Sustainability

We’re committed to leading the community in sustainable research practices.

low angle of tall building with plants and blue sky

The Science Sustainability Working Group (SSWG) is a team of academic and professional staff, along with student representatives, who organise projects on campus in accordance with the aims of the UNSW Environmental Sustainability Plan and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The SSWG frames their goals within three target areas:

  • Campus and climate
  • Education
  • Research

SSWG members interact with stakeholders both on and off campus to educate and influence the UNSW Science community and general public.

Sustainability highlights

Inclusive Science webinars

Developed by UNSW Science EDI, the Inclusive Science Series aims to educate our community on the importance of inclusive science, research and policy. The SSWG collaborates with UNSW Science EDI to produce webinars that highlight the crossovers between sustainability and inclusive science.

Ride2Work Day

The SSWG supports active transport at UNSW through several advocacy and educational campaigns. National Ride2Work Day is one way that we highlight bike-related resources on campus.

Noah Buscher

Sustainability projects

  • Academics in the Faculty of Science are conducting a wide range of projects, from recycling to water purification and everything in between. This project shines a light on the faculty’s early and mid-career academics and the work they have done in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

  • The UNSW Green Trail takes visitors around the Kensington campus (located on Bedegal Country) and aims to highlight the importance of plants native to both Australia and to the local area in Indigenous culture, food and medicine. This cross-faculty initiative coordinated between ADA and Science will draw in expertise from the Sustainability Working Group, Nura Gili and engages Indigenous students and community to produce a high-quality trail that reflects UNSW’s commitment to sustainability. This will also contribute to a key EDI goal of increasing cultural awareness and will actively contribute to the Culture and Country pillar of UNSW’s Indigenous Strategy. 

  • We engage with Randwick City Council and other community stakeholders to help inform the UNSW Sustainability goals, as well as local, regional and international approaches to reducing travel. All our projects are guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  

    Aimed at UNSW staff members, our Bike2UNSW Teams Group facilitates connections between people who ride to and from campus. You can use it to get advice, share information about riding facilities, meet others and suggest new bike initiatives.

  • The Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) at UNSW Science provides a framework for research and teaching laboratory spaces to measure and improve their sustainable lab practice. Originally developed by Sustainable UCL, LEAF has been trialled and rolled out at several UK institutions. This lab certification program has since developed a proven track record of reducing CO2 emissions and water use, therefore saving money. The UNSW Faculty of Science is proud to host the first pilot of this program in Australia starting in 2021, with a view to a broader roll-out in 2022.  

    If you’re interested in becoming a LEAF Accredited lab, contact us to register your interest in the next program intake. This program is also available to labs outside science and can include any spaces where research is conducted, such as computational and clinical space, as well as experimental teaching laboratory spaces. 

  • The Science Sustainability Working Group conducts an annual survey of campus greenhouse gas emissions. This has resulted in the successful detection of methane leaks around campus. When gas leaks are detected, they are rapidly repaired, which reduces the greenhouse gas footprint of UNSW, eliminates a safety hazard and improves campus air quality.

Sustainability resources

We’ve created a collection of sustainability resources to facilitate better methods of working across the faculty and campus. These include digital event guidelines, recycling in research, information on green chemistry and a Campus Sustainability Map, developed by our central Sustainability team.

Noah Buscher