Project team: Environmental Management Masters student (from left) Sandy Rippon, Rich Handler and Zola Hlatshwayo are conducting an environmental review of the University's operations.(Absent: EEU consultant, Janet Bodenstein.)
A four-month environmental practices survey is underway within the University, one that will underpin and lead to the eventual implementation of the new Environmental Management System (EMS) at UCT.
Properties and Services, led by executive director John Critien, has appointed a project team consisting of Master in Environmental Management students Zola Hlatshwayo, Rich Handler and Sandy Rippon, and Janet Bodenstein, a consultant from the Environmental Evaluation Unit (EEU), to conduct the initial review. Many staff and managers on all campuses have already been interviewed in this regard.
The results of these interviews will help to identify the environmental impacts of UCT's operations.
"The basic aim of the EMS is continual improvement in environmental performance," said Handler. "This includes minimising the consumption of resources, both energy and material, and the production of waste by the University."
The project team will look at how some of the environmental impacts can be mitigated and where good practices can be enhanced. "These recommendations will be based on best practice case studies from other universities around the world," Handler added.
"There is a growing worldwide trend for campuses to become more focused on environmental issues. UCT is a founding signatory to the Talloires Declaration (1990), a 10-point plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach at universities. Over 275 university chancellors in over 40 countries have signed it."
In addition, UCT's environmental policy is close to being approved by the University's administration. It was developed by a group of concerned academics and administrators, all members of the Environmental Management Working Group (EMWG). "This policy with the review underway, represent the first step in the long process towards an EMS at UCT," Handler concluded.