At RMIT, we have an opportunity to inspire minds, and scale the change necessary to create a sustainable world.

This theme explored RMIT’s role in creating a more sustainable world.

What could it mean for RMIT to be part of the transformation to a sustainable world: to reform the systems we live by, and investing in sustainable and regenerative practices that are necessary to create a more sustainable world.

The global RMIT community shared their thoughts on how we can contribute to sustainability. We heard from staff, students, and industry partners through workshops, forums and online conversations about the challenges and opportunities we are facing, and the next steps we need to take.

Key insights that emerged from the discussions include:

  • Successfully addressing the ‘grand challenges’ we face will require nations, organisations and the people within them working together towards shared mission for impact.
  • As our communities, local and global, shift their focus to sustainability, ‘serving our community’ will centre increasingly on sustainable development.
  • We need to prepare our learners to be global engaged citizens of the world.
  • A focus on building knowledgeable, purposeful and ethics driven communities through education and partnering​
  • Climate change is an existential threat to human safety, livelihoods and life. This issue will demand our focus and attention in the next 5 years and beyond, not just to solve for a reduction in climate, but negative externalities in things like infrastructure, economic outcomes, immigration/displacement etc.
  • Understanding impact (particularly research impact) as an ‘ethos’, reflecting a fundamental shift towards a co-created, embedded and positive impact culture. ​

RMIT NEXT also held a forum on the topic, drawing on the insights and expertise of RMIT Academic and Professional staff from our Melbourne and Barcelona campuses, plus external speakers for a broader perspective.

The 90-minute event explored Environmental and Social Sustainability from different perspectives, including the challenges and opportunities that we are facing, with breakout sessions for deep-dive discussions.

Miguel explains that for Aus Post and organisations alike, “Sustainability is about supporting customers to grow, it’s about supporting communities to thrive and connecting Australian businesses and communities to the world.”

He adds, “To contribute to a more sustainable future, we need to create products that people value and make sure that we always provide a great service and value, underpinned by the idea that safety is a main priority.”

Marta from Barcelona discusses how our human activities can enhance the environment and promote wellbeing. ‘I think there is a real opportunity to rethink how we design our spaces and use regenerative design to drive that positive impact”.

“At RMIT we need to consider how our buildings have an impact on the health of the occupants and also the surrounding community. So it’s not only a factor of social 31:20 impact but obviously, it also has some economic consideration.”

Brock adds, “The importance of making great [sustainable] places and the possibilities that they offer the RMIT community will be the result of fostering responsive, resilient communities to integrated learning with industry, to intensifying knowledge systems in particular locations and delivering a great student experience and supporting all of those things with smart spaces and powerful places”.

You can re-play the event here.

Keep reading to see the community inputs and ideas on this important theme.

All of the insights gathered from the Reflections Phase will be incorporated into a Directions Paper, outlining the potential directions that will shape the final strategy and where we are heading as a University. The Directions will be launched in July!

Our world is in crisis – progress made in human outcomes and international ‘development’ has come at an immense cost to the natural environments that sustain us, and the social and economic equality of outcomes within, as well a between, nations. Faced with a series of ‘Grand Challenges’, it is now an imperative for our global community to work together to correct the negative impacts of unsustainable development on our communities, our natural environment and ecosystems


Analysis and thought-leadership from around the world, and important questions for us to consider

Worldwide perspectives and ideas How might RMIT best adapt and integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals in our work to contribute to transformative, sustained change in our world? What aspects of sustainable development should we prioritise, and what is best left to others? In what ways can we help to build knowledgeable, ethics and sustainability focused communities through education and partnerships? How do we ensure that a commitment to sustainability is embedded across every level of decision making in our organisation? In a time of increasingly limited sources of public funding and pressure on our own resources, how can we invest to maximise our contribution to a sustainable future? How can we go further and deeper in remodelling ourselves as a sustainable, long-term anchor for economic and community life in the locations where we operate? How can we work with others to achieve the transformational changes needed for a sustainable future?

Join the conversation

Share your thoughts, ambitions, and experiences on what this could mean at RMIT