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Environmental Policy



Purpose
1.   The University of Waikato is committed to
    implementing sustainable practices on its campus environments, which includes practices for their protection and restoration;
    providing leadership locally, nationally and internationally in resource management, conservation, education and partnerships that are essential for society to achieve sustainability;
    meaningful partnerships with Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi, which includes full recognition of the role of Māori as kaitiaki of New Zealand’s natural environment.
2.   The University seeks to integrate its environmental commitment throughout its teaching and research activities and management actions. The Environmental Policy sets out the framework for doing so.

Principles
3.   The Environmental Policy sets out the University’s commitment to
    give full consideration to the sustainable use of resources in all of its management decisions;
    raise awareness of environmental sustainability and environmental matters generally, and encourage understanding and responsibility in the use of resources within its own community and society in general;
    consult appropriately on matters of environmental concern;
    undertake appropriate research and provide leadership in environmental issues;
    develop educational resources and partnerships that will foster sustainable resource management;
    enhance understanding of environmental issues through its teaching and research portfolio;
    contribute to community and government planning, policy development and debate with a view to ensuring that environmental matters are taken into account.

Education and Research
Teaching Activities
4.   The University promotes environmental issues and sustainability in its teaching activities by
    developing papers and components of papers which have a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies and partnerships that are required to address sustainability;
    encouraging and supporting staff to incorporate appropriate material on the environment and sustainability into their teaching programmes;
    raising awareness of environmental matters in programmes of staff orientation and development;
    conducting teaching-related activities (eg laboratories and field work) in an environmentally sensitive manner.
Research
5.   The University promotes appropriate research into environmental matters across a wide range of academic disciplines. It specifically encourages partnerships with government, industry and the community, and promotes interdisciplinary research that provides for tangible outcomes in preservation and restoration of the environment.

Sustainable Resource Management and Conservation
6.   The University promotes activities that conserve and enhance its outstanding natural environment and seeks to reduce the environmental impacts that arise from the large transient populations on its campuses.
7.   Strategies that the University has in place to ensure sustainable resource management and conservation include
    managing the natural environment to enhance indigenous biodiversity;
    promoting participatory approaches in environmental restoration on its campuses;
    managing the built environment to promote sustainability by minimising material, water and energy use, using natural assets, renewable energy and material sources effectively, and selecting resources in an environmentally responsible manner;
    encouraging staff and students to make environmentally responsible transportation decisions in their commuting and work practices;
    minimising output of solid wastes and discharges of liquid wastes and airborne contaminants;
    managing procurement processes to reduce the production of waste by-products and to forge links with suppliers committed to environmental goals that are aligned with this Policy.

Community Involvement and Public Profile
8.   The University is proud of its reputation as an environmentally and ecologically responsible institution. It is committed to strengthening and building on this position by encouraging all staff and students to be exemplars of environmental awareness and sustainable practice to the wider community.
9.   Strategies that the University has in place to enhance its public profile and encourage community involvement in environmental matters include
    promoting environmentally responsible partnerships with the wider community;
    ensuring that it’s teaching and research activities enable all students to become environmentally aware members of the community;
    conducting all research in an environmentally appropriate manner, taking account of its wider environmental implications;
    conducting its internal and external business activities in an environmentally responsible manner.
10.   Strategies that the University has in place to demonstrate its commitment to environmental concerns at the local, national and international levels include
    promoting environmental responsibility at all levels of the organisation;
    sharing resources and information for community education on environmental matters;
    providing leadership, as appropriate, for the investigation and development of community-based strategies for sustainable resource management.
11.   The University seeks ongoing interaction with community groups and community representatives in relation to environmental matters.

Social and Cultural Environment
12.   The University of Waikato is committed to promoting a diverse social and cultural environment.
Meeting the Objectives of te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi
13.   The role of Māori as kaitiaki (caretakers, guardians and resource managers) is given statutory recognition in the Resource Management Act 1991.
14.   The responsibilities of kaitiaki are extensive and aimed primarily at maintaining, preserving and enhancing the life-sustaining and supporting capacity, or mauri, of the natural environment.
15.   The University promotes full recognition and provision for the understanding of the role of the tangata whenua as kaitiaki of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s natural environment.
16.   The Tainui iwi is acknowledged as kaitiaki of the University’s Hamilton campus environment.
17.   Strategies that the University has in place to demonstrate its commitment to the role of Māori as kaitiaki of the natural environment include
    incorporating an understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi and Māori environmental rights, lore and values into academic programmes where appropriate;
    promoting and encouraging greater awareness of the Treaty and Māori rights, lore and values with respect to the environment among staff, students and the wider community;
    encouraging teaching and research into Māori environmental rights, lore and values;
    encouraging collaborative teaching and research with iwi and other Māori organisations;
    encouraging dedicated funding for Treaty/environmental research;
    actively seeking input from Māori/Tangata Whenua into the implementation of the Environmental Policy.
18.   In addition to effective management of the natural and built environment, respect and recognition of social and cultural values and rights are essential to achieving a sustainable future.
Objectives Relating to the Social and Cultural Environment
19.   The University recognises and respects the unique social and cultural environment of the University community.
20.   Strategies that the University has in place to enhance this environment, and to reinforce and respect the social, ethnic and cultural diversity in academic programmes, include
    promoting the values of collegiality and academic freedom among staff and students, and enhancing awareness of the role of the University as critic and conscience of society (with reference to the Code of Ethics for Academic Staff and the University of Waikato Strategic Plan);
    encouraging research into the enhancement of social and cultural relationships within the University community and society in general.

Statutory Environmental Responsibilities and Guidelines
21.   This Policy has been prepared and guided by codes of legal compliance and recommended guidelines of best practice, as set out under sections 22-25.
Local Agenda 21 (1992)
22.   The University seeks to develop appropriate management structures, partnerships and educational initiatives to ensure that Local Agenda 21 is adopted as a routine component of the University’s day-to-day operations. In its broadest sense, Agenda 21 provides a non-binding framework for action to achieve sustainability; it owes its existence to the Rio Declaration formulated at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.
Resource Management Act 1991
23.   The University of Waikato embodies the principles of the Resource Management Act (1991) by adopting sustainable management of natural and physical resources in order to enhance its environmental management processes and develop sustainability of resource use.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi (1840)
24.   The University’s Charter expresses the University’s commitment to meaningful partnerships under the Treaty of Waitangi. A comprehensive statement about the University’s commitment to the Treaty is provided on page 21.
25.   Other relevant legislation and local government plans
    Building Act 2004
    District Plans
    Education Act 1989
    Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996
    Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
    Regional Plans and Policy Statements
    University of Waikato Act 1963

Implementation of Environmental Policy
26.   An environmental management system is required to implement the Environmental Policy in a timely, effective and sustainable manner.
27.   The University of Waikato undertakes to initiate, implement and regularly review a proactive Environmental Management Plan, which takes into consideration the principles of sustainability, health and safety, and social and cultural diversity.
28.   The Environmental Management Plan also ensures that the University successfully and proactively meets the requirements of relevant legislation and local government plans (refer section 25).