History of the Environmental Policy

Responding to a motion submitted by Senator Sam Johnston, Vice-President University Affairs of the Students' Society of McGill University (D98-70), Senate, at its meeting on 28 April 1999, approved the following resolution:

"Be it resolved that Senate strike a working group under the Senate Committee on Physical Development in order to recommend to Senate an environmental policy with which to address environmental issues in a progressive and efficient manner."

In February 2000, following appropriate consultation, the Senate Committee on Physical Development (SCPD) established an Environmental Policy Workgroup whose mandate was to propose an environmental policy for the University.

Environmental Policy Workgroup

The Environmental Policy Workgroup membership included equal representation of students, non-academic staff, and academic staff:

Professor Saeed Mirza
Department of Civil Engineering (Workgroup Chair)

Professor John Henning
Department of Agricultural Economics, Macdonald Campus

Professor Peter Brown
Director of the McGill School of Environment (MSE)

Professor Adrian Sheppard
Member of the Architectural Advisory Subcommittee of SCPD

Catherine Wickham/Normand Laguë *
Purchasing Services

Joe Ferrara
District Supervisor, Waste and Recycling, Building Services Facilities Management/Development representative

Susan Campbell
Student Residences representative

Jeff Roberts/Catherine Seaborn **
SSMU representative

Alexander MacDonald
MCSS representative

Brian Sarwer/Foner
PGSS representative

Karine Kisilenko
MSE student representative

Helen M.C. Richard

* Catherine Wickham, Purchasing Services representative until June 2000, was succeeded by Normand Laguë.
** Jeff Roberts, SSMU representative until June 2000, was succeeded by Catherine Seaborn.

The Environmental Policy Workgroup benefited from the participation and contribution of non-official members, Mr. Peter Barry (MSE), Mr. Robert Oxley (Department of Agricultural Economics), and Mr. Vinh Ha (Energy Conservation, Facilities Management). It met with Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) Morty Yalovsky and SSMU President Wojtek Baraniak and VP University Affairs Clara Péron.

The Environmental Policy Workgroup reviewed a vast documentation on the subject, including a draft working document entitled "McGill University's Green Plan" prepared by Robin Fowler, Claude Lahaie, and Jim Nicell, dated November 1996. Though that document to our knowledge was not submitted to any Senate committee for consideration and approval, it serves to show that at least one previous attempt was made to propose an institutional action plan whose objective was "to provide McGill University and its affiliated community with goals and a structure that will promote environmental responsibility." The Environmental Policy Workgroup also familiarized itself with two Declarations of which McGill was a signatory: the 1990 Talloires Declaration and the 1991 Halifax Declaration. It also reviewed the environmental policies which have been adopted and implemented by a number of leading universities in North America but attempted to use the experience, expertise and imagination of its members, as well as appropriate consultations within the University, to design a policy and an action plan suited for McGill.

In November 2000, the Environmental Policy Workgroup submitted a proposal for an environmental policy for McGill University for consideration by the Senate Committee on Physical Development. This proposal contained an environmental policy, seven principles, twelve recommendations and a list of suggested implications.

Proposed Environmental Policy

I. McGill's mission

The mission of McGill University is the advancement of learning through teaching, scholarship, and service to society: by offering to outstanding undergraduate and graduate students the best education available; by carrying out scholarly activities judged to be excellent when measured against the highest international standards; and by providing service to society in those ways for which we are well suited by virtue of our academic strengths.

(Principal's Task Force on Priorities, May 1991)

II. Existing obligations

In December 1991, McGill University was one of the sixteen Canadian signatories of the Halifax Declaration which called for the University's dedication to a number of actions to be taken within the University and at the local, national and global levels. The Halifax Declaration reads as follows:

Human demands upon the planet are now of a volume and kind that, unless changed substantially, threaten the future well-being of all living species. Universities are entrusted with a major responsibility to help societies shape their present and future development policies and actions into the sustainable and equitable forms necessary for an environmentally secure and civilised world...

