UCT Carbon Footprint Report 2013_20140928.pdf UCT Carbon Footprint Report 2013_20140928.pdf
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2013_ISCN_GULF Report_UCT.pdf 2013_ISCN_GULF Report_UCT.pdf
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 Sustainability consultant to Properties + Services, UCT

2008 -2014

The past five years have seen a growing commitment towards the goal of a sustainable campus,
in terms of policy and practices, education, and research.

International and internal sustainability policies have been in place for some time at the University of Cape Town; however, the allocation of resources towards this goal has gained momentum more recently. In 2008, the Green Campus Policy Framework was adopted. Then the Green Campus Action Plan was developed, mainly relating to operational issues. This action plan has been implemented through the University’s Properties and Services department, the Environmental Management Working Group, and the Green Campus Initiative student movement.

The ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter has brought together policies relating to operational issues with sustainability in education and research. Programmes in research and teaching regarding sustainability are also well established and growing across all faculties and departments at the university.

A second mapping study of the extent to which sustainability principles and issues have been integrated into programmes and courses reflects an increase over the previous mapping for 2011. The African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) was established in 2011 to help accomplish the university’s strategic goal of addressing the climate and development challenges of Africa. The ACDI merges climate change with development issues, and brings together relevant research and teaching to foster inter-disciplinary approaches to these complex issues. In addition, the ACDI supports innovative research in partnership with government, business and civil society. A number of other research units at UCT undertake interdisciplinary research concerning sustainable development.


UCT’s vision commits to producing graduates who are not only well-educated, but also aware of the responsibilities of democratic citizenship. During the 1980s UCT was known for its opposition to apartheid, and today the institution remains committed to social transformation, including making tertiary education accessible to previously disadvantaged groups.

UCT seeks to contribute to addressing problems of global significance, as well as local societal challenges, including climate-change vulnerability, poverty and inequality, through research as well as through a wide range of sociallyresponsive research and outreach programmes.


The university is governed by a Council, responsible for determining the mission, objectives, goals, strategies and policies for the progress of the institution. A Senate is responsible for academic governance. The executive comprises the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, and four Deputy Vice-Chancellors. There are two Pro Vice-Chancellors, responsible for addressing the major strategic areas of Climate Change and Development, and Poverty and Inequality respectively.

The university’s Properties and Services department is responsible for the provision of all services, the procurement of new buildings and maintenance of existing facilities, physical planning, transportation, and health and safety. Properties and Services have been responsible for environmental management and sustainability in relation to facilities and services and are now responsible for reporting in terms of the ISCN-GULF Charter, with respect to Principles 1 and 2. Principle 3 aspects are the responsibility of one of the Deputy Vice-Chancellors, whose portfolio includes providing leadership in the areas of teaching and learning, and academic planning.

Presently, sustainability research across faculties is not coordinated except through specific research groupings. Properties and Services convene the Environmental Management Working Group and support the student-led environmental movement, the Green Campus Initiative (GCI). The Environmental Risk Officer, tasked with the management of hazardous substances, is based in this department.

The Environmental Management Working Group, an advisory body, reports to the University Building and Development Committee (UB&DC), and includes staff of Properties and Services, academics from a number of departments and student representatives from the Green Campus Initiative and the Students Representative Council. Recommendations on the sustainability of campus developments and operations are taken forward to the monthly UB&DC meetings; however, at present there is no representative for sustainability issues in this forum.