Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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An Assessment of Whether a Carbon Neutral Initiative Can Successfully Be implemented at Victoria University of Wellington

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Version 2 2023-02-22, 21:00
Version 1 2021-11-07, 21:43
posted on 2023-02-22, 21:00 authored by Kodikara, Tushara

The scientific evidence is now in no doubt - anthropogenic climate change has created a severe global problem and demands an urgent global response. The origin of anthropogenic climate change lies in the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG). Avoiding serious climate change will require reductions in GHG emissions from all sources. Universities can demonstrate leadership in this area by not only conducting research and teaching about climate change, but also by going further and starting to manage and mitigate their own impact on the climate. This thesis assesses whether Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) can become carbon neutral and therefore have no net impact on climate change. Applying a  corporate social responsibility model, the interface between the universities as teaching and research institutes and agents of change is investigated. This way, the opportunities, benefits and barriers in place for the university to become carbon neutral are identified and a framework to implement this initiative is developed. The research found several potential short-term and enlightened self-interest benefits available to VUW in becoming carbon neutral. Despite this, many barriers will need to be overcome to achieve neutrality. The main obstacle is gaining a firm commitment from the University Council and senior management. If this commitment is achieved, then VUW is in a strong position to demonstrate leadership both at the level of the local Wellington community and nationally.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Environmental Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Masters Dissertation



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Chapman, Ralph