The Halifax meeting (held in December 1991) added its voice to those many others world-wide that are deeply concerned about the continuing widespread degradation of the Earth's environment, about the pervasive influence of poverty on the process, and about the unsustainable environmental practices now so widespread. The meeting expressed the belief that solutions to these problems can only be effective to the extent that the mutual vulnerability of all societies, in the South and in the North, is recognised, and the energies and skills of people everywhere be employed in a positive, co-operative fashion. Because the educational, research and public service roles of universities enable them to be competent, effective contributors to the major attitudinal and policy changes necessary for a sustainable future, the Halifax meeting invited the dedication of all universities to the following actions:

  1. To ensure the voice of the university be clear and uncompromising in its ongoing commitment to the principle and practice of sustainable development within the university, and at the local, national and global levels.
  2. To utilise the intellectual resources of the university to encourage a better understanding on the part of society of the inter-related physical, biological and social dangers facing the planet Earth.
  3. To emphasise the ethical obligation of the present generation to overcome those current malpractices of resource utilisation and those widespread circumstances of intolerable human disparity which lie at the root of environment unsustainability.
  4. To enhance the capacity of the university to teach and practice sustainable development principles, to increase environmental literacy, and to enhance the understanding of environmental ethics among faculty, students and the public at large.
  5. To cooperate with one another and with all segments of society in the pursuit of practical capacity-building and policy measures to achieve the effective revision and reversal of those current practices which contribute to environmental degradation, to South-North disparities and the inter-generational inequity.
  6. 6. To employ all channels open to the university to communicate these undertakings to UNCED (the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Brazil in 1992), to governments and to the public at large.

McGill is also one of the 270 signatories of the Talloires Declaration of the Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future, a process initiated at the Tufts University European Centre in Talloires (Haute-Savoie, France) in October 1990 and coordinated by the Tufts University-based Secretariat of University Presidents for a Sustainable Future. As such, McGill University has committed itself to taking a number of actions, in particular "to ensure that all university graduates are environmentally literate, and have the awareness and understanding to be ecologically responsible citizens", and "to set an example of environmental responsibility". Few members of the McGill University community have, until now, been aware that the University has signed such a Declaration. In order to "set an example of environmental responsibility" as required by the Talloires Declaration, the McGill community is expected to commit itself seriously and to act sincerely to minimize negative environmental impact. The Talloires Declaration reads as follows:

We, the presidents, rectors, and vice chancellors of universities from all regions of the world are deeply concerned about the unprecedented scale and speed of environmental pollution and degradation, and the depletion of natural resources.

Local, regional, and global air and water pollution; accumulation and distribution of toxic wastes; destruction and depletion of forests, soil, and water; depletion of the ozone layer and emission of "green house" gases threaten the survival of humans and thousands of other living species, the integrity of the earth and its biodiversity, the security of nations, and the heritage of future generations. These environmental changes are caused by inequitable and unsustainable production and consumption patterns that aggravate poverty in many regions of the world.

We believe that urgent actions are needed to address these fundamental problems and reverse the trends. Stabilization of human population, adoption of environmentally sound industrial and agricultural technologies, reforestation, and ecological restoration are crucial elements in creating an equitable and sustainable future for all humankind in harmony with nature.

Universities have a major role in the education, research, policy formation, and information exchange necessary to make these goals possible. Thus, university leaders must initiate and support mobilization of internal and external resources so that their institutions respond to this urgent challenge.

We, therefore, agree to take the following actions:

  1. Use every opportunity to raise public, government, industry, foundation, and university awareness by openly addressing the urgent need to move toward an environmentally sustainable future.
  2. Encourage all universities to engage in education, research, policy formation, and information exchange on population, environment, and development to move toward global sustainability.
  3. Establish programs to produce expertise in environmental management, sustainable economic development, population, and related fields to ensure that all university graduates are environmentally literate, and have the awareness and understanding to be ecologically responsible citizens.
  4. Create programs to develop the capability of university faculty to teach environmental literacy to all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.
  5. Set an example of environmental responsibility by establishing institutional ecology policies and practices of resource conservation, recycling, waste reduction, and environmentally sound operations.
  6. Encourage involvement of government, foundations, and industry in supporting interdisciplinary research, education, policy formation, and information exchange in environmentally sustainable development. Expand work with community and non-governmental organizations to assist in finding solutions to environmental problems.
  7. Convene university faculty and administrators with environmental practitioners to develop curricula, research initiatives, operations systems, and outreach activities to support an environmentally sustainable future.
  8. Establish partnerships with primary and secondary schools to help develop the capacity for interdisciplinary teaching about population, environment, and sustainable development.
  9. Work with national and international organizations to promote a worldwide university effort toward a sustainable future.
  10. Establish a Secretariat and a steering committee to continue this momentum, and to inform and support each other's efforts in carrying out this declaration.

