What is LiFE

This University values sustainability across the four values of being insightful, inclusive, impactful and inspiring.

Sustainability leadership

Together we are affecting change for the benefit of the public good. Charles Sturt University has adopted the Learning in Future Environments (LiFE) index as a key element to the University's Strategy. LiFE is a structured process for evaluating current practices that support or impede good sustainability practices and for developing improvement plans via cross-organisational participation. Professor Andrew Vann, former Vice-Chancellor discusses LiFE and the universities commitment to sustainability leadership.

Learn more about LiFE

Our strategic commitment to sustainability

The LiFE initiative helps tertiary education institutions evaluate whether their current practices support or impede effective, impactful and innovative sustainability approaches. We’ve developed action plans following participatory benchmarking workshops undertaken between 2013 and 2016. These workshops involved over 100 stakeholders across the University’s nine campuses.

We are part of something bigger

The LiFE process helps us manage and document evidence of sustainability so that we can gain accreditation and compare with around 70 other institutions in the world, including Macquarie University, James Cook University and University of Tasmania here at home. We are also an active member of Australian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS).

The role of our champions is to embed sustainability practices

A diverse group of LiFE champions embed sustainability into our university culture. These champions are sustainability change enablers across the LiFE frameworks. They lead by example, hold individual beliefs around sustainability, and possess key knowledge and energy that encourages others to think and act in more sustainable ways. Champions are critical as the ‘feet on the ground’ across the University and are critical to the implementation of the LiFE action plans.

Our LiFE champions:

  • Know the framework action plan inside and out and will happily tell you all about it
  • Encourage you to include sustainability tasks in your work unit operational plans and staff performance plans (EDRS)
  • Make sure sustainability is on the agenda at meetings
  • Track our progress and success against action plan frameworks
  • Keep the lines of communication open between Charles Sturt Sustainability and framework stakeholders
  • Share stories of our achievements and good practice to celebrate our successes

Champions can be contacted to discuss the implementation of the LiFE action plans. Many of our wonderful champions are pictured in each framework section.

Life Champions Tool Kit

Sustainability rewards and recognition

We acknowledge and celebrate our sustainability achievements and initiatives. We do this by a dedicated Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Sustainability and the Sustainability Champions peer-to-peer recognition program.

We have been recognised by others for our good practices in sustainability through the following awards:

Green Gown Awards Continuous Improvement Winner 2019 - Charles Sturt University

Pictured:  2019 - Green Gown Award winners at Larnach Castle, Dunedin, NZ

(Centre front row - Charles Sturt Sustainability Manager Ed Maher and Kym Witney-Soanes and Michelle Wilkinson with Charles Sturt's Award for Continuous Improvement across all areas of the LiFE framework)

Climate Active - Carbon Neutral Organisation

We are also the first University in Australia to achieve certified carbon neutrality.

Benchmarking our progress toward best practice

Under LiFE, there are four priority areas and 16 frameworks.

table 4 priority areas and 16 frameworks tabs

The benchmarking workshops gave us a set of action plans for the 16 frameworks. These showed how well Charles Sturt University was performing and rated (out of four) our progress toward best practice. Most importantly, the actions we took from the workshops will progress the university toward best practice. These graphs show our baseline ratings across each activity area.

The below graph shows our overarching performance across all the frameworks to date.

LiFE overarching graph 2020