Element - - BUSINESS -

Unitec was the first New Zealand sig­na­tory of the UN Com­mit­ment to Sus­tain­able Prac­tices of Higher Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tu­tions.

That has led it to up its game on en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment, fo­cus on waste and en­ergy re­duc­tion and add a sus­tain­abil­ity fo­cus to its course­work.

En­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity man­ager Carolyn Cox says be­ing an ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion gives it a nat­u­ral lead­er­ship op­por­tu­nity.

“We are teach­ing sus­tain­abil­ity across the cur­ricu­lum. Re­gard­less of whether you are study­ing to be an ar­chi­tect or a busi­ness man­ager or an IT man­ager, you learn what is rel­e­vant to your pro­fes­sions,” Cox says.

“Then there is all the stuff around green­ing the cam­pus, in­clud­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Wairaka stream.

“We also have more than 40 staff do­ing re­search re­lated to sus­tain­abil­ity.

Cox says the av­er­age age of Unitec stu­dents is 29, so many of them are able to im­me­di­ately start in­flu­enc­ing what hap­pens back in their work­places.

The in­sti­tute has al­ready saved money by re­duc­ing gas and water use, and it’s pre­par­ing to in­vest in elec­tric­ity sav­ing through soft­ware that will shut down com­put­ers on its net­work overnight and on week­ends. “That should save $90,000.

Carolyn Cox, en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity man­ager, Unitec. Photo: Ted Baghurst.

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