Realising Reduction – The RMIT Journey Towards Carbon Neutral

  • YEAR
    Anderson, Michael
    2021 Symposium Abstracts
    Conference Papers


RMIT is taking strategic steps to become carbon neutral by 2030, through genuine actions that demonstrate sustainability leadership in emissions reduction and innovative partnerships. Building on the success of delivering the largest energy performance contract in the southern hemisphere, RMIT has participated and led two large-scale corporate power purchase agreements, rolled out volumes of on-site solar PV, prioritising energy efficiency in capital development projects, refurbishments and asset replacement programs, uplifted design standards to go over and above the National Construction Code, embedded sustainability into all large University tenders and completely divested its philanthropic funds from fossil fuels.

RMIT has a long history of commitment and action in addressing sustainability and particularly greenhouse gas emissions across operations, learning and teaching and research. RMIT’s first commitment to sustainability was in 1995 with the signing of the Talloires Declaration. This was followed by the achievement of the ATN emissions reduction target of 25% by 2020, four years ahead of schedule.

RMIT’s Carbon Management Plan sets the ambitious direction to transform the way the University uses energy and to become Carbon Neutral by 2030, this Plan was approved by the University Council in 2018. Through this plan RMIT committed to expanding the roll-out of on-site solar generation, continuing improvement of on-site energy efficiency and supporting renewable energy purchasing. At the end of June 2021, RMIT reported a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the 2007 baseline. The RMIT Carbon Management Plan addresses scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions, including a comprehensive assessment of scope 3 emissions undertaken by RMIT academics. RMIT is committed to transparency through a regular and expanding scope 3 emissions disclosures through annual reporting processes.

The comprehensive Carbon Management Plan was developed by a reference group of academics and specialists from across the University. The Plan outlines the sources of the University’s emissions and charts a pathway to reach carbon neutrality. With a strong emphasis on following the carbon management hierarchy (preferencing avoidance and reduction before offsetting) it provides RMIT with a strongly defensible pathway. In working towards achieving carbon neutrality RMIT has completed a number of world-leading initiatives, including:

  • Sustainable Urban Precincts Program – a $128M investment into energy efficiency through two large energy performance contracts
  • Solar Photovoltaic Rollouts – RMIT has installed over 600kW of solar across the spatially constrained University
  • Melbourne Renewable Energy Project 1&2 – An Australian-first group renewable energy power purchase agreement
  • Fossil Fuel Free Investments – RMIT’s entire Investment Portfolio has had no exposure to fossil fuels since 31 March 2021.


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