McGill “walks the talk” of sustainability

From research to governance, Vision 2020 articulates key sustainability actions and goals for university
Published: 16 October 2014
The strategy focuses on a long-range vision and goals, with 14 concrete actions identified to push sustainability forward over the next two years, ranging in scope from a waste management plan to the creation of a network for collaborative sustainability research. For details about priority actions.Although the strategy itself is new, commitment to sustainability at McGill goes back over a decade and has already resulted in a number of areas where the university has shown itself to be a sustainability leader.

Five years ago McGill students voted to create the Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF) with close to $850,000 annually to support sustainability initiatives. This fund, the largest of its kind in North America, has served as an inspiration for similar initiatives at numerous other universities.

McGill is a pioneer of sustainable food sourcing, purchasing over 30,000 kilos of produce, 3,000 kilos of beef, and 135,000 eggs annually from the Macdonald Campus Farm to serve in dining halls. Indeed, the McGill feeding McGill project was recognized with a silver medal for leadership in education given by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) in 2013. McGill is also the first university in Canada to be certified by the Marine Stewardship Council for sustainable seafood, and the first in Quebec to become a Fair Trade Campus.

McGill’s has reduced its annual greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent over the past decade. Using the campus as a “living lab”, the energy management group at McGill has taken measures to reduce energy consumption that have paid off, including systematically replacing light fixtures with more efficient models and installing energy meters in 70 campus buildings in order to improve their energy efficiency. This latter project won an award from the Association québecoise pour la maîtrise de l’énergie in the Integrated Energy Management Category last year.

These are just a few examples of the existing culture of sustainability at McGill, which the Vision 2020 Sustainability Strategy aims to push further in the coming years. Reflecting the university’s commitment to the issue and with clear directions, priorities and benchmarks to be met, McGill’s Vision 2020 Sustainability Strategy provides the university with a roadmap designed to make it one of the leading places in North America to study and learn about sustainability in the coming years. 

To read Vision 2020: A Sustainability Strategy for McGill University

For more on McGill’s Office of Sustainability


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