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About Rhodes University Environmental Sustainability Policy

Rhodes University senate first approved its environmental policy in 1998, thus committing the university to expanding its environmental programmes, research and community contributions, and to improving its environmental management practices. 

Download: RU Environmental Sustainability Policy

Policy Implementation:

Implementation Action is overseen by the RU Environmental Committee's Policy Implementation Working Group. Policy implementation is also promoted and supported through the Environmental Awards Working Group and Green Fund Working Group.

Policy Statement:

Rhodes University recognises its integral relationship with the socio-economic and biophysical environment, and that embracing sustainability as a critical focus of its operations and decision-making as well as in teaching, research and community engagement, will improve human well-being and environmental health within the university and in the broader community. This policy embraces a social-ecological interpretation of sustainability where practices and actions are viewed in terms of their benefit with regard to protecting and improving the well-being of interacting social elements – including quality of life, cultural, economic and political concerns, and biophysical elements – including the natural and built environments. Rhodes University is committed to enhancing the environmental focus of its of teaching and research, reducing its ecological footprint in terms of infrastructural development and use of environmental goods and services, facilitating more sustainable energy, waste and water management and usage strategies, and actively engaging with its constituency in order to promote sustainability.

Policy Principles:

  1. SUSTAINABILITY EDUCATION AND RESEARCH: Promote, support and expand initiatives and programmes that lead to improved understanding, development and implementation of sustainability education and research across all faculties and disciplines.
  2. WATER SUSTAINABILITY: Promote opportunities, initiatives and measures that result in efficient management of the university’s water resources, reduced use of mains water, and reduced pollution entering watercourses via storm water drains and sewers, in order to minimise the university’s water footprint and improve the sustainability of increasingly scarce water resources.
  3. ENERGY SUSTAINABILITY: Promote opportunities, initiatives and measures that enable the university to manage and use its power supply efficiently, optimise and control the use of energy on campus in order to minimise its carbon footprint, in line with national and international emission reduction targets.
  4. SUSTAINABLE WASTE MANAGEMENT: Promote opportunities, initiatives and measures that enable the university to minimise its waste generation wherever possible, promote re-use, recycling and composting, and apply responsible hazardous waste management, in order to minimise its waste footprint.
  5. BIODIVERSITY: Promote opportunities, initiatives and measures to conserve biodiversity and enhance ecosystem functioning, and reduce the university’s ecological footprint.
  6. SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL: Promote opportunities for sustainable travel, including efficient public and communal transport, cycling and walking, in order to minimise greenhouse gas emissions and reduce traffic and parking congestion on campus.
  7. ORGANISATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: Integrate development where possible with good municipal planning processes. Include environmental scoping in development plans and adopt sustainable building best practice wherever possible.
  8. SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT: Promote opportunities for sustainable procurement by purchasing products and contracting services that will assist in reducing the University’s environmental impact.

Talloires Declaration

Rhodes University is a signatory of the Talloires Declaration - an official statement of commitment to environmental sustainability. Rhodes was one of the first five South African universities to join the Talloires Declaration Institutional Signatory List, and joined the Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future (ULSF) on 16 October 1996, thus becoming part of a diverse group of more than 200 institutions in 43 countries that are committed to practicing and promoting environmental literacy.

More info: www.ulsf.org

Go to the Rhodes University ENVIRONMENT front page. Suggestions/Questions? Contact environment(at)ru.ac.za

Last Modified: Thu, 30 Mar 2017 07:16:42 SAST