View Document

Environmental Sustainability Policy

This is the current version of this document. To view historic versions, click the link in the document's navigation bar.

Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) La Trobe University is committed to implementing, maintaining and continually improving environmental management processes to reduce its environmental footprint. The purpose of this policy is to incorporate the principles of environmental sustainability throughout all relevant areas of University curriculum, research and operations.

Top of Page

Section 2 - Scope

(2) This Policy applies to:

  1. All staff, students and contractors
  2. All operations, programs and research
  3. All campuses
Top of Page

Section 3 - Policy Statement

(3) La Trobe University is committed to:

  1. Protecting the environment through the prevention of pollution and waste, and through the sustainable development, maintenance and improvement of the natural and built environment.
  2. Establishing objectives and targets for improving our environmental performance in the areas of energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, potable water consumption, waste to landfill, resource consumption, sustainable transport and biodiversity.
  3. The development, implementation and monitoring of a University-Wide Sustainability Plan.
  4. Complying with all relevant environmental legislation, standards, agreements, policies and procedures.
  5. Maximising sustainable resource use.
  6. Minimising the use of hazardous substances.
  7. Developing and implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
  8. Protecting and improving biodiversity.
  9. Developing and implementing research and teaching initiatives related to sustainability.
  10. Engaging with community groups and local government to develop sustainability initiatives throughout the region.
Top of Page

Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Energy Management

(4) La Trobe University has multiple departments actively working on energy reduction initiatives.

(5) Infrastructure and Operations is responsible for:

  1. all data collection, measurement, monitoring and reporting of facility energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions against University sustainability targets on an annual basis.
  2. maintaining Design Standards and other documents that provide guidance and requirements related to the development of buildings and infrastructure that incorporate energy efficiency measures into new and refurbished buildings to achieve energy reduction targets. This includes the consideration of alternative and emerging technologies, energy efficient design, and the selection and sizing of appropriate plant, equipment, systems and other energy infrastructure.
  3. addressing energy reduction by:
    1. reducing energy demand
    2. investigating energy efficiency measures and equipment for new and refurbished buildings
    3. purchasing energy efficient plant and equipment
    4. maintaining all plant, equipment, control and management systems to ensure efficient operation and minimise energy wastage.

(6) Information Services is responsible for:

  1. Procuring ICT equipment that minimises energy consumption; and
  2. Investigating and implementing other energy reduction initiatives that relate to ICT equipment and networks.

(7) Strategic Sourcing and Business Services is responsible for:

  1. Procuring products that minimise energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions throughout the lifecycle of the product, including energy use during the manufacturing, use and end-of-life phases; and
  2. Ensuring that third party contractors are aware of this Policy.

(8) The objectives of the Sustainability Project Steering Group are to:

  1. Contribute to improving the local environment for the use and benefit of our students, staff, community and planet (one university, many communities)
  2. Achieve carbon neutrality across all campuses in the shortest possible time (operational excellence, one university, many communities)
  3. Offer research, teaching and learning opportunities for students and the community (Outstanding student experience)
  4. Reduce the footprint of the University’s operations presence now and into the future - Do no harm philosophy: (One University, many communities)
  5. Ensure that LTU has fully considered, planned and prepared for the University City of the Future.

Part B - Sustainable Transport

(9) The University actively works to enhance sustainable transport options to achieve the best result for the traveller, University, wider community and the environment.

(10) Infrastructure and Operations is responsible for:

  1. Engaging with staff, students and the broader La Trobe community to promote change in favour of active and sustainable transport options.
  2. Promoting walking, cycling, public transport and other options to specifically reduce single occupancy car use in line with the relevant University target.
  3. Planning, designing, installing and maintaining infrastructure that facilitates greater uptake of active and sustainable transport options and supports remote working.

(11) Information Services is responsible for:

  1. Maximising the availability and use of communication technology options for meetings and remote working in lieu of travel.

(12) Strategic Sourcing and Business Services is responsible for:

  1. Reducing and reporting on car fleet travel and air travel.
  2. Transitioning the University fleet to zero emissions vehicles where practical and possible.
  3. Ensuring that all travel conducted for University business purposes considers its environmental impact and offsets it where practical and possible.
  4. Influencing the vehicle selection of partner carshare service providers with the aim of minimising environmental impacts related to the use of these services.

Part C - Waste Management

(13) La Trobe University is committed to waste avoidance, maximising resource recovery and reuse and effective compliance with hazardous waste management requirements at all La Trobe University campuses.

