The Fiji National University (FNU) officially launched its Sustainability Plan 2021-2026 yesterday to highlight its commitment to environmental sustainability and climate change adaptation and resilience in its operations.
FNU Vice-Chancellor Professor Toby Wilkinson said the five-year Sustainability Plan was also aligned to the University’s Strategic Plan of the same timeframe, which emphasises sustainability as an overarching theme in its direction and development.
“As the national University of a small Pacific island nation, FNU has a special responsibility to show leadership in sustainability to show that we can operate more sustainably in all areas of activity,” Prof Wilkinson said.
“This is a moment of importance not just for FNU, not just for Fiji, not just for the Pacific region but for the wider world. To show that a University and community of scholars can put its collective mind and its collective endeavours towards creating a more sustainable future for us, for our communities, for our nation, for our region and for the planet.”
Prof Wilkinson said the Plan also complemented national commitments and actions addressing the environment.
“Over the past two weeks the eyes of the world have been on the issue of environmental sustainability and climate change. In the Pacific, in Fiji, we didn’t need COP26 to remind us of the urgency of these issues,” he said.
“We have seen for ourselves the impact of global warming on the increased frequency and severity of adverse weather events and on rising sea levels. We know that our health and the health of our communities depends on the health of our planet, the health of our oceans and reefs and the cleanliness of our beaches, the health of our soils and forests, the cleanliness of the water we drink and the air we breathe.”
“We have, I’m very proud to say, declared a climate emergency, one of the first universities in the region to do so. This underscores that sustainability and combating climate change is the existential challenge of our times.”
“We have been through a tough year in Fiji because of the pandemic but the pandemic will be over soon enough. Climate change and issues of environmental sustainability will demand our attention in the long term. They are generational issues that we will still be addressing and combating in decades to come and so we need to make a positive start and show leadership.”
FNU Sustainability Committee Chairperson and Director Capital Projects and Infrastructure, Niranjwan Chettiar also launched the University’s Sustainability webpage on the FNU website.
Chettiar highlighted that the dedicated page contains key information on the University’s focus areas in administration, stakeholder engagement, operations and education and research, the outreach programmes and additional resources on the University’s sustainable events and activities.
Chettiar also announced FNU staff, Anitra Chand, as the winner of the Sustainability Plan’s slogan competition for staff and students that was held earlier. Chand’s slogan entry, Green and Sustainable FNU was chosen as the winning slogan.
In addition, FNU is the only signatory from Fiji of the Race to Zero Climate for Universities and Colleges Campaign, which is a global initiative for a zero carbon world.
“In support of the Fijian Government’s efforts and advocacy during COP26, FNU is ambitious to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” Chettiar said.
“While promoting and educating sustainability, FNU strives to create efficiencies and provide operational solutions to sustainability. The key effort is to reduce its carbon footprint.”
“While targeting to reduce 25% of its carbon footprint by 2026, FNU plans to save $300,000 in electricity despite its new facilities, as well enhancement of technologies, and 40% of rainwater for non-potable use, to name a few.”