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McGill creates Advisory Council on Sustainability

Published: 3 November 2016

McGill Reporter | October 25, 2016

by: Toby Davine

On Nov. 7, 17 people will gather for the first time as part of the McGill Advisory Council on Sustainability. Co-chaired by the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), Christopher Manfredi, and the Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance), Morty Yalovsky, the Council is mandated to make recommendations to position the University as a leading institution in North America on sustainability by contributing to the implementation and evolution of McGill’s Sustainability Strategy, and related plans, policies, and performance indicators.

The Council will provide guidance on sustainability challenges at the University from both an academic and operations perspective and will report to the Principal. In addition to the two co-chairs, the Council is stewarded by the Director of the Office of Sustainability, François Miller, and will include two administrators, four senior academic leaders, two students, and six members-at-large with significant expertise in sustainability governance and policy. A full list of Council members can be found below.

“Sustainability is a cross-cutting topic that requires a collaborative response from the university,” said Yalovsky. “That is why one of the Council’s aims is to build partnerships within the campus community and with external organizations. Ultimately, we want to align the efforts of key units at the University to integrate sustainability into daily operations.”

The Advisory Council will focus on the following tasks this year:

  1. Provide strategic advice on potential actions that could be incorporated in McGill’s Climate & Sustainability Action Plan (2017-2020);
  2. Leverage expertise and opportunities to increase the potential impact of the action plan;
  3. Ensure that McGill stakeholders were appropriately consulted;
  4. Ensure alignment with other significant strategic planning initiatives.

Considering the commonality of the topics discussed at Open Forums on the Recommendations of the 2016 CAMSR Report on Divestment, the Advisory Council will also consider the final report written by Prof. Frédéric Bachand on the outcomes of the Forums, which will be submitted at the end of October.

“We are at a critical juncture at McGill. Sustainability is a clear priority for members of our community and we intend to do more to reflect these values,” said Manfredi. “The Advisory Council can provide the expertise and inspiration to strengthen collaboration between disciplines to better address our most pressing socio-ecological challenges.”

The creation of the Advisory Council fulfills a key commitment outlined in part one of McGill’s Vision 2020 Sustainability Strategy, which covered the 2014-2016 period. Now, the Council is mandated to contribute closely to the development of the part two of the Strategy, the 2017-2020 Sustainability and Climate Action Plan.

“As members of the community are currently gathering to determine the next priority actions for 2017 to 2020, the Advisory Council can help bridge the divide between community aspirations and administrative commitments,” said Miller. “The fact that we are creating this Council will not solve all of our sustainability issues at McGill, but it is a significant step in the right direction.”

Members of the Advisory Council are as follows:

  • Christopher Manfredi, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) (Co-chair)
  • Morty Yalovsky, Interim Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) (Co-chair)
  • Paul Chesser, Assistant Vice-Principal (Development), University Advancement
  • Robert Couvrette, Associate Vice-Principal (Facilities Management and Ancillary Services)
  • Alan DeSousa, Mayor of Saint-Laurent, City of Montreal
  • Jayne Engel, Program Director of the McConnell Foundation
  • Victor Frankel, Secretary-General of the Post-Graduate Students’ Society
  • Anja Geitmann, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Ben Ger, President of the Students’ Society of McGill University
  • Robert Leckey, Dean of the Faculty of Law
  • Rachel Léger, Director of the Biodôme de Montréal
  • Bruce Lennox, Dean of the Faculty of Science
  • François Miller, Director of the McGill Office of Sustainability
  • Jim Nicell, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering
  • Lauren Rathmell, Greenhouse Director of Lufa Farms
  • Karen Richardson, Director of Programs at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation
  • Nathalie Zinger, Vice-president Quebec at the Nature Conservancy of Canada

Learn more about the Advisory Council on Sustainability

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