(14) Our approach to waste management encompasses the following focus areas:

  1. Avoid waste generation
    1. Avoid waste by minimising unnecessary material inputs entering La Trobe campuses and confirming reuse or resource recovery processes during procurement.
    2. Identify and replace existing processes that incorporate single-use products/ materials.
    3. Facilitate the collection and redistribution of surplus food generated on Campus.
  2. Maximise resource recovery and reuse
    1. Identify existing use of recycled materials in University operations & increase the procurement of recycled materials/products within operational and capital expenditure.
    2. Focus on maintaining circular material flows within our Campuses.
  3. Effectively comply with hazardous waste management requirements
    1. Ensure compliance with disposal requirements.
    2. Regularly assess hazardous waste management to ensure effectiveness.
  4. Measure progress and communicate effectively
    1. Be transparent and effective in reporting progress and focus communications on achieving desired behaviour change outcomes, aligned with these waste management strategies and the waste management hierarchy.

(15) Infrastructure and Operations is responsible for:

  1. all data collection, measurement, monitoring and reporting of recycling rates and waste to landfill against University targets on an annual basis;
  2. developing and implementing waste avoidance, resource recovery and reuse, initiatives;
  3. ensuring contractors, when working on new or current buildings;
    1. avoid waste generation wherever possible and separate all waste generated for maximum resource recovery, including but not limited to, building works, retrofits, refurbishment and renovations;
    2. allocate budget provisions for implementation and maintenance of landfill, recycling and organics recovery and processing infrastructure;
    3. have contracts in place that stipulate that waste and recycling data must be provided in agreed formats to provide evidence of meeting commitments;
  4. ensuring existing recycling programs are reviewed regularly and improved where possible; and
  5. ensuring Commercial Tenants of the University are educated on La Trobe’s waste management targets and practices, are supplied with appropriate infrastructure to enable maximum resource recovery and comply with any requirements related to waste avoidance and/or management detailed in lease agreements.

(16) Information Services is responsible for ensuring:

  1. The use of Electronic Product Environment Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Gold or Silver rated PCs, laptops, monitors, mobile devices, network and server hardware.
  2. Non-standard PCs, laptops, monitors, TV’s and servers EPEAT Gold rated equipment will not be used unless there is an unavoidable technical requirement precluding this. If EPEAT Gold equipment is not suitable then EPEAT Silver and Bronze rated equipment will be used in order of preference. Non EPEAT rated equipment will only be used where there is no alternative.
  3. Disposal of IT equipment through return to the leasing company, resale by the University or disposal through a University approved e-waste recycling contractor.
  4. Making available applications that reduce the need for printing paper documents and reducing the use of personal printers where not required. Business cases for acquisition of personal printers must be submitted to, and separately approved by the CIO or a delegate of the CIO.
  5. Actively encourage University awareness of sustainable IT practices and principles.

(17) Strategic Sourcing and Business Services is responsible for:

  1. Driving waste avoidance and product stewardship considerations within procurement processes and contract management across the University.

(18) The Sustainability Project Steering Group (PSG) is responsible for:

  1. Monitoring the incorporation of sustainable practices into all aspects of operations, curricula, teaching, learning and policies at La Trobe University. The Sustainability PSG will direct appropriate functional divisions to address waste minimisation through:
    1. Oversight and coordination of strategies in the La Trobe University 2020-2022 Waste Management Strategic Plan;
    2. Overseeing and monitoring the University’s activities with respect to agreements and memoranda which it has endorsed; and
    3. Monitoring of strategies, planning and targets according to an annual work plan and sequence of reporting requirements.

(19) The Facilities & Technical Services (Office of the Provost) is responsible for:

  1. Ensuring laboratory waste generated through the teaching of courses, and execution of research is minimised, while resource recovery is maximised.
  2. Following appropriate procedures in dealing with hazardous waste.

(20) Staff and students of the University will be responsible for:

  1. Taking steps to avoid waste generation, maximise resource recovery and reuse within the work/study environment.
  2. Informing Infrastructure and Operations via about wasteful practices.
  3. Using centralised multifunction printing devices.

Part D - Other Resources

(21) The University’s Workplace Thermal Comfort Guidelines establish the University’s approach to the thermal comfort of staff and students, with the aim of optimising the built environment in ways which are energy efficient and cost effective, environmentally sustainable and legally and technically appropriate.

Top of Page

Section 5 - Definitions

(22) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. Waste: Waste is defined by the Environmental Protection Act 2017 as any matter, whether solid, liquid, gaseous or radioactive, which is discharged, emitted or deposited into the environment in such volume, constituency or manner as to cause alteration of the environment. Wastes generated from the commercial or industrial sources that are potentially hazardous to humans or the environment require a higher level of control and are called ‘prescribed wastes’ or ‘prescribed industrial wastes’. These wastes are regulated under the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009 S.R. No. 77/2009. Generally, waste is any material or substance that is of no further use and has been discarded. If not properly managed waste can cause pollution and adverse impacts on the environment. Disposing of waste that could be reused or recycled is often a waste of resources, a lost opportunity and a waste of money (EPA, Waste, 2011).
  2. Waste hierarchy: The waste hierarchy is an order of preference and states that waste should be managed in accordance with the hierarchy, with avoidance being the most preferred option and disposal being the least.