A few months ago, the Sustainability Office released its annual report for 2015.
After a busy year it is illuminating to look back at some highlights and achievements.
Sustainability planning at the University of Canterbury is based on the draft ‘Sustainability Strategy 2012-2022’, which breaks sustainability planning into short, medium and long term objectives. Annual planning for sustainability at UC is handled by the Sustainability Office and the operational elements of this are part of the Engineering Services Operational Plan.
This 2015 report, for the first time, presents the continuous data since 2009. This helps to paint a picture of our overall sustainability performance, and helps us to identify some gaps in our current reporting framework (like biodiversity/ecological health data).
Certain indicators are trending in a positive direction, including more people attending Community Gardens working bees, increased levels of engagement through social media, and an increase in the number of cost centres purchasing Fair Trade certified products for their kitchens.
There has also been a significant shift in student attitudes with respect to knowledge about sustainability practices and future employment: students indicate sustainability is important to them. Other indicators remain in a steady state or are exhibiting a negative trend. The volumes of waste sent to landfill continues to increase, with a concurrent decrease in recycling an organics which is particularly concerning.