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Sustainability Science Research Cluster initially spearheaded eco-Campus initiatives at Universiti Malaya (UM) with strategic and continuous support from the Department of Development and Estate Maintenance (JPPHB), Universiti Malaya Living Labs (UMLL), and Universiti Malaya Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UM SDSN). The initiatives started officially in 2016, with an official appointment of the Universiti Malaya Eco-Campus Standing Committee (UMECS) by the then Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Malaya, YBhg. Tan Sri Professor Dr. Mohd Amin Jalaludin. This strategic decision was made to answer call-on-actions in mainstreaming and strategizing efforts for the UM Eco-Campus initiatives.

In 2018, UM Eco-Campus Secretariat, under the purview of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) & Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development) took up the role of coordination, planning, and managing eco-campus initiatives: action-and translational research via UM Living Labs (UMLL) under the purview of the then Sustainability Science Research Cluster (SuSci) with Professor Dr. Sumiani Yusoff as the Dean, campus activities as well as assessing UM's sustainability performance on an annual basis.

In January 2020, the Management of the University under the leadership of the then Vice-Chancellor YBhg. Datuk Ir. (Dr.) Abdul Rahim Hj. Hashim decided to rebrand the name UM Eco-Campus to UM Sustainability & Living Labs Secretariat (UMSLLS) / Sekretariat Kelestarian & Living Labs Universiti Malaya with Professor Dr. Sumiani Yusoff appointed as the Chairperson on a voluntary basis in overseeing campus sustainability and living lab initiatives under the purview of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) UM with support of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development). The decision was made to expand the wider sustainability scope of the Secretariat on campus and beyond.

In February 2021, UMSLLS was rebranded to its initial name EcoCampus@UMCares, and merged under the coordination of the then UM Community and Sustainability Centre (UMCares) as part of the campus-wide restructuring exercise. However, in November 2021, a new dedicated sustainability center was established called the UM Sustainability and Development Centre (UMSDC), on which EcoCampus@UM was taken out of UMCares and strategically positioned as one of the three main sustainability units under the purview of UMSDC, with Associate Professor Dr. Zeeda Fatimah Mohamad from the Faculty of Science UM appointed as the first director of the Centre (in December 2021). 

UM Campus Sustainability Journey (up to 2020) can be summarized with the following diagram:

UM Eco-Campus initiative aims to develop a novel campus-wide sustainability framework with direct support from the University of Malaya Living Labs’ outputs, which contributes toward minimizing the harmful environmental impact on campus, especially by decreasing the amount of carbon emission, to bring UM with another leapfrogging record to be as one of the leading eco-friendly campuses in Malaysia and in the world. UM Eco-Campus initiatives cover mainly but are not limited to, the grounds of the Universiti Malaya’s main campus of 803.63 acres.

The initiative has transformed UM’s 800.63-acre campus, along with the Universiti Malaya Medical Center (PPUM) 42.7-acre land, into a ‘living lab’ for translational-and-action research projects in a wide spectrum of green initiatives. Hence, UM Eco-Campus via UM Living Labs is the first project of its kind in UM and in Malaysia that enables the integration of Research & Development, demonstration, and deployment of sustainability solutions on the grounds of promoting multi-inter-and-transdisciplinary research and befits the need of the community for a better campus environment.

Launched in 2016, UM Living Labs is now in its fifth cycle, where solutions are applied on a larger scale throughout the campus. It has already seen more than 17,630,000 kg of Carbon Dioxide equivalent of Green House Gases (GHG) emissions being off-setted on which the amount of direct and indirect monetary gains from these collective initiatives surmount up to RM 1,590,616.51 (2016 - 2020).

As a continued commitment to eco-campus initiatives, these efforts would be futile without the support from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation), and the Department of Development and Estate Maintenance (JPPHB). As explained earlier, in 2021, EcoCampus@UM is now rebranded and positioned under the purview of UMSDC to cover the real implementation on the ground for both on-campus and, to a certain extent, beyond the University.

Annually or occasionally, students and staff in UM are updated with the progress and achievements of UMSLLS sent to their email and official social media posting with assistance from Corporate Communications Office (CCO) UM. This initiative has officially released several publications: UM Eco-Campus Blueprint (Pelan Pembangunan Eko-Kampus UM), UM Living Labs Compendium, UM Living Lab Volume 1 to 4, and UM Living Labs Training Modules. 

General Statement on UM towards Carbon Neutral Campus & Renewable Energy

Universiti Malaya aims to be a carbon-neutral campus by 2050 with the strategic intervention of UM holistic participation from top management, campus community, and UM campus sustainability Living Labs projects as one of the core drivers in moving toward this goal. This visionary journey is aligned with UM Transformation Plan (to be rolled out in 2021) on Infrastructure and Operations, particularly the Smart Campus Initiatives. UM as Carbon Neutral Campus by 2050 covers all three scopes of carbon footprint:

Scope 1: All Direct Emissions from the activities of the University. Reported annually by UM Sustainability & Living Labs Secretariat (UM Campus Sustainability Report)

Scope 2: Indirect Emissions from electricity purchased and used by the University. Emissions are created during energy production and eventually used by the University. This scope is carried out by the Department of Development & Estate Maintenance (JPPHB) - reported annually on the Utility Section of JPPHB's official website.

Scope 3: All Other Indirect Emissions from activities of the University occurring from sources that the University does not own or control. These are usually the greatest share of the carbon footprint, covering emissions associated with business travel, procurement, waste, and water. Reported annually by UM Sustainability & Living Labs Secretariat (UM Campus Sustainability Report)

Public pledge towards 100% Renewable Energy

In realizing its vision to be a carbon-neutral campus, UM pledge to renew its commitment to focus its effort on energy transitioning from fossil fuel dependencies towards a greener and sustainable alternatives in pursuing pathways toward 100% renewable energy (solar, biomass, biodiesel, wind, etc.) in years to come by phases. These strategies will require the full support of the management of the University, staff, and students via research, education, operations, public-private partnership, industrial linkages, and green procurement practices by the UM Bursar. One of the focus areas in UM Transformation Plan (UMTP) stated the transition of UM to adopt Smart Campus initiatives for a cleaner, greener, safer, connected, and seamless campus community experience, which is also aligned with UM Master Plan 2050.

Last Update: 30/10/2022