Ontario’s Universities Help Pave a Greener Path to a Cleaner Future

Whether it’s exploring ways to adapt to a changing climate, saving energy in our homes, supporting locally produced food, or driving cleaner cars, Ontario’s universities are illustrating their commitment to a more sustainable future, concludes the Council of Ontario Universities’ (COU) annual Going Greener report.

The report, now in its seventh year, provides a snapshot of how universities in Ontario are finding unique ways to integrate sustainability into all facets of campus life and operations, and highlights how campus communities – students, faculty members, staff, researchers and local partners – are deeply engaged in issues related to climate change and sustainability.

“Universities are building partnerships to make positive changes in our world,” says David Lindsay, COU President and CEO. “Through student and staff engagement, and by collaborating with local government, agencies and businesses, our universities are helping build a greener community and creating a more sustainable future for us all.”

A few highlights from the report:

  • 17 of 21 campuses surveyed have added new research initiatives or institutes on sustainability since 2013, including on climate science and adapting to climate change
  • 95 per cent of campuses have a community or teaching garden
  • 81 per cent of campuses offer a bike repair station – up 17 per cent from last year
  • Most campuses offer free or discounted transit passes to students, or offer free shuttle transportation between campuses and to transit centres
  • 52 per cent of university campuses surveyed have implemented a sales ban on bottled water, up from 41 per cent last year
  • 95 per cent have instituted other water initiatives including installing user-friendly refilling stations

“The sustainability initiatives and research taking place on our campuses are truly impressive and they have the potential to change lives for people around the world,” says Lindsay.

Ontario’s university Executive Heads pledged in 2009 to demonstrate leadership in advancing a greener world and to report annually on their progress. Included in this year’s report are highlights from the 2014-15 Green Universities’ Survey, which reflects data collected by COU from 21 campuses.

Click here to read the entire report.

See the infographic.

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COU is the voice of Ontario’s universities, promoting the value of education, research and innovation that leads to social, cultural and economic success.

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