Monash University – Leading The Way In The Sustainable Development Agenda


Net Zero initiative 

Monash’s approach to energy underlines its long-term vision. Through its landmark Net Zero initiative, it will by 2030 become the first Australian university powered by 100 per cent renewable energy with net-zero carbon emissions, ‘walking the talk’ when it comes to taking action on climate change. 

The RISE project

Polluted water and poor sanitation are the leading causes of preventable diseases in informal settlements, particularly for children under the age of five. More than a billion people live in these settlements, while two billion lack basic sanitation – and that number is increasing. 

“With the current growth of informal settlements, we’re looking at another one billion people or more living in these conditions by 2050 unless we can do something about it,” says Professor Rebekah Brown, Director of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute. 

To address the issue, Monash launched RISE (Revitalising of Informal Settlements and their Environments), a project aiming to provide sustainable water services in informal settlements across the Asia-Pacific region, transforming water infrastructure, water management and sanitation practices. 

“The RISE project is a test to see if sustainable green water infrastructure actually net-improves the environment and improves peoples’ health,” Professor Brown, the project Director, says. “If it does, and meets the water needs of these communities, this could be a massive solution for a very large portion of the population.” 

The alumnus

On a personal level, Monash alumnus Sam Loni is just one example of how a single student can make a far-reaching impact. 

Loni undertook a double degree at Monash, majoring in political science and international relations. He subsequently interned with Monash Sustainable Development Institute, where he’d eventually work, and became global coordinator (youth division) of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), hosted by Monash. 

He went on to a full-time global coordinator role with the SDSN, and was named Young Peacemaker by the Nobel Peace Prize Forum.  

Loni is determined to play his part in ensuring the planet, currently at an environmental tipping point, is on a positive trajectory for future generations. 

“Are we going to be handing off a planet to future generations that is going to be liveable, that is prosperous, that’s going to be safe?” he says. “That’s the kind of question that all world leaders are going to grapple with; that’s the kind of question I grapple with every day.”