Celebrating Laudato si’ Week

This week marks the six-year anniversary of Pope Francis’s encyclical on caring for our common home, Laudato si’. From 16-25 May, Laudato si’ Week celebrates the progress the Church community has made on its journey to ecological conversion since 2015.

As a Catholic university, ACU’s approach to sustainability and work to promote the common good is inspired by the words of Pope Francis. Laudato si’ captures the interconnectedness of social, economic and environmental justice in building and protecting our common home, and guides our efforts to support the common good and pursue the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Through our teaching, learning, research and community engagement we are dedicated to making a positive difference in society and to the lives of individuals with whom we interact. ACU has worked steadily to transform the way we operate to lighten our social, economic and environmental impact through improving our shared humanity and common home, improving our communities’ health, education and social cohesion, focus on human dignity and the common good, and environmental improvements in energy efficiency, water conservation, and waste recycling. 

Here are some of our achievements to date:

  • ACU has one of the smallest carbon footprints of any Australian university and is Australia’s most energy efficient university. Its carbon emissions per EFTSL+FTE is less than half the sector average
  • From 1 July 2021, ACU will source all of its electricity from renewable sources, cutting its annual carbon footprint by at least 70 per cent, or approximately 16,000 tonnes. And in line with the new ACU travel policy, will purchase offsets for the carbon emissions of all staff air travel.
  • ACU generates the fourth lowest amount of waste per EFTSL of any Australian university, and has a recycling rate of 49 per cent. In the second half of 2021, ACU will phase in a food-waste collection at all campuses.
  • In the knowledge that buildings are the major source of ACU’s environmental impacts, we have invested strategically and ethically in sustainable renovations, refurbishment and new-building construction.
  • ACU has three buildings rated under the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star rating system: the 6-Star Melbourne’s Daniel Mannix Building and the 5-Star St Brigid's School of Health Science Building at Ballarat, and Canberra’s Veritas Building. The St Teresa of Kolkata Building now under construction in Melbourne is designed to achieve a 5-Star rating.
  • Our existing operational sustainability program has positioned ACU well to meet the increasingly urgent demands made of organisations in all sectors for stronger sustainability leadership, and planning is underway to meet emerging opportunities.

Over the next several years, these initiatives will continue apace. Inspired by Laudato si’ and its commitment to the common good, ACU will also elevate its practice of mission-based sustainability so that it becomes a normal, positive part of the daily experience of campus life.

Throughout this Laudato si’ Week, we’ll be sharing what this means to us at ACU, the progress we’ve made so far, and how you can get involved.

Join the Sustainability@ACU group on Workplace to stay in the know.

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