The University of Tasmania recently announced its intention to become certified carbon-neutral. This news follows a sustained program from the university to reduce its carbon footprint, improve energy efficiency, and invest in renewable energy and transport.

According to vice-chancellor Peter Rathjen, a commitment to carbon-neutrality would make the university more attractive to prospective students, especially given the university’s commitment to nature-oriented disciplines.

“We are internationally recognised for our research endeavours across a range of fields, including ocean and Antarctic studies, marine biodiversity, planning and agriculture,” says Rathjen.

“It’s only fitting that we ourselves as a university strive to provide leadership and innovation in addressing the principles of sustainability in a direct and impactful way.”

The push for carbon-neutrality has been led in part by existing students at the University of Tasmania. Rathjen says that previous sustainability initiatives have been “strongly guided” by the student body, including within a student forum that was held in August to discuss carbon-neutrality.

Some of the university’s past initiatives to improve its footprint include significant investments in ‘virtual travel’ via improvements to videoconferencing technology; improved support for reduced-emission transport modes; the installation of photovoltaic and solar hot water systems; undertaking energy audits to inform energy-efficiency improvements; and the replacement of LPG and diesel fuel sources with natural gas.

At this stage, the timeline for carbon neutrality is unclear. However, the University of Tasmania has said that their certification will be conducted via the federal government’s Carbon Neutral Program, a voluntary program that helps businesses achieve carbon-neutral certification against the National Carbon Offset Standard.

The full announcement can be viewed on the University of Tasmania website.