Why have we created the Carbon Offsets Bank?

The University has committed to achieving carbon neutrality before 2030 in the Sustainability Plan 2017-2020. To achieve this ambitious target, we must calculate our carbon emissions, reduce them as much as possible, and offset the remaining emissions. There are many initiatives underway to reduce our emissions. These include our renewable energy Power Purchase Agreements – Murra Warra Windfarm and Melbourne Renewal Energy Project – which will enable us to achieve net zero emissions electricity by 2021, and the Smart Campus Energy Upgrades (SCEU) project which will improve the energy efficiency of our building stock. The SCEU is a $45.6m capital investment project that includes the application of nine energy efficiency and generation technologies across 60 buildings. We currently offset our fleet emissions and 50 percent of flight emissions with 100 percent to be offset by 2020. These activities are managed centrally, however staff can play a meaningful role in measuring, reducing, and offsetting carbon emissions, hence the creation of the Carbon Offsets Bank!

The process of carbon neutrality

What is the Carbon Offsets Bank?

The Carbon Offsets Bank (COB) is a tool that enables staff to calculate and understand carbon emissions associated with University activities, as well as access targeted information on ways to reduce emissions. Staff also have the option to offset those emissions.  The University pre-purchases accredited offsets in bulk and holds them in the COB. Staff use the COB tool to calculate carbon emissions from their business activities and access information on options to reduce emissions and purchase carbon offsets. Purchases are made via an internal transaction using Themis codes.

Initially, the following activities are included in the COB:

  • Flights (for University staff or visitors)
  • Catering (food and beverages for business functions)
  • Commuting (to and from work, or other business activities)
  • Hotel (accommodation for business travel or visitors)
  • Other (any other activity – staff can purchase the offset quantity they require)

A certificate will be issued to the purchaser, stating the quantity of carbon offsets purchased.