section of the Sustainability Charter through the detail to be set out in the Sustainability Plan. The Committee recommends that this certification approach be considered for explicit reference in the Sustainability Plan.

    On this note, you may be aware of some contention and critique of the certification approach, including Fair Trade. The Committee recently oversaw a student-led report focusing upon the performance standards of the leading sustainability accreditation labels for coffee, including Rainforest Alliance and Utz Certification, as well as Fair Trade. We concluded that while each has its own strengths and weaknesses, that for the University’s current purposes all three certifications provide sufficient assurance on sustainability principles. We also considered the ‘direct trade’ method currently used by many of the specialty coffee producers and retailers in Melbourne and often promoted as having higher sustainability performance standards. While this may be the case in some situations, as this method does not go through audit process we were unable to conclude that it would provide sufficient assurance on sustainability principles.

    The Committee would be happy to be involved and lend its expertise in further deliberations about the detailing of the Charter through the Sustainability Plan.

    Sincerely,

    Ben N.

  • Feedback Received Part 2

    Please find attached a submission to the sustainability charter from the Graduate Student Association. I’m sending this on behalf of Jim Smith, GSA President (cc’d in).

    The submission is the result of GSA drawing extensively from consultation with the general cohort, graduate groups, stakeholders, and leaders of the sustainability community. This consultation was carried out by the GSA Council and Arts and Sustainability Liaison. The submission is also informed by research conducted by Education and Policy at GSA.

    As such, it is intended as a statement representing the views of graduate students in as cohesive a manner as possible.

    If you need anything further or have any queries don’t hesitate to contact us.

    All the best,

    Beorrn M.

    (Download the 'GSA Sustainability Submission' PDF)


    Dear Colleagues,

    After a good discussion with my friend and colleague Rachel Webster yesterday I would make the following suggestion regarding a missing element of the Charter.

    Somewhere in the document I believe words to this effect should be found:

    “The university will draw on its extensive student, staff, alumni, and support community to……..”

    There appears to be no indication that the institution will utilise its extensive community. I feel this should be explicitly stated.

    Best regards

    Shane H


    Greetings,

    In the section that says 'Sustainable practices are embedded in all of the University's operations....', I think there's a bit missing.

    There is a reference to procurement which is important, but before procurement is the investment decision. Typically a project, including a capital investment, will go through a feasibility assessment or business case that results in a decision to proceed - or invest. It's important to embed sustainability early in the decision-making process, so I would suggest inserting a new line (to precede the procurement line) as follows:

    The University will:

    *                Apply sustainability principles to investment decisions, including in feasibility assessments or business planning, and apply whole of life accounting to both the cost and benefits of projects or programs.

    This approach is applied by the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance in assessing capital delivery projects and as part of the Victorian Governments budget and investment framework.  I worked with Professor Kate Auty from the University in her capacity as Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, and the Department to prepare policy and apply this approach.  Happy to flesh this out more when it comes to preparing the Plan.

    Regards,

    Ashley A.


    Good morning,

    I am an academic staffmember of the University. I thank the University for making sustainability an explicit guiding principle.  I feel that the Sustainability Charter should lead to complete divestment from fossil fuels and other fundamentally unsustainable investments.  Fossil fuels are the main driver of dangerous climate change, and it is unethical for the University to seek to profit, directly or indirectly, from their extraction and use.  Divestment is also an essential step towards the University becoming an international exemplar of a fully sustainable and socially responsible community.

    I am concerned that the wording of the current draft charter, in particular the sentence "strategically focus investment priorities on sectors and organisations that lead in the delivery of a low carbon and ethically sound future, while ensuring the University’s long-term financial position" is not strong enough to guarantee divestment. I feel that the wording should be strengthened to unconditionally exclude investment in industries and organisations whose main activities are inconsistent with a sustainable society, including fossil fuels. I ask that the upcoming Sustainability Plan explicitly include the goal of complete divestment of fossil fuels from all investments owned by, on behalf of, or managed for the University within 3 years, and a timeline for achieving this.

    Thank you again for the commitment to sustainability. I look forward to seeing the University become a world-leader in sustainability, including a sustainable investment portfolio free of fossil fuels.

