Cascading from our Sustainability Framework, RMIT's Sustainability Engagement Plan aims to build a community that values and contributes to sustainable principles and practices, inspires individuals and keeps the conversation going. Our engagement program has allowed us to have a consistent presence on-campus and create a level of visibility and transparency with our students, staff and wider RMIT community. Throughout the year the RMIT Sustainability Team curates a range of targeted engagement campaigns to address social and environmental sustainability through initiatives including events, behaviour change programs, campaigns and living lab projects. In recognition of this work the Sustainability Team received an Australasian Green Gown Award in the ‘Creating Impact’ category.
By collaborating with different departments across the University, as well as building partnerships with industry, we have been able to illustrate and embody the complex links that are required to balance social, economic and environmental outcomes in sustainability. Each year our goal is to link all our activities to the relevant Sustainable Development Goals.
We incorporate sustainability principles and practices into our University-wide on-campus events by encouraging event organisers to utilise the RMIT Sustainable Events Guide. This empowers teams to minimise single-use plastics, manage their waste, promote sustainable consumption and production, and increase their understanding of the footprint of their event.
For more information about on-campus initiatives visit our Life on Campus page.
Within the Sustainability Engagement Plan, four major campaigns are curated throughout the year to drive awareness and action, below are cases studies of these campaigns from past years:
For over two decades, the National Sustainable Living Festival has provided community events and an education platform to encourage widespread cooperation in the pursuit of social and ecological sustainability.
From its early beginnings in regional Victoria, the Festival has grown into Australia’s largest and most comprehensive platform for showcasing the community, commercial, and technological responses to the environmental challenges of our time.
Now the country’s longest-running celebration of sustainability, the Festival has helped to push sustainable living into the mainstream and continues to present unique and creative opportunities for diverse audiences to connect with a positive and empowering social movement.
Since 2012, RMIT University has been a proud partner of the National Sustainable Living Festival. Partnering with the NSLF provides a platform to outreach directly into our community and be at the cutting edge of the latest innovation and thought-provoking leadership in this space.
In February 2020, Melbourne hosted the first National Climate Emergency Summit - a flagship event to inspire and energise the movement. The Summit brought together expert practitioners, local governments, climate scientists, community organisations and industry innovators to advocate for action together on a public stage.
The event focused on defining and aligning high-level, emergency-scale strategies for safe climate restoration across communities, governments, environmental and social movements, and the private sector. Thought leaders and changemakers were convened to tackle the big topics spanning economic, technical and social change dimensions in an effort to chart a course of local action for the climate emergency that can be replicated on a global scale.
RMIT, as a major partner of the festival, participated in the Summit and hosted a range of on-campus events with RMIT expert panellists during the festival month. RMIT ABC Fact Check also participated by providing real-time fact-checking throughout the sessions.
RMIT collaborated with the SLF to deliver a series of engaging sessions, including a Sci-Fight Comedy Debate. The debate brought academics, scientists and comedians together to question whether this is a time for hope, or a time to watch the most well-informed animal on the planet become endangered.
Sustainability Week is held at the end of March to give new and returning students, as well as staff, a comprehensive understanding of what sustainability means to RMIT University and the important role they can play. Hundreds of students and staff are engaged through a series of online and face to face events, workshops and activations to build sustainability capability and knowledge of RMIT’s initiatives and commitments.
This week brings together internal and external sustainability champions, including our researchers and academics who run inspiring sessions relating to sustainability and creating impact to contribute to the UN SDGs.
Previous sessions have addressed a wide range of topics including:
Students and staff who participate in the weeks activities should feel empowered to demonstrate what sustainability means to RMIT, the wider community and the important role they can play.
The global fashion industry employs 50 million people worldwide. While it can be a source of opportunity, too many face indignity, abuse, low wages and modern slavery. Mass production is also fuelled significant environmental impacts, with the garment industry accounting for approximately 10% of global carbon emissions.
Fashion Revolution Week is a time to come together as a global community to create a better fashion industry. It centres around the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1,138 garment factory workers and injured many more on 24 April 2013.
The RMIT School of Fashion and Textiles is an industry leader and prides itself on harnessing the latest innovation and technology to address sustainability challenges.
The School aims to produce ‘future fashion’ graduates that embrace technology, circular design and sustainable materials.
Each April the RMIT Sustainability Team partners with the School of Fashion and Textiles and industry leaders to discuss topical issues surrounding environmental, social and ethical practices across the fashion industry. As leaders the School advocates for greater transparency, fairness, and a shift to a circular economy.
In 2020, Fashion Revolution Week was held online, the event titled ‘Transparency, Traceability & Technology’ featured panellists from ELK The Label, Australasian Circular Textile Association and the RMIT School of Fashion and Textiles. The panel discussed the challenges and opportunities of supply-chain traceability and sustainable fashion. The content of the event focused on insights from the Australasian Circular Textile Association relating to reversing the supply chain to enable closed-loop recycling for textiles in Australia.
Global Goals Week held in September, is an annual week of action, awareness and accountability for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). RMIT continues to use the SDGs as a lens for transformation. This campaign allows us to showcase what the University is doing to contribute to the SDGs across each portfolio through a strong media campaign and on the ground events. For Global Goals Week in 2020, we revisited some of the most innovative RMIT research paving the way to a more sustainable world. From turning back the emissions clock to building more durable roads from old tyres, RMIT researchers are tackling today’s biggest challenges and developing solutions for a more sustainable world.
To coincide with Global Goals Week, the RMIT Sustainability Team partners with RMIT Activator to curate SDG Hackathons. Hackathon events are run with RMIT Activator (our enterprise program) each year to explore local solutions to contribute to the SDGs by discovering innovative ways to address issues such as responsible consumption & production of our precious resources to deliver greater circularity.
Hosted by the Sustainability Team to coincide with Global Goals week and World Green Building Week in September. The Sustainability Showcase focuses on sharing the latest sustainability accomplishments as well as involving our community in practical workshops that address topics including waste reduction, energy efficiency and responsible consumption to name a few. Networking is also a key focus of the Showcase which brings our like-minded community members with industry experts to tackle key sustainability issues.
The SDGs Dialogue Series Event was held as part of the 2019 Sustainability Showcase. RMIT recognises the important role the education sector can play not only in supporting the SDGs agenda, but promoting and contributing to the achievement of all 17 SDGs. The SDGs Dialogue Series shared expertise, fostered collaboration and increased awareness of the SDGs with students, staff, academics and other key stakeholders through a panel session.
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.