The Creating Impact category recognises institutions that have achieved significant sustainability-related outcomes, on-campus or within their community, using minimal and/or limited resources. Initiatives need to demonstrate the relationship/link between the number of resources used (for example staffing, budget, time) and the level of impact achieved (for example quantifiable changes in behaviours and/or reportable metrics). Initiatives could include: those which can demonstrate significant sustainability achievements (such as sustainable products, processes or learnings) in a relatively short period and/or with a restricted budget, and/or with a small staff base e.g. good progress from a low base. Projects that raise the broader profile of sustainability will be particularly favoured.
Applications must show how learning from others has been implemented and for the greater chance of success go beyond legal compliance. Initiatives can cover a single aspect of sustainability or have multiple foci, including but not limited to: facilities & operations; learning & teaching, research; leadership and governance; community; procurement, and; engagement. However, regardless of the topical focus, the primary aim of this category is to demonstrate how institutions can still achieve creative and high impact outcomes with limited resources.
CDU has been shortlisted for its application Guerrilla Gardening:
How the cultivation of mutually beneficial relationships has enabled CDU’s Facilities Management to achieve targets without a ratified Sustainability Plan.
CDU started its journey towards sustainability in 2013 by developing, through engagement with staff and students, a draft CDU Sustainability Plan.
Facilities Management, in anticipation of ratification of the plan, seized opportunities to improve its sustainable practices and this has resulted in significant sustainability improvements across a number of areas, many of which could not have been achieved without the assistance of the staff and students in other fields.
The following information is part of a larger application providing financial, social and student impact.
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Energy targets: Increase use of renewable energy to at least 10% of all NT campus energy requirements by 2020; Reduce overall non-renewable energy use at NT campuses by 2020 by at least 5% compared with 2016.
- CDU has reduced its energy use by 11% since 2015 across 6 campuses/centres.
- CDU has 3% renewable energy use compared with total requirements. (In 2017 this was the 3rd highest of any University in Australia (2017 TEFMA)).
- LED lighting installed across Sydney campus and new buildings. Replacements with LED elsewhere with large-scale replacement proposed.
- Working with Engineering students and staff to improve HVAC efficiency and heat mitigation on our campuses.
- Working with the Centre for Renewable Energy to increase CDU's campus generated renewable energy.
SDG 15: Life on Land
Biodiversity targets: Increase carbon sequestration on CDU properties through planting; All biodiversity conservation areas on CDU campuses are identified and appropriately managed by 2020.
- 3000 native trees planted during 2017 - 2019 through working with Conservation and Land Management lecturers and students, Greening Australia and Conservation Volunteers.
- Biodiversity survey scoped with Environment staff and other environmental advice provided by staff and students.
- Provision of possum boxes by Facilities Management working with an Environment research student.
- Undertaking regular toad busts, weed and pest management. Toad busts were initially conducted by Conservation Volunteers and have been recently undertaken by Conservation and Land Management students. They will be undertaken for the bulk of the coming year by the Envirocollective.
- Creation of flood mitigation drains and berms, removal of substantial areas of the weed 'coffee bush' by working with Civil Construction lecturers and students.
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Recycling and waste minimisation target: Reduce the total volume of CDU waste to landfill in 2020 by 20% compared to 2015.
- 29% combined decrease 2015 – 2019 in waste-to-landfill on Casuarina, Palmerston and Waterfront campuses
- Removed emptying of desk bins from cleaning contract and improved waste stream reporting. Simultaneously undertook change management communications and actions to aid implementation including the introduction of “Recycling Champions”.
- Waste from food preparation from both CDU food retailers is sent to the Lakeside Drive Community Garden (on CDU leased land) for compost. This had led to other retailers from surrounding areas approaching the LDCG to learn how to undertake their own composting.
- CDU has also supported fundraising for community groups using the Cash for Containers scheme, eg Down Syndrome Association of the Northern Territory, and supported the FM staff-led: ‘Too Much Stuff’, Darwin’s only upcycling, recycling Flea Market.
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Water target: By 2020 reduce overall water consumption by 20% compared with 2015.
- Water consumption decreases 2015 – 2018: Casuarina Campus 13%, Palmerston Campus 26% (Irrigation bore water decrease 36%) and Waterfront Campus 12%.
- The 2017 Water Management Plan developed by Living Water Smart (Power and Water) suggested various changes including smart controller irrigation systems, water-saving devices and better water management which have been implemented.
Top three learnings:
- We made a start internally on almost all of our sustainability initiatives, no matter how small, as a basis to build interest and momentum as we went along.
- We engaged early with our organisational community to build commitment and buy-in to our sustainability initiatives.
- We developed mutually beneficial sustainable goals with members of our organisational community.