    Anthony M


    I am really glad that the University is making such an important and visible commitment to Sustainability. Having a Charter of Sustainability for the future endeavours of the University is a very positive and important development.

    I agree with some other feedback that it would be fantastic if the Charter could be rephrased to be more inspirational in its language  — as its not a plan of action itself, it would be great if it was something inspiring to read and re-read. Perhaps the University could commission a writer or group of writers — possibly alumni — to work on the wording. The Philosophy Professor Raymond Gaita of the University organised some talks in 2014 and 2015 about landscape and country, and it would be wonderful if the Charter could be as inspirational as some of the things the writers said at those talks, as this is about developing a new relationship between the University and the country that sustains its work, a new ethic in a way. I remember the debate about the Republic and there was a lot of conversation on how a new Preamble to the Constitution could be phrased, which I think shows how important the choice of words are.

    In relation to the above point, I think if it was something that could be put on a plaque on the University campuses it would help make it seem like an important and also lasting development. I often read the Foundation Stone plaque for instance, and something similar for the Charter could be a more contemporary version of the Foundation Stone plaque for out time, when the University has changed a great deal, and the student body and academic and professional staff are more diverse.

    And following on from that, as part of the University's commitment to Reconciliation an Acknowledgement of Country at the start of the Charter would be really great and a way of remembering the long and environmentally  sustainable custodianship of the Indigenous Traditional Owners of the land for tens of thousands of years.

    Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback.

    Zoe M.


    Response to Sustainability Charter Reply

    Thank you for taking the time to respond. I am watching with interest and I hope that you make the right decision to divest from fossil fuels as part of this process.

    I don't agree that it is a complex issue, however. In fact I think that it is rather simple: fossil fuel companies are burning the planet. Not only have they covered up how much they knew about climate change, they actively lied about the role they have played (borrowing their PR strategies of doubt and manipulation from the tobacco industry). They have in their reserves 5 times more carbon than even the most optimistic climate scientists believes is safe to burn and they are still actively looking for more.

    You simply can not justify investing in these companies if you are serious about sustainability. If it is wrong to wreck the planet, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. You have a moral obligation to distance yourself from this industry

    James C.


    Dear Clare,

    Thanks for getting back. The reason I sent the email was that on a close reading of Growing Esteem 2015-2020 I felt there was a major unstated issue regarding the ‘sustainability of knowledge’ – which for me is at the absolute heart of what this university (or indeed any university) is about.

    From our research in social and cultural informatics it has become alarmingly clear that the 21st Century is facing the single largest challenge to information / knowledge sustainability ever encountered by human beings but like frogs in a pot of water slowly coming to the boil most seem to be unware of the scale or indeed impact of this phenomenon.

    While the UoM has endorsed a digital preservation policy, the implications of this small step do not seem to have been translated into a broader understanding digital knowledge sustainability. The concept of information entropy (a useful way to think about the problem) is relatively new to most and they do not realise that, perhaps like climate change, that rising information entropy (too much stuff badly or not organised at all) sits behind failures of governance, politics, organisational and research practice.

    What we should be doing is undertaking some serious analysis and reconsideration of both information infrastructure and information technology infrastructure (these are different things) to tackle this wicked problem.

    I have not been too sure how to tackle raising these issues but those I have raised them with have universally agreed that GE 15-20 is pregnant with expectation with every reference to knowledge but does not take the next step and move to the consequences. I had thought of emailing Glyn directly, and I may still do this, but I also thought of submitting something to the online feedback for the Sustainability Charter.

    However, maybe it might be worthwhile to rehearse these ideas with you first. What do you think?

    I have been working in this area quite explicitly for quite a few decades now and have witnessed first-hand both the information explosion and the chaos that has followed as people, especially organisations cannot find the stuff they need to optimise their productivity.

    Kindest regards,

    Gavan M.


    Hello,

    Yesterday I attended the Sustainability Charter meeting at UoM.

    I've attached a short 3 page doc raising some important issues in relation to the draft Sustainability Charter.

