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Sustainability Statement and Action Plan

Statement

“We can think about sustainable development - ending the climate crisis, protecting biodiversity, ensuring that every child is in school and everyone has access to healthcare - as an absolutely pragmatic engineering task.”

Professor Jeffrey Sachs - Director, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Sustainable Development Goals Advocate for the UN Secretary-General

To ensure a safe future for our children, humanity must act now to protect and preserve the Earth’s climate, environment and biodiversity. The overwhelming scientific evidence shows that human-generated carbon dioxide emissions are damaging our climate. Anthropogenic activities, while essential to sustaining modern society, must be balanced with sustaining our ecosystems.

As Australia grapples with worsening bushfires, drought, heatwaves and damage to the Great Barrier Reef, we must commit to addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and direct all efforts to creating change.

As engineers, researchers and educators from Monash University, we have a professional, ethical, and moral obligation to act. We will design the technology needed to create profound change in our systems and help the broader community adapt to cleaner, safer alternatives.

Our research will contribute to finding the clean, low-carbon technical solutions needed to reduce pollution, and create sustainable innovations that support and protect the biosphere.

Our partnerships with industry and government will enable our research to be implemented and shared globally. We will teach and empower our students to become solution-finding engineers for planetary health.

We will do so through the following action plan and commitments.

Action plan

Research

Partnerships

Monash Energy Institute

  • Through making a leading contribution to the Monash Energy Institute, we bring together over 150 of the University’s top energy, economics and data science researchers to accelerate the transition towards a sustainable energy future through interdisciplinary research, education programs and trusted industry partnerships.

Net Zero Initiative

  • As Australia’s first university to commit to an energy reduction target, we’re contributing to achieving net zero emissions for Monash’s built environment by 2030 through the Net Zero Initiative .
  • Through our Net Zero Precinct and the wider Monash Technology Precinct, we offer a living laboratory for academia and industry to generate transformative solutions that accelerate deep decarbonisation of our urban energy systems.

Grid Innovation Hub

  • Through the Grid Innovation Hub, we bring together industry, innovators and researchers to explore more efficient national energy systems that can incorporate renewable energy sources, incorporate grid-side and customer-side technologies, and enable people to become empowered participants in the distributed energy revolution.

Woodside Monash Energy Partnership

  • Through our Woodside Monash Energy Partnership, we support Australia’s low-energy carbon transition through exploring sustainable energy technologies, including the possibilities of carbon abatement and hydrogen as a future fuel, with a focus on materials, electro-chemical and thermochemical research.

Themes

Through our faculty research themes, we address climate change and environmental sustainability through our continued efforts across:

  • environmental engineering
  • water engineering
  • resources engineering
  • renewable energy generation, storage, and grid integration
  • sustainable, safe, efficient mining practice and remediation
  • fuels - net zero carbon fuels, biofuels and waste-derived fuels
  • sustainable infrastructure - materials and design
  • aerodynamics and turbulence
  • materials lightweighting - alloys and composites
  • additive manufacturing - low energy and low materials usage
  • sustainable food technology
  • separation and purification technologies
  • smart industry and living

Centres and Hubs

Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence

ARC Research Hubs

Cooperative Research Centres

  • Through the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, we help change the way we design, build and manage our cities and towns by valuing the contribution water makes to economic development and growth, our quality of life, and the ecosystems of which cities are a part.

Monash Centre for Membrane Innovation

  • Through the Monash Centre for Membrane Innovation, we develop applied scientific and technological solutions in membrane science and explore technological solutions that help solve challenges in water desalination and wastewater treatment.

Education

Through our Bachelor of Engineering, Master of Advanced Engineering and Master of Professional Engineering programs, we prepare students to address climate change and sustainability through our specialisations in:

  • environmental engineering
  • renewable and sustainable energy engineering
  • resources engineering
  • water engineering
  • chemical engineering (sustainability stream)

Commitments

We are a signatory to the Global Engineering Dean’s Council 2019 Sustainability Commitment, known as ‘The Santiago Declaration’.

As a signatory, we agree to adhere to its guiding principles:

  • Foster new generations of sustainability leaders
  • Increase education and research efforts on sustainability issues
  • Become an exemplary institution from which students, the community and staff can experience a sustainable way of life firsthand
  • Develop case studies to be shared globally
  • Develop metrics and data analytics to measure results
  • Transparency and information/knowledge to be symmetric.

As a signatory, we commit ourselves to:

  • Establish further goals by July 2020
  • Quantify our carbon footprint, water usage and waste production by 2021
  • Introduce a formal sustainability course/program in the engineering curricula no later than 2022
  • Achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2050. (Through our Net Zero Initiative, we aim to achieve this by 2030).

Monash University commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

On 8 September 2016, Monash University signed a landmark university commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We agreed to:

  • Support and promote the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Undertake research that provides solutions to sustainable development challenges
  • Provide the educational opportunity for our students to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development
  • Contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by ensuring our campuses and major programs are environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive, and
  • Report on our activities in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Monash Engineering adheres to these commitments made by the University.