Sustainability Committee

Sustainability Committee

RMIT’s Sustainability Committee is the highest governing body with the responsibility to promote and coordinate sustainability initiatives across all areas of the University.

Its goal is to ensure sustainability principles and practices are embedded within the University’s core teaching and learning, research, governance and operational activities.

The Sustainability Committee reports through the Chair to the Vice Chancellor’s Executive on the University’s sustainability performance and makes recommendations about sustainability-related commitments, policies, planning and partnerships. It is also responsible for oversight of the University's commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Terms of reference

RMIT University has a long-standing commitment to incorporating sustainability into its core activities of teaching, research and operations.

The Sustainability Committee is a University Management Committee of VCE. The University established the Sustainability Committee, to act as the governance body with oversight of the development and implementation of sustainability initiatives across all areas of the University (including all entities).

Objective

The objective of the RMIT Sustainability Committee (the “Sustainability Committee”) is to provide leadership, coordination and guidance to the University on the integration of sustainability principles and practices throughout the University’s core governance, teaching & learning, research and operational activities. 

Responsibilities of the Committee

The RMIT Sustainability Committee will:

  • Report to VCE on the status of the University’s sustainability performance, including its observance of external commitments and obligations.
  • Review and make recommendations to VCE in relation to the development of sustainability-related commitments, policies and strategies, including the establishment of University-wide performance targets.
  • Oversee the University’s commitments and reporting obligations to external agencies and stakeholders.
  • Promote a strong risk culture by adhering to institutional, social and environmental thresholds, managing risk exposures, and enabling considered, transparent and risk-aware decisions to be made.
  • Act as a coordinating unit for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across the University, creating a common narrative, collateral, and enabling mechanisms to further the SDGs in curricula, research and engaged partnerships.
  • Support the development of sustainability communication and engagement activities to promote understanding and catalyse action in the University community (staff and students).
  • Oversee the integration of sustainability into the University’s teaching, learning and research activities and facilitate collaboration across disciplines and functions.
  • Support the sustainability-related initiatives and activities of RMIT students.
  • Incorporate sustainability practices into the University’s governance and operational functions.
  • Provide oversight of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) framework to ensure that human rights (including Modern Slavery), labour, environment and anti-corruption obligations are met as a signatory to the UN Global Compact.

The responsibilities outlined above will be discharged through Members’ coordination of the following focus areas:

  • Governance
  • Learning & Teaching
  • Research
  • Student and Staff Engagement
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Operational Working Groups

Meetings

The RMIT University Sustainability Committee will meet between four and six times a calendar year, on dates to be agreed by Committee Members at the commencement of each year.

Responsibilities of members

Chair – Chief Operating Officer

Deputy Chair – Senior Manager, Sustainability

Members of the Sustainability Committee will:

  • Regularly attend meetings of the Committee
  • Represent their area of responsibility within RMIT in relation to matters to be addressed by the Sustainability Committee
  • Monitor the implementation of sustainability initiatives in their portfolios/ work areas and provide advice, observations and/or recommendations to the Committee about such initiatives
  • Keep their respective portfolios informed about the outcomes of the Sustainability Committee
  • Consider the resource implications of all proposals discussed and include a resources assessment in all recommendations
  • Actively promote sustainability-related developments and initiatives through their networks within and outside RMIT, as appropriate

Operational Working Groups

Operational Working Groups can be formed under the Sustainability Committee to address particular risk or opportunity faced by RMIT across the environmental, social, economic and governance dimensions of sustainability. Each Operational Working Group will be led by a person with relevant expertise, who will be required to provide regular updates on the progress of the group back to the Committee. The groups will draw upon the expertise of academic and operational staff to implement sectoral best practice in key areas. Operational Working Groups can be formed and disbanded by the Committee Chair to address specific University requirements. 

Definition

As a signatory to both the United Nations Global Compact and the Universities Commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDSN Australia/New Zealand 2017), RMIT defines sustainability as:

  • development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for people and the planet
  • harmonising three core pillars: economic health, social inclusion and environmental protection, which are interconnected, and crucial for the wellbeing of individuals, societies and ecosystems.

Further information

For further information, email the committee at sustainability.committee@rmit.edu.au.

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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 created by Louisa Bloomer