III. Moving forward

It is timely for McGill now to take steps to live up to its commitments to the Halifax and Talloires Declarations, as other prominent universities have done. By providing a framework and reference for future action and enabling the University community to clarify and implement the implications of its commitment, this Environmental Policy will make it easier for McGill to meet the institutional obligations that are defined broadly in the Halifax and Talloires Declarations.

Should an Environmental Policy and an implementation plan for McGill require further justification, we are convinced that the University will reap great benefits from formalizing its commitment to the Environment, from taking on a leadership role, and making itself known as an environmentally responsible institution. McGill students who have been pushing for firmer University commitment and action are prepared to participate in and support the University's efforts. McGill's image as a good citizen and as a leader in the local and broader community will be enhanced, as will McGill's appeal to students. By rallying the participation of staff and students and drawing on their sense of responsibility, creativity and imagination, an Environmental Policy and implementation plan will contribute to securing a healthy environment for future generations.

The implementation of the Environmental Policy will require an initial investment of funds, however this investment will pay dividends in terms of securing a healthier future and will yield savings as McGill becomes more efficient and less wasteful.

In view of the importance of the environment to the University and the University's commitment to protecting the environment, it is recommended that the mission statement of McGill University should be amended as follows: The mission of McGill University is the advancement of learning through teaching, scholarship, and service to society: by offering to outstanding undergraduate and graduate students the best education available; by carrying out scholarly activities judged to be excellent when measured against the highest international standards; and by providing service to society in those ways for which we are well suited by virtue of our academic strengths and our commitment to the restoration and preservation of the Environment.

IV. Environmental Policy statement

We at McGill University are committed to fulfilling our academic mission and managing all resources in harmony with our natural environment. We are committed to meeting our social, scientific, ethical and educational leadership responsibility in actively promoting the restoration and preservation of a healthy environment for the future, for all living species, and in contributing to building an equitable world.

Our commitment to raising environmental awareness and acting on it is manifested in our teaching and research activities, in other services which we provide to the McGill community and society at large, and in the individual and collective decisions which we take to offset the negative impact of the University's operation and activities on the Environment.

We are committed to ensuring that our students will be environmentally literate upon graduation, by fostering the appropriate values, knowledge, and skills to enable them to work towards the restoration and preservation of the Environment.

V. Principles

The University shall abide by the following principles:

  1. McGill University shall be, at a minimum, in conformity with the 1991 Halifax Declaration and 1990 Talloires Declaration, and with all laws and regulations passed by municipal, provincial, national, and international bodies. Should these obligations conflict, the University shall select the standards most compatible with the six principles listed below, in keeping with its leadership role and its goal of excellence.
  2. The McGill University community shall minimize energy use, the overconsumption of other resources and the production of waste, and seek to eliminate the release of substances harmful to the biosphere.
  3. The University shall work towards to adopting full-cost accounting procedures which consider and incorporate all private and public, direct and indirect costs over the entire life-cycle of all University facilities, operations, and functions.
  4. The University shall adopt purchasing policies which favour environmentally-benign, post-consumer, bio-degradable, and non-toxic products wherever possible.
  5. The University shall ensure that all members of the McGill community be environmentally literate and that the University's Environmental Policy be well advertized in the local and broader community.
  6. All members of the McGill community shall apply the concept of "Re-think/Reduce/Re-use/Recycle". Given the costs that recycling entails, reduce and re-use options shall always be considered first.
  7. McGill University shall have the goal of being recognized as an environmentally safe and responsible institution of learning and a model of environmentally responsible living.

Proposed Recommendations

Recommendation 1

A permanent committee of Senate, the Senate Committee on the Environment, shall be struck:

  1. to monitor the implementation and success of McGill's Environmental Policy by setting targets and measuring progress towards those targets, and to review the Committee's mandate;
  2. to review relevant University policies, decisions, and management practices to ensure consistency with McGill's Environmental Policy;
  3. to receive suggestions and refer environmental issues to appropriate services and committees;
  4. to develop new environment-conservation initiatives and make recommendations to the appropriate services and committees;
  5. to appoint appropriate subcommittees and workgroups that may assist the Committee in carrying out its mandate in specific areas;
  6. to devise an environmental literacy/ethics program for the McGill community, so that all staff, students and visitors may be sensitized to the need for responsible environmental management and motivated to participate in McGill's plan;
  7. to report at least annually to Senate and the Board of Governors, and to the University-at-large through the appropriate channels (e.g. The McGill Reporter) on goals and performance with respect to
    1. purchasing policies and practices,
    2. energy conservation (electricity, water, oil, natural gas) and use of renewable energies,
    3. fuel use for University operations and transportation of students and staff to and from the University,
    4. waste reduction and management (reduce, re-use and recycling programs),Recommendations shall be brought back at the level of faculties, departments, and services.
    5. conservation-design, operation and maintenance of buildings and grounds, and all other issues relevant to the Committee's mandate.