    To better understand the concerns I raise in all likelihood you will need to at least skim four important texts:

    Zak Stein's Desperate Measures: The Global Crises of Measurement and their Meta-Theoretical Solutions,

    Robin Wood and the ThriveAbility Foundation’s A Leader’s Guide to ThriveAbility: A Multi-Capital Operating System for a Regenerative Inclusive Economy,

    Roy Bkaskar, et al's Meta-Theory for the 21st Century: Critical Realism and Integral Theory in Dialogue, and

    Hilary Bradbury and Bill Torbert’s Love/Eros: Love in the Spirit of Inquiry.

    I wish you well in bringing UoM into the 21st century.

    Be Well,

    Gerard B.

    (Download the 'ThriveAbility Charter' PDF)


    Hello,

    Since the public meeting about the draft Sustainability Charter, I've continued to wonder about what could be done to turn the Sustainability Charter into a ThriveAbility Charter.

    Some recent sustainability conferences have addressed the limitations of sustainability in the context of thriveability. This change in terms from sustainability to thriveability has come about because despite many decades of sustainability initiatives, as all of us can see with the Great Acceleration graphs, these efforts have generally resulted in more unsustainability. Why?

    (See Bill Baue, Ralph Thurm & Robin Wood’s ‘An Intro to ThriveAbility: The Next Stage of Development for Sustainability’ at www.sustainablebrands.com, & Bill Baue & Robin Wood’s

    Sustainable Brands | The Bridge to Better Brands

    www.sustainablebrands.com

    Welcome to Sustainable Brands – the premier global community of business innovators who are shaping the future of commerce world wide. Since 2004, our goal has been ...

    'Leveraging Integral Leadership to Shift Sustainability Mindsets into a ThriveAbility Paradigm’ at www.integralleadershipreview.com.

    I've also attached two papers that address the limitations of sustainability in the context of thriveability.

    I invite you to read them.

    It's time for a ThriveAbility Charter.

    Be Well,

    Gerard Bruitzman

    (Download the 'From UoM Sustainability Charter to Thriveability' PDF)

    (Download 'As a Lead Author of the UoM’s…' Presentation PDF)


    I attended the Sustainability Charter Forum last week and was a little disappointed that, in my view, the focus of the discussion contained a considerable omission.

    The discussion focussed on the importance of shifting to renewable energy in general, how the University has developed its thinking in recent years, the actions the University has taken to contribute to sustainability and what carbon target levels may be reasonable for the University to agree upon.  This is all important, however before one can attempt to tackle the impact of climate change, one must understand the leading cause.

    By far and away, the leading contributor towards climate change, deforestation and the largest contributor of water usage worldwide is animal agriculture.  This fact does not receive a lot of air time, but is as important as any other topic relating to sustainability.  Facts regarding the impact of animal agriculture on the environment can be found here:

    www.cowspiracy.com/facts/

    As some of Australia’s major industries are based on animal agriculture (eg. meat, dairy, wool) it is even more relevant here then perhaps in other countries.

    As the draft charter describes, the University is committed to being an active global citizen and promotes leadership through example.  In my view, the University is presented with a wonderful opportunity to become that leader by:

    1)Recognising animal agriculture as the leading cause of many adverse environmental impacts

    2)Raising awareness amongst all stakeholders of this point

    3)Promoting the simplest way to reverse the impact that animal agriculture has on the environment, that is to reduce the level of animal products consumed in one’s diet

    I understand that the Sustainability Charter document itself is not the intended vehicle to address all matters that the University is intended to engage in, however at the very least, if the University is truly serious about being a leader in sustainability, it must at least address this point as being a fundamental consideration that is required to be addressed in its decision making and use this knowledge to promote effective change accordingly.

    Thanks

    Craig K.


    For the most part, I believe the draft Sustainability Charter is a strong and comprehensive statement of general principles, responsibilities and aspirations.

    However, like many others, I am concerned by the Charter's lack of commitment to fossil fuel divestment. I agree with the feedback which suggested that the charter should include language committing the University to negatively screening high-carbon investments, as well as positively-screening innovative low-carbon investments.

    The University needs to divest. If it does not, its claims to sustainability leadership will ring hollow. We all know that "business as usual" will lead to intolerable consequences for our planet. It is the responsibility of all research-driven, sustainability-oriented institutions to signal to the fossil fuel industry (and the wider public) that "business as usual" will not be permitted. This is the role the University should take. This is the urgent (indeed, radical) leadership which our historical moment demands.

