Sustainability Information

Below you will find information on Sustainability at Deakin, what we are working towards, our achievements and how to get involved.

Deakin Sustainability Plan

2016 saw the development and implementation of the Enterprise Sustainability Plan 2017 - 2020, which outlines the key focus areas and initiatives to embed and enhance the sustainability of the University's services, resources and facilities. In 2017 we are refining our plan to incorporate sustainability targets. Achievement of the Enterprise Sustainability Plan and associated initiatives is monitored through the University's Sustainability Steering Committee. The plan is updated every six months to provide an accurate picture for what we are achieving.


Deakin strives to provide a vibrant campus life by conserving and continually improving existing biodiversity values that make each campus experience unique. We will enhance native vegetation in accordance with the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, while creating a delightful environment for teaching, learning and recreation.

Across our four campuses and 450 hectares of land, we aim to restore the potential diversity of species.

With such a huge variety of flora and fauna impacting campus planning and management, we aim to protect and enhance the natural ecosystems, indigenous plant and animal communities at each of our campuses.

To help ensure the ongoing conservation and management of these spaces, we undertook a detailed biodiversity study of the Burwood and Waurn Ponds Campuses.

These studies mapped indigenous and native fauna and flora, their significance and location along with exotic weed and pest invasion.

Results from this study will be used in 2017 to inform our Environmental Management System.

In 2016, we ran a highly successful native tree planting day on the Waurn Ponds Campus. Students and staff from the Campus attended and together planted 1,000 trees along the south/east side of the Campus which will provide increased biodiversity and habitat for wildlife.

Tree Planting Day

The system offers suggestions for improved landscape, tree selection planning and design, plus helpful tailored reports with budgets, tasks and recommendations.

Arborplan also helps our grounds staff to access a suite of maps, data and live graphical information from an iPad dashboard view while on-site across our grounds.

The Blue Carbon Initiative focuses on carbon from the atmosphere being stored in sediment, deep in the Victorian coastline ecosystems.

The existing natural mangrove forests, sea grass beds and salt marshes can absorb carbon 40 time faster than a tropical rainforest and keep carbon from escaping for much longer, says Dr Macreadie. As such, it's imperative that we preserve established sea forests, as well as plant new ones.

Teaching and Research

2016 saw the world continue to face many complex sustainability and development issues. Our world leading research, particularly in the area of sustainable energy production and storage, is making a strong contribution to this global challenge.

After 20 years of research in electromaterials and related fields, Deakin University and CSIRO have joined forces to establish BatTRI-Hub – a battery technology research and innovation hub that will develop the next generation of battery technologies.

Aiming to accelerate the prototyping and commercialisation of energy storage technologies, the hub will boost sustainable power and energy industries, including the emerging electric vehicle industry in Australia.

In line with Deakin's promise to 'empower learners for the jobs and skills of the future', sustainability is a core commitment of the curricula. We are continually improving in this area and recognise there is work to be done to truly embed sustainability across all disciplines.

Under the graduate attribute 'Global Citizenship" education for sustainability (EfS) is considered and a number of activities have occurred.

We are currently working on a mapping exercise to understand teaching and research and will put this in our Framework.

To study at Deakin visit Courses & Research.

Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Deakin’s committed to reducing carbon emissions and the amount of energy consumed during our daily operations. By doing so, we hope to both mitigate our role in climate change and diversify our energy portfolio.

We also provide high-quality spaces for students and staff – designed as modern, enticing and collaborative work environments, and constructed using sustainable principles. From 2015 to 2016, Deakin continued to experience growth with student numbers up by over 1.5 per cent and staff numbers up by 5.8 per cent. The Gross Floor Area (GFA) of our campuses also increased by over 8 per cent.

In 2016, Deakin emitted just under 68,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent scope 1 and 2 emissions across all operations. Scope 1 emissions from natural gas, refrigerants and fuels reduced by 13 per cent from 2015, whist scope 2 emissions from electricity rose by 2.5 per cent.

Overall, the University has achieved an intensity based emission reduction, and in 2016 our total scope 1 and 2 emissions equated to 1.79 tonnes of CO2 emissions per EFTSL and 0.14 tonnes per square meter of GFA.

As a Founding Partner in the State Government’s TAKE2 initiative, Deakin is committed to undertaking actions that will contribute to Victoria’s target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To help guide this challenge, in 2016 we developed our first ever Carbon Management Strategy, which outlines our strategic approach to managing our scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. This strategy represents the first phase of what will be an area of increasing focus.