It is recommended that the composition of the Committee shall be composed of:

  • five members of the academic staff, including at least one from the Macdonald Campus, and one of whom shall serve as Chair of the Committee;
  • five student members, one each from PGSS, SSMU, MCSS, MSE, and QPIRG;
  • five members of the administrative and support staff, one each from Purchasing Services, Student Residences, the Environmental Safety Office, Facilities Management, and Printing Services.

It is recommended that the Senate Nominating Committee should first approach members of the current Environmental Policy Workgroup and that, wherever possible, the members of the Workgroup should be encouraged to serve on the permanent Senate Committee on the Environment.

Recommendation 2

The Principal shall report annually to Senate on the conformity of the University's actions and practices with each of the principles of McGill's Environmental Policy. Specific attention shall focus on steps taken to ensure that adequate funding is made available for the implementation of the University's Environmental Policy and that this be reflected in the University's operating budget.

Recommendation 3

  1. The Board of Governors of McGill University shall report annually to Senate on whether the University's endowment funds are invested according to the principles of McGill's Environmental Policy.
  2. The Pension Administration Fund shall report annually to Senate on whether the pension funds are invested according to the principles of McGill's Environmental Policy.

Recommendation 4

The Senate Committee on the Environment shall commission a comprehensive environmental audit to:

  1. determine the current status of environmental management in the University;
  2. identify strengths and weaknesses of the Environmental management system;
  3. establish priorities for the coming years;
  4. serve as a benchmark for future evaluations of the University's environmental management system.

Recommendation 5

A full-time environmental officer shall be appointed to:

  1. promote and ensure the implementation of the University's Environmental Policy and facilitate participation and coordinate action towards this end;
  2. oversee environmental audits;
  3. collect and disseminate relevant documentation and information;
  4. prepare progress reports, assess needs and develop further pro-active initiatives;
  5. submit budget requests for implementation of McGill's Environmental Policy and related projects;

McGill's environmental officer shall be guided by the Senate Committee on the Environment and report directly to the Principal.

Recommendation 6

The University's Vice-Principals shall take steps to ensure the use of full-cost accounting to:

  1. help managers make decisions that will reduce or eliminate their environmental costs;
  2. better track environmental costs that may have been previously obscured in overhead accounts or otherwise overlooked;
  3. better understand the Environmental costs and performance of processes for more accurate full-cost life-cycle budgeting, in particular as it applies to the full life-cycle of University buildings and property, and to promote more efficient and environmentally responsible operations;
  4. broaden and improve the investment analysis and appraisal process to include potential environmental impacts; and
  5. support the development and operation of a comprehensive environmental management system.

Recommendation 7

Faculties and the Academic Policy and Planning Committee of Senate shall identify the means by which a McGill education can best ensure that McGill graduates are environmentally literate and numerate.

Recommendation 8

The Research Policy Committee shall continue to establish regulations and guidelines to ensure that McGill researchers meet the requirements of each of the principles of McGill's Environmental Policy.

Recommendation 9

The Senate Committee on Physical Development shall:

  1. propose to Senate an amendment to its mandate to reflect McGill's Environmental Policy;
  2. invite its Gardens and Grounds Subcommittee to develop and report on a program to phase out the use of harmful pesticides, seek alternatives to the use of outdoor salt; to encourage the use of compost and indigenous plants, and the planting of trees for natural air-conditioning; to reduce noise and odour pollution and the proliferation of posters on campus; and to initiate and support efforts to landscape forgotten spaces;
  3. invite its Architectural Advisory Subcommittee to establish environmentally responsible norms for the design of new buildings and renovations to which architects should conform, and to report on ways whereby it proposes to apply McGill's Environmental Policy to material use, and the conservation, remodeling, planning, and design of McGill campus buildings.

