Auditing the Environmental Policy and Unit Support

The Rhodes University Environmental Policy and its implementation is scrutinised on an ongoing basis. This is a participatory process which involves staff and students. Various departments and institutes at Rhodes University also take the initiative to conduct research on various environmental concerns.

Institute for Water Research
The Institute for Water Research will be hosting a workshop to interrogate and promote sustainability at Rhodes University in February 2020. The aims of the workshop are to:
 interrogate (improve understanding of HOW the indicators are currently calculated, monitored and reported)
 define manageable environmental sustainability indicators for Water, Paper, Electricity and Plastics
 identify actions for tracking and achieving the indicators (WHO will be the champions, WHAT are the barriers, HOW will they be achieved)

The current indicators will also be interrogated for their usefulness, appropriateness of the annual targets, and how RU Body (staff and students) can contribute towards them.

Environmental Science
Environmental Science III students at Rhodes University conduct regular Environmental Policy audits. Their findings are written up and presented at seminars attended by peers and staff, including key leadership figures. The project reports have been made available, with kind permission from the Department of Environmental Science and the relevant students.

Journalism and Media Studies
The Department of Journalism and Media Studies is involved in ongoing scrutiny of environmental practice, both on campus and in the wider community. Their students are involved in a wide range of investigations and environmental reporting.

Environmental Learning and Research Centre
Students in the ELRC also conduct investigations on various aspects of environment and sustainability at Rhodes University.

PhD scholar, Muchaiteyi Togo, investigated systemic approaches to integrating environment and sustainability across institutional functions and operations at Rhodes University. She developed a Unit-based Sustainability Assessment Tool (USAT)to assess the level of integration of sustainability in university functions. Recommendations emerging from this research include the following points: be upfront about mainstreaming environment and sustainability in university written statements, build a shared understanding of sustainability, define what contextual sustainable development issues there are in your organisation and its context, and adopt a holistic approach to mainstreaming and sustainability, for example, by developing interdisciplinary curricula, making it a campus-wide initiative, and supporting collaborative work in sustainable development issues.

The USAT tool developed through this research has been more widely used in other African and Asian university contexts within the Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in African Universities Programme. See Stories of Change, a fifteen year Rhodes University research project culminating in the UNEP/UNESCO/AAU partnership project assessing the level of integration of sustainability in university functions, in 35 institutions of higher learning across Africa and Asia. Visit


Law Department and Conferencing Division
The Law Department is developing a Spekboom garden. Spekboom is an indigenous succulent that improves the quality of the air we breathe and fights climate change by absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Cuttings of Spekboom make lovely gifts for visiting dignatories and conference speakers. Conferencing Division is looking into ways to use these Spekboom cuttings for gift ideas, partnering with local business for eco-friendly packaging. This project speaks to the Ennvironmental Policy directive on sustainable procurement.    



Last Modified: Fri, 07 Feb 2020 08:16:47 SAST