UWinnipeg launches new institutional Sustainability Strategy

New Sustainability Strategy cultivates healthy, resilient communities

The University of Winnipeg has made significant strides in reducing its environmental impact over the last decade. This week, the University launched a new Sustainability Strategy that builds on these successes and provides concrete, measurable targets for greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction, community building, academic programming, knowledge mobilization, and overall environmental impact.

Our second five-year plan outlines four overarching sustainability goals and 19 targets to ensure those goals are met — assigned to each target is the key person or department responsible for carrying it out and the resources required to do so. The majority of these goals are attainable within our existing capacities and resources.

Our first goal is to exceed Canada’s commitments under the Paris Accord by achieving a 50 per cent reduction in absolute GHG emissions by 2020 and zero emissions by 2035, against a 1990 baseline year; deriving five per cent of total campus energy from renewable energy sources; and establishing a baseline and reduction target for emissions resulting indirectly from University activities, such as waste, paper use, and air travel.

Other goals include cultivating principled relationships with people and ecosystems, locally and internationally; developing curriculum and programs on campus to strengthen informed student learning, leadership and action related to sustainability; and mobilizing evidence and research to address local and global challenges.

“There is a misconception out there that sustainability is about recycling and about biking to work. These types of small individual actions are certainly a necessary condition to meeting the sustainability imperative, but they are far from sufficient. Sustainability is big. It is about taking collective responsibility for our future,” said Alana Lajoie-O’Malley, UWinnipeg Senior Advisor for Research and Sustainability. “We want our work to contribute in meaningful, substantial, ways to the fundamental transformations required to address climate change and to ensure the health and vitality of people and the ecosystems that sustain us. It is an exciting time to be at UWinnipeg.”

This new Sustainability Strategy was developed through extensive public consultation with all levels of the UWinnipeg community throughout 2016. It is supported by the Board of Regents and is presented by our Campus Sustainability Office and Campus Sustainability Council.

“Staff at the University’s Sustainability Office took the development of our new strategy very seriously and were very intentional about seeking input from, students, faculty, staff and other stakeholders both on and off campus,” said Joseph Wasylycia-Leis, Coordinator, Campus Sustainability Office. “The strategy is more than an aspirational document — it is a blueprint for continuing UWinnipeg’s success in environmental management and sustainability leadership.”

In addition to providing clear sustainability goals, this Strategy includes a detailed timeline for implementing, monitoring, and evaluating all of our targets over the next five years. This timeline includes ongoing targets, such as supporting Diversity Food Services in maintaining the highest industry standards of sustainability, and collecting data on human rights, equity, wellness, and accessibility for evaluation and future planning.

This Sustainability Strategy is aligned with our Strategic Directions and Integrated Academic and Research Plan, while also ensuring that our course forward is sensitive to what we learned through our research and engagement process. Our goals and targets have been designed with a view to ensure UWinnipeg continues to lead. We have sought to be ambitious while remaining realistic to our current circumstances.

Please find a digital version of UWinnipeg’s new Sustainability Strategy here.

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Eva Wasney, E-Communications Coordinator, The University of Winnipeg,
P: 204.988.7129, E: e.wasney@uwinnipeg.ca

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