Trinity joins worldwide Nature Positive Universities Alliance committed to reversing biodiversity decline

Posted on: 08 December 2022

Through the Alliance, 111 Universities, including Trinity, have taken an official pledge and begun assessing their environmental impact, in order to make tailored actions to improve their ecological footprint on our planet.

Today at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15), the University of Oxford and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced the launch of the Nature Positive Universities Alliance, of which Trinity College Dublin is a member.

The alliance is a global network of universities that have made an official pledge to work towards a global Nature Positive goal in order to halt, prevent and reverse nature loss through addressing their own impacts and restoring ecosystems harmed by their activities. This push is part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a movement to avert climate catastrophe and mass extinction.

The Nature Positive Universities Alliance brings higher education institutions together to use their unique power and influence as drivers of positive change. Universities already carry out environmental and conservation research to help inform government and company action, but by publicly tackling their own supply chains and operational impacts on nature, universities can help guide the wider community on a path to address the twin climate and ecological crises.

Jane Stout, Vice-President for Biodiversity and Climate Action at Trinity College Dublin said:

“Trinity is committed to a sustainable and healthy planet and is embedding sustainability in everything we do: from world-class research across disciplines, our undergraduate and postgraduate curricula, to our campus and in how we operate. There are challenges, but by joining the Nature Positive Universities Alliance, we join an international effort to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.”

The initiative launches with 111 universities from 44 countries, who have made individual pledges to start a journey towards becoming nature positive. University pledges include four key elements: 1) Carrying out baseline assessments; 2) Setting specific, time limited and measurable targets for nature; 3) Taking bold action to reduce biodiversity impacts, protect and restore species and ecosystems, while influencing others to do the same; 4) Transparent annual reporting.

The initiative is part of the UN's Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and builds on the University of Oxford's experience in setting an ambitious target for biodiversity net gain by 2035 alongside net zero commitments. Oxford's Environmental Sustainability Strategy is founded on a study which quantified its environmental footprint and established a framework to address them.

Jane Hackett, Sustainability Manager at Trinity College Dublin said:

“In Trinity, we want to play our part toward biodiversity net gain, by providing thought leadership, responsible graduates, and cutting edge research that feeds into innovative policy and practice. We also want to practice what we preach and develop a more healthy, nature positive, climate resilient campus.” 

All the founding universities announced today have pledged to assess their impacts to determine the most impactful initiatives to introduce, and to report on their progress. 

Trinity’s green campus is well known as a peaceful oasis within the bustling city of Dublin. Its natural spaces not only mitigate against the negative effects of the built environment (providing mental and physical health benefits for humans), but also serve as homes to a whole host of organisms.

However, biodiversity impacts extend beyond the campus and currently Trinity is assessing its wider impacts on biodiversity, following a University of Oxford “footprinting” approach.  This will enable development of a biodiversity strategy, which encompasses the whole of Trinity’s operations, including buildings, grounds, research, education and public and policy engagement. 

Jane Stout, Vice-President for Biodiversity and Climate Action at Trinity College Dublin said:

“People are much more aware of the climate crisis, but the biodiversity crisis, and what to do about it, is less well understood. Thus raising awareness, and increasing the knowledge and understanding of biodiversity loss and its consequences across staff and students in Trinity, as well as beyond Trinity, is a priority." 

People from a further 408 universities are already a part of the wider network, playing their part in bringing their universities closer to an official nature positive pledge, by developing research, lobbying their senior management and sharing case studies of their activities.

The Nature Positive Universities Alliance is calling on other Universities worldwide to join its collaborative network and to make an institutional Nature Positive pledge. Information on different ways for universities and their members to engage, or how to ask your university to consider making a pledge, can be found on the Nature Positive Universities website

Media Contact:

Katie Byrne | Public Affairs and Communications | | +353 1 896 4168


Thomas Deane | Media Relations | | +353 1 896 4685