  • Becoming a founding partner of the State Government’s Take2 program, a pledge to help keep the global temperature rise to under two degrees.
  • Undertaking 104 initiatives during 2016/17 to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Committing, via policy, to being more efficient in the consumption of natural resources, and enhancing the contribution of energy efficient, low-carbon measures and renewables wherever possible.
  • Offsetting vehicle emissions for the last 10 years. During this time, 58,135 trees have been planted, offsetting 15,313 tonnes of carbon.
  • Offsetting emissions by supporting the South Pole Group's Lavers Hill conservation project between Cape Otway and the 12 Apostles in Victoria. The project protects a number of rare species, such as the Otway Black Snail and the Sticky Wattle, controls pest animals and preserves 36 hectares of vegetation.
  • Throughout 2017, further work will be done to design and implement initiatives to meet our carbon targets, including a renewable energy microgrid at the Waurn Ponds Campus, building efficiency projects and enhanced energy metering. We will continue offsetting our vehicle fleet emissions, and investigate new carbon offsetting opportunities, particularly in the area of ‘blue carbon’ which Deakin has a strong research focus, and other projects that align closely to the UN SDG’s.
  • Modifying the set temperatures of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
  • Adjusting Building Automation Systems (BAS) controls to reflect occupancy and use patterns, reducing carbon emissions by 52 tonnes per year.
  • Maintaining HVAC plant repairs, which has reduced energy consumption by 180 tonnes per year.
  • Upgrading our LED lighting, reducing carbon emissions by 88 tonnes per year.

We're also in the process of implementing several other building efficiency upgrades to further reduce our carbon emissions by 1500 tonnes per year.

As well as this, Kinesis will soon feed live sustainability data via digital screens to our staff and students, providing real-time information about our energy  usage, water consumption and other resource management, to influence how we use these supplies.


Sustainable Built Environment

The future growth of the University poses a challenge in terms of our built environment, with student numbers projected to increase by approximately 11% from 2016 to 2021. This represents an expected increase of 3,300 EFTSL across the University, with the majority being at the Burwood and Waurn Ponds campuses. To sustainably respond to this growth, the University’s Campus Infrastructure and Utilisation Plan focuses on improving existing physical assets and increasing space utilisation across the University, reducing the need for new buildings. By 2020, our GFA is expected to increase by 14 per cent, to nearly 550,000 m2 in total. Ecological Sustainable Design (ESD) principles have been incorporated into all new Deakin buildings for some years, with all new buildings currently designed and built to align with the Green Building Council of Australia’s 5 star Green Star rating.

In 2016 we began work on a smarter “Deakin specific” set of Sustainable Built Environment Principles that will raise the bar again. These are currently being implemented and focus on the design, construction, performance and occupation of our buildings and will be the exemplar of a balanced environment across all three pillars of sustainability environmental, economic and social.

We've creatively adapted and reused existing space to avoid $500 million of planned capital expenditure from 2012–2020, as well as minimise the University’s physical footprint, maintenance and operating costs.

Our new buildings and significant refurbishments aim to:

  • Minimise energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and waste generation.
  • Maximise opportunities to reduce, reuse, recycle and avoid landfill.
  • Use sustainably sourced material with low embodied energy.
  • Minimise disruption to the natural ecosystems.
  • Find opportunities to enhance or restore the environment.
  • Maximise the health, wellbeing and safety of staff, students and the community.
  • Future-proof for sustainable opportunities at a later stage.

See Case studies for Smart Sustainable Buildings at Deakin.

Sustainable Transport

We aim to reduce unnecessary work and study related travel and increase alternative and sustainable modes of transport. By doing so, we've reduced our vehicle fuel consumption and associated carbon emissions by roughly 30%. Our sustainable transport initiatives include our campus shuttle buses, car-pooling, blue moon strategy, bike facilities and offsetting air travel.

Our car-pooling system connects staff members with others who are travelling to the same place. It helps to reduce pollution and emissions, and is a simple step anyone can take to reduce their carbon footprint.

See more information

All you need to travel is a Deakin Card, and the bus runs every 20 minutes, between 7am and 10pm.

We also operate a free inter-campus shuttle bus in Geelong, as well as the Waterfront Express – a free bus service taking passengers from Geelong's CBD to our Geelong Waterfront Campus.

In support of this, we've upgraded our digital technologies and services so that staff can make full use of our teleconferencing facilities and public transport options.

We've since seen a 50% reduction in our fleet car use and in recognition, won the Green Gown Australasia award for carbon reduction – the first and only award program dedicated to recognising excellence in sustainability within the tertiary education sector in Australasia. This promotes a sustainable work culture.

Each of Deakin’s campuses has specially designed facilities for cyclists, including safe lock-up bike racks, showers and change rooms with some hair dryers and lockers.

Learn more about getting to Deakin, as well as how to get to our campuses via public transport.

Waste and Recycling

Looking for a guide to how to dispose of different types of Waste?


With our growing numbers of students and staff at Deakin University waste management is an area of focus. We aim to continue to reduce our waste and improve on our management practices. We promote reduce, reuse, recycle to avoid landfill as much as possible.

In 2016 a full waste audit was undertaken on each campus. The audit provided useful data for a planned waste management review in 2017, where we will aim to improve waste diversion and reduce total waste volumes. The trial of an organic waste composting system was also completed at the Waurn Ponds Campus, with further analysis of the results planned for 2017 to inform any longer-term implementation.

