About sustainability

Sustainability is more than effective use of resources, and minimising energy and waste. It underpins how we live, how we do business and how we operate socially, culturally, technically and economically.

Sustainability Snapshot 2017

Sustainability is an integral part of our operations and aims to bring about positive change for the future. Our objective is to make more efficient use of resources and enhance our environmental performance.


  • We were the first New Zealand university to add electric vehicles to our fleet. Nearly half our fleet of 145 vehicles is greening up, with nine pure electric and 64 hybrids. We drove 1,911,929km in our fleet cars in 2017 - a decrease of almost 100,000km from 2016.
  • We have 9 electric vehicle charge stations on campus.
  • Staff and students get 30% off bus travel with Busit.
  • We have 1300 bike spaces.
  • Re-Cycle (formerly Bikes on Campus) fixes, sells and rents cheap refurbished bikes (see Eco Emporium).


  • In 2017 we recycled 38 tonnes of paper, 14.5 tonnes of cardboard, 12.5 tonnes of metal and steel, over 50 tonnes of glass, and 864kg of lights and fluorescent tubes and 180 tonnes of green waste.
  • Copier paper is made from elemental chlorine free pulp (ECF). The paper mill has ISO 14001 environmental accreditation, and carries the FSC chain of custody certification.
  • We sent 600 computers for recycling and donated 30 refurbished computers to schools.
  • We produced around 470 tonnes of waste to landfill, and purchased an industrial composter to contend with 200kg of organic waste per day.
  • Across the University we recycled/reused over 250 pieces of furniture, and an additional 30 items of furniture and equipment were gifted to the community.
  • The Eco Emporium (the first campus op shop and sustainability space in New Zealand) engaged 1,200 people, and 17 student volunteers donated 200 hours. Three trailer loads of waste were diverted from landfill. The Eco Emporium also donated 12 repaired bikes to the Red Cross, and 150 items of second hand goods to charities in our local community.
  • Our two-metre worm digester diverts 3 tonnes of food waste a year.

Our footprint

  • The University won the prestigious Australasian Green Gown Award for Staff Excellence in Sustainability.
  • We were the only university in New Zealand to sign the commitment to the UN Sustainable Practices of Higher Education Institutions in 2012.
  • We used 53,525kl of water (53,525,000 litres) - 2,000 litres less than 2016.
  • We consumed 13,612,229kW of electricity - a slight decrease from 2016.
  • Our gas usage was 35,605GJ - an increase of 2,466 GJ.
  • Our carbon emissions were approximately 7,243 tonnes CO2e, a slight increase from last year.
  • A Building Management System (BMS) controls 70% of our buildings' energy and lighting. 95% of lecture theatres are on timers for air conditioning and lighting.
  • The Student Centre (Te Manawa) is a 5 star rated green building.