On the road to net zero

On the road to net zero

As world leaders depart COP26, RMIT continues to focus on its sustainability ambitions, working towards a more sustainable campus, curriculum and research.

Over the past two years, the University has driven significant progress towards its goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 and demonstrated sustainability leadership both in the higher education sector and its own communities.

In 2020, the University delivered a 62% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and this year announced it had reduced the fossil fuel liability of its investment portfolio to zero.

In January, a further 22 RMIT buildings were switched over to 100% carbon neutral electricity thanks to RMIT’s involvement and leadership in two renewable energy projects.

Alongside RMIT’s environmental commitments, the University is playing a global leadership role in demonstrating how the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) can be a lens for institutional transformation and strong governance. 

Head of the Sustainability Committee Michael Vanderheide said RMIT had a proud history of advancing the sustainable development agenda.

“Part of our commitment to the SDGs is our accessible and transparent reporting practices, which include our annual SDG Impact Report which we have published for the last two years.

“This places RMIT at the forefront of sustainability reporting across the tertiary sector globally.” 

05 November 2021


Yaloak South Wind Farm. Image: Pacific Hydro Australia Yaloak South Wind Farm. Image: Pacific Hydro Australia

The University has published a Sustainability Annual Report since 2015 and a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Impact Report annually since 2019.

The two reports provide an important resource for the RMIT community to reflect on and celebrate key sustainability achievements and the University’s commitment to the SDGs. 

The Sustainability Annual Report is prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and cements RMIT’s reputation as a leader in sustainability reporting.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Impact Report contains both qualitative and quantitative data to provide key highlights of RMIT’s contributions to the SDGs. 

Vanderheide said the two reports complemented each other and provided an opportunity to celebrate the work of RMIT’s people and their role in advancing the sustainable development agenda. 

“These reports are an important resource for our community and partners, who can gain a deeper appreciation of how RMIT University is making a positive impact on the global stage. 

They can also be utilised by other higher education institutes as a model to develop their reporting practices,” he said. 

RMIT has been internationally recognised for its contribution to the United Nations Sustainability Goals (SDGs), ranking third globally in the Times Higher Education 2020 SDG Impact Rankings

In 2020, RMIT was awarded the Committee for Melbourne’s 2020 Melbourne Achiever Award for an outstanding organisation, in recognition of its social and environmental commitments. 

For a more holistic understanding of RMIT’s sustainability values and practices, see the University’s Sustainability Annual Report 2020 and 2020 SDGs Impact Report.


Story: Renzo Mori Junior and Karen Phelan 


05 November 2021


  • Society
  • Sustainability
  • Environment

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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