The Learning in Future Environments (LiFE) Index has been designed to support universities, TAFEs and polytechnics to demonstrate their response to environmental and social sustainability. The system reflects not only the specific nature of the further and higher education sector but also the uniqueness of each institution, their context and their individual approaches to embedding sustainability.
Working with colleagues from across the sector, we have created a comprehensive and holistic system that you can tailor to your specific needs, incorporating your own strategy and initiatives. Our approach offers an opportunity for you to demonstrate real value from your activities, by gathering pockets of good practice that are already taking place and bringing them together as a cohesive whole, for maximum impact and benefit.
The LiFE Index is freely available to ACTS members as a set of guidelines. In providing these guidelines, we are effectively looking at encouraging a common language in holistic campus sustainability, whilst supporting our members in their efforts to embed sustainability into all facets of the core business of educational institutions. In addition, the online ecoPortal toolkits provide the tools to assess current sustainability performance, achieve key performance indicators and get staff and students engaged in your sustainability programme. ecoPortal is pre-loaded with the LiFE Index but is flexible enough to reflect unique institutional approaches.
What does the LiFE Index consist of?
One of the defining features of the LiFE Index is the flexible development and improvement frameworks housed within four key priority areas. These priority areas have been developed with a holistic approach in mind, to accurately reflect the core business of educational institutions and demonstrate the key areas of focus for those already working towards sustainability. The priority areas are:
- Leadership and Governance
- Partnership and Engagement
- Learning, Teaching and Research
- Facilities and Operations
Within each of the priority areas are a series of comprehensive frameworks that help you to review your current sustainability activities, help to guide your future strategic plans and support you to demonstrate progress in a simple, systematic and proactive way.
Within each of the priority areas there are a number of development frameworks. The frameworks are at the heart of how you will interact with the LiFE Index. The number of frameworks in any priority area bares no relation to the importance of the priority area, just the scope of the activity contained within it.
Each framework includes information that can help develop your strategy and/or business case, whilst providing you with key areas to consider in order to manage, measure and improve your performance. You will also find a number of resources and useful links to support your endeavours along the way. With the guidance provided by the frameworks you should be able to embed holistic sustainability practices throughout your institution.
ecoPortal online toolkit
To assist in implementing the LiFE Index into your institution we offer a range of online toolkits. These toolkits have been developed to help organisations at all stages of their sustainability journey, from those just starting out to those who are sustainability trail blazers. Each package is prepopulated with the LiFE Index and can be customised to the specific requirements of your organisation.
If you have any queries, concerns or suggestions for improvement, we are always happy to hear from you. Please contact us with your questions or suggestions.