Deakin KeepCups have been introduced to reduce the number of disposable Cups going to landfill at Deakin. Approximately 774,150 disposable cups are used at Deakin every year and we aim to get this number right down. It’s Deakins #WarOnWaste. You can buy a Deakin KeepCup (or equivalent) at all Deakin food venues and DUSA. And you get 20 cents off for hot drink purchases made with a reusable cup.


Deakin supports Zoos Victoria's campaign to rid the planet of balloons by ensuring that Deakin events are balloon free and events run by other organisations on a Deakin campus are also balloon free. Please make staff, students and activity providers aware that the use of balloons at Deakin are prohibited across all Campuses.

When balloons fly, seabirds die.

Why say no to balloons?

When we think of marking a special occasion we often think of using balloons. But not many people are aware of the impact that balloons (and attachments such as ribbon and plastic ties) can have when they enter the environment.

A CSIRO study found balloons are in the top three most harmful pollutants threatening marine wildlife for both entanglement and ingestion. The impact balloon litter can have has been well documented in the Flesh-footed Shearwaters on the remote Lord Howe Island. During annual surveys of the colony, balloons and their attachments are one of the most readily identifiable items found inside the stomachs of both adults and chicks. Chicks are mistakenly fed the litter by their parents and can be left too weak to leave the nest. The decline in shearwater numbers on the island is directly linked to the ingestion of this marine debris, with a warning that many seabirds could be facing a similar fate.

Furthermore, the environmental impacts of using and releasing balloons are significant. Even balloons that claim to be biodegradable take many months to break down and contain concerning levels of harmful chemicals that leach into the ground and waterways. When used outdoors balloons often end up in waterways and oceans, harming wildlife especially when swallowed.

Better than balloons:

Try these alternatives to balloons at your next event:

  • Bubbles
  • Paper balloons
  • Bunting
  • Flags or banners (Deakin branded)
  • Kites
  • Candles
  • Floating flowers
  • Planting a tree
  • Hanging plants and flowers
  • Lanterns

Make a personal commitment to use alternatives to Balloons here

Any questions:

EmailOrganisational Sustainability

Email: University Events

During the trial, this waste was turned into a fertiliser to use in the vegetable garden that supplies the kitchen with fresh produce.

We've since carried out waste audits at each of our campuses and identified areas for improvement for the rest of 2017 and beyond.

Deakin has a Ricoh valet service, where you can recycle all waste toner bottles, waste toner cartridges and recycle all decommissioned machines.

Nespresso pods - Nespresso pod recycling collection stations are available at all corporate centres.

Metal – metal recycling bins can be found at each of the campuses, please contact Contracts and Grounds for further details.

University-owned and leased IT equipment such as desktops, screens, mice and keyboards and laptops are all recycled via return to e – Solutions.

And we're creating points for staff to drop off non-leased old university equipment such as mobile phones, tablets, mice, keyboards, batteries, light globes- at each Mailroom, on each campus, which will then be sent to a centralised location for recycling. More details to come!

Most globes and batteries contain toxic heavy metals like: cadmium, mercury, zinc, nickel. By throwing unwanted batteries or globes into landfill we can pollute underground water supplies and put our environment and our health at risk.

We aim to reuse or recycle these devices to reduce raw materials and energy used for manufacturing new products.

Please note: All items data will be deleted, and if you are unsure on the size or weight of an item and if it can be recycled, or if you have any questions, please contact

Office furniture- to order or have office furniture collected please contact Facilities Services Division:

Burwood: +61 3 9244 6246

Geelong: +61 3 5227 1166

Warrnambool: +61 3 5563 3103 or

Facilities Services Website

If you feel you need a bin for your desk you can order a small red desk top bin and a blue recycling tray for under your desk. You will be responsible for emptying your own waste and recycling into the correct bins. This recycling program has been designed to increase our recycling and decrease our waste to landfill.

To order a new red desk top bin and blue recycling tray, submit a work request here

Water and Stormwater

Water is a precious commodity and as such, we strive to increase our water efficiency across our campuses - reducing the amount of drinkable water we use for services and harvesting rain water.

The Water Act 1989 and the Water Industry Act 1994 outline Deakin's responsibilities to ensure water resources (surface water, groundwater and waterways) are managed in an efficient and sustainable way.

To achieve this Deakin aims to reduce potable water consumption by continually measuring, monitoring and managing water use to identify areas of improvement. We also aim to achieve best practice stormwater management for the prevention of pollution in our waterways such as Gardiners Creek Burwood, Waurn Ponds Creek and the Hopkins River in Warrnambool.

We aim to reduce the consumption of water across all campuses and increase water security. We have water efficient buildings which are 5 star with fixtures and fittings, and rainwater harvesting at two of our campuses. We're also exploring options for water capture and reuse, and developing a water management plan to keep our campuses as water efficient as possible. Please report any water leaks to facilities here

Contact us

Please direct Sustainability enquiries to:
Organisational Sustainability,
Manager Organisational Sustainability,
Emma Connan

03 522 78531 03 522 78531

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