Sustainability Week 2021

As a university grounded in its mission, ACU has made a strong and visible commitment to sustainability in our policies and operations. To recognise this, we will be hosting our second annual Sustainability Week from 3-9 October, in conjunction with the Feast of St Francis of Assisi – the patron of ecology.

This university-wide celebration is an opportunity for our students and staff to discover ways to care for our common home today, to build a better tomorrow. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the steps we are taking as a university community in prioritising this important area.

Our Sustainability Week activities reflect both the importance of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si. Both these documents call for all of us to work together to care for our common home and encourages us all to act on the urgent needs facing the world – including caring for the environment, fighting poverty and hunger, reducing inequalities, fostering peace and justice, and creating sustainable communities.

The ACU Sustainability Report 2020 showcases the university’s efforts to foster the connection between environmental stewardship and the common good. We’ll release a 2021 report towards the end of year.

‘Modern slavery impacts’

As a Catholic university, we have a particular role to play in upholding the inherent dignity of each human being. This not only includes those with whom we study, work and engage, but also extends beyond our campuses. We take actions to support fair treatment and decent working conditions for all people, and to acknowledge the indivisible link between environmental sustainability and the impact of modern slavery.

The theme of Sustainability Week 2021, ‘Modern slavery impacts’, recognises ACU’s deep commitment to preventing and ultimately eliminating the impact of modern slavery in its operations, business partnerships and supply chain. It also acknowledges the clear, but not immediately obvious, link between modern slavery and what we commonly call ‘sustainability’: when ecosystems break down, those who depend on them become vulnerable to modern slavery.

This week will shine a spotlight on the terrible harm that continues to happen all over the world and in Australia. We will also look at the ways we can make a difference.

Of importance for ACU during Sustainability Week is the notion of integral ecology. Integral ecology means that everything is interconnected. It is concerned for the poor and the marginalised as well as the environment. It is founded on the understanding that decisions made by people affect creation, others and future generations. An understanding of integral ecology is at the core of Pope Francis’s message in Laudato si’ and his call for “an ecological conversion” that entails a holistic and comprehensive approach to healing a broken world:

"The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to the causes related to social degradation" (Laudato Si’ 48).

Sustainability Week events

Sustainability Week 2021 will feature online and in-person events that focus on the impacts of modern slavery, climate change, ethical investment, sustainable travel and more.

While COVID-19 lockdowns mean face-to-face events are not possible on all campuses, there are still many ways you can participate online. Events and resources include a panel on sustainable investing with expert guests, social media competitions, and some worthwhile films and books for you to check out.

Look out for details of scheduled events and ways you can get involved in future news articles and the Sustainability@ACU Workplace group.

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