    Yoshua W.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    I'm delighted that Melbourne University is taking the positive step of developing a sustainability charter. I'm studying a Master of Environment at the university and have spent the last 8 months learning about anthropogenic impacts upon the environment . I understand what a massive challenge sustainability is, so it's great to see that you're taking steps.

    Unfortunately, after reading the charter I felt a little disappointed, it just doesn't go far enough. Particularly the clause relating to investments.

    I'm sure you are aware of the issue of climate change. It's not something that's easy to ignore and with 97% of scientists now accepting the causal link between burning of fossil fuels and increasing global temperatures, it seems pretty important that we do something about it.

    In 2009 world leaders agreed to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees celcius under the Copenhagen Accord, however given current emissions it's likely that we'll exceed the budget of allowable fossil fuel emissions by 2024 if we don’t act quickly. A fact resulting from modelling completed by a University of Melbourne academic - Malte Meinshausan and published in the journal Nature in 2009.

    In order to have a chance at restricting temperature increases to less than 2 degrees we need to keep more than 80% of fossil fuels in the ground. Investing in companies that profit from fossil fuel extraction and combustion will contribute to a failure to reach the goal.

    As one of Australia's leading universities (in fact one of the top 100 in the world) - I think Melbourne University should be a leader in this arena like it is in so many others.

    So, I call on you to strengthen the charter to include a commitment to divest from fossil fuels within a 5 year time frame from the enactment of the charter.

    Humanity needs it.

    Kind regards,

    Alison B.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    Yours sincerely,

    Alessandra P.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    Yours sincerely,

    Michael M.


    Dear Sustainability Executive,

    Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on your courage in pushing for such a far-reaching approach to sustainability and climate change at the University.

    I would like to see the Charter lead to divestment from fossil fuels. Divestment is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it also makes sound economic sense.

    Yours sincerely,

    Keith E.


    Hi there,

    I would like to share my feedback about the sustainability charter with you.  I will proceed to raise some points which are somewhat addressed in the charter, but that I feel should be elaborated upon and addressed more specifically.

    My principal concerns regarding the charter relate to the fact that there is not clear enough of a mention of how the consumption or procurement decisions that the university makes (ie. regarding building construction, use of natural resources including office supplies, food, water, transport decisions and options, etc) will be made more sustainable or have sustainability concerns as a major factor in decision-making.

    I feel that it would be useful for the charter to recognise the significant impact that the university's consumption and procurement patterns can have upon sustainability outcomes, and that seeing as the University would like to consider itself a sustainability leader, it is necessary that the university be seen to practice sustainability in all aspects of its consumption.  Typically these discussions regarding resource use focus only on energy or water use, but it is important to consider other consumption of resources tied to food and office supply consumption, clothing, furniture use, technology acquisitions and upgrades etc.

    The university's leadership in regard to sustainable consumption should also encompass trying to foster and encourage sustainable attitudes and practices in the university populace, including students and the wider population.  Perhaps this could take the form of meat-free days, or increased vegetarian/vegan options at university sponsored events.

    What strikes me as most missing from the charter is the recognition that at the heart of everything, the charter should be aiming to instil sustainable practices in the student and professional teaching body.  I think it should aim to recognise that fostering and encouraging sustainable practices in students, changing hearts and minds and involving everybody, not just peak professional or academic bodies and groups, in the sustainability challenge is paramount.

    Regarding divestment I advocate for a change in the wording from "strategically focus investment priorities on sectors and organisations that lead in the delivery of a low carbon and ethically sound future, while ensuring the University’s long-term financial position" to "strategically focus investment priorities on sectors and organisations that lead in the delivery of a low carbon and ethically sound future, to ensure the University’s long-term financial position." This owing to the fact that it is widely recognised that investments in fossil-fuel and environmentally damaging industries are not considered to be wise nor socially responsible long-term investments.

    Regards,

    Ben R.


    Dear Clare and others involved in the charter process,

    Please find a copy of our alternative charter, as per our recent communications.

    Best regards

    Arnaud G and Hans B.

    (Download the 'Gallois Baer – An alternative Sustainability Charter for UoM' PDF)