Becoming a sustainable business is not an overnight thing. It requires learning, research, great information and lots of collaboration. Most of all it requires commitment, leadership and a plan of action. But where do you start and what do you focus on?
On March 17th 2016 Unitec launches its new One Planet Living Strategy committing to a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and a whole raft of other environmental targets. At Unitec we are the first organisation in New Zealand to adopt One Planet Living Principles.
We know that our students are looking for an education which incorporates sustainability. An estimated 80% of Generation Y are looking for green collar jobs - jobs where they can make a difference, and Unitec's own student surveys show that where our students are completing programmes with sustainability content they are more likely to recommend us to others.
What is One Planet Living?
One Planet Living is a sustainability framework developed by Bioregional in the UK. The aim is to make truly sustainable living a reality. One Planet Living uses ecological footprinting and carbon footprinting as its headline indicators. It is based on the ten guiding principles of sustainability including zero carbon and zero waste (See the full list of principles below).
Unitec chose the One Planet Living approach to sustainability because it breaks sustainability down into more bite sized, digestible and achievable chunks. Operating sustainably for most organisations means a focus on incremental changes towards more sustainable practices. But without a clear plan and an engaged team sustainability strategies can often remain no more than just a good idea or a piece of paper.
At Unitec we have created targets and committed to a series of actions to work towards each principle, with responsibilities and actions shared across the organisation. Unitec's progress will be reported live on a new One Planet Dashboard. As part of the launch of the strategy Unitec is calling for staff, students and the community to make their own One Planet Pledges. I encourage you to take a look and make one as well.
Unitec is aiming to get over 500 One Planet pledges this month. See what your friends, colleagues,and neighbours have committed to do to reduce their carbon footprint. Whether it’s meat-free Mondays or a car-free day a week, we hope you might feel inspired to set your own personal pledge. After all, every individual action matters and together we can make a big difference.
Unitec's strategy is not just to adopt these principles in relation to operation of its three campuses - it has committed to reducing its own footprint significantly. But also to ensure that the tertiary programmes delivered enable our students to act as sustainable practitioners and environmental guardians (kaitiaki) whatever profession they enter.
You can find out more about Unitec's One Planet Strategy at: www.oneplanet.unitec.ac.nz
Make a pledge at: www.oneplanet.unitec.ac.nz/MakeAPledge
The Principles of One Planet Living
I have been working as Unitec's Environmental Sustainability Manager for the past four years, to find out more about One Planet Living, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Carolyn Cox, I'm the founder of Green Businesss HQ.
I help businesses develop sustainability strategies, action plans and provide sustainability advice for businesses, industry sectors, education providers, and communities.