Recommendation 10

The Building and Property Committee of the Board of Governors shall propose to the Board of Governors amendments to its mandate to reflect McGill's Environmental Policy (e.g. to cover such issues as environmental design, life-cycle costing of buildings, etc.)

Recommendation 11

The student societies of McGill University and interested students' groups shall be encouraged to work together in an inter-body student council for the Environment to:

  1. publicize and disseminate McGill's Environmental Policy and other relevant information to the students and facilitate student involvement in implementing the Policy, fostering environmentally responsible behaviour;
  2. assess needs, make demands, monitor progress on policy implementation, consult, and report to the Senate Committee on the Environment;
  3. create permanent environmental positions within McGill's student societies.

Recommendation 12

Given that an institutional Environmental Policy cannot be effective without full individual and community commitment, dedication, and action:

Staff, students, and visitors to McGill University shall be made aware of the implications of the University's commitment to the protection of the Environment and of the requirement that each one of us re-think our daily ways and habits, work methods, and decisions, and act responsibly so as to minimize our negative impact on the Environment.

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Suggested Implications

Environmental Policy implications suggested by the Environmental Policy Workgroup for consideration by all individuals and bodies to whom the above recommendations are addressed.

If the proposed Environmental Policy and its principles and recommendations are approved, the following policy implications should be seriously considered for the implementation of McGill's Environment Policy.

Environmental leadership in the community
(Principles 5, 6, and 7; Recommendations 2, 11, and 12):


  • exercise the role of the University as social critic, agent of change, leader, etc.
  • draw attention to abuses and suggest fixes and alternatives;
  • identify community needs for environmental information, assessment, and technology transfer;
  • support environmental community projects which require specific university staff expertise for their realisation;
  • exercise the University's influence on governments and policy-making in environmental issues;
  • provide a forum for a public consultation on new environmental policies;
  • network with other institutions and environmental groups;
  • host and publicize environmental conferences in order to advance environmental concerns and solutions, for example a meeting of the Canadian signatories of the Talloires Declaration or a specific University-wide conference to increase environmental awareness;
  • award an annual prize to individuals and groups who have shown initiative and leadership in promoting and practicing environmental responsibility within the University;
  • explore ISO standards and the feasibility and value to McGill of getting ISO certification, using the Swine Unit on the Macdonald Campus as a model;
  • encourage other Canadian universities to endorse the Halifax Declaration;
  • establish a network among universities in order to share information about the greening of the universities;
  • help in the establishment of an environmental advisory group within the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada to review progress at the national level;
  • promote the importance of environmental education and advocate to have it recognized as a priority on the U.N. agenda.

Public education

  • advertise the University's initiative in adopting and implementing its environmental policy;
  • publicize University efforts in dealing with environmental issues by means of a newsletter, articles in The McGill Reporter, student newspapers and community newspapers;
  • promote environmental literacy and responsibility in the external community;
  • set up a web-site to increase environmental awareness on and off campus;
  • develop an integrated, inter-departmental/group seminar series and a public lecture series dedicated to environmental issues, for information exchange, education, and public debate;
  • organize a Management Forum session on the Environment for McGill managers; hold a competition that focuses on environmentally responsible measures for McGill to adopt, on the model of the "Sow Ôn Save" competition of years ago;
  • organize a conference on environmental concerns related to McGill's campuses;
  • create an Environmental Centre that could provide a physical space, close to the Environmental Officer, for dealing with environmental concerns. This Centre, which would include a resource library, could coordinate work-study projects, pairing students with professors and professionals, and would serve as a resource centre for students and staff.
  • educate students and staff and the general public as to positive lifestyle changes (e.g. ride bicycles, eat vegetarian, quit smoking...) and as to changes in consumption patterns which they can make in order to reduce their impact on the environment.

Teaching (Principles 5 and 7; Recommendation 7)

  • the well-advertised application of the University's Environmental Policy will be educational in itself; the University will be a showcase and model;
  • provide information to students and staff upon arrival and throughout their stay at McGill;
  • raise and integrate environmental issues in course teaching wherever possible and appropriate, and encourage students to think of environmental implications of issues;
  • encourage all McGill students to take a basic environmental-literacy and numeracy course;
  • arrange student internships, student projects, work-study projects to address various environmental issues on campus and in the community;
  • encourage the creation of courses dealing specifically with environmental issues and encourage students to take such courses;
  • design continuing education courses and programs dealing with environmental issues;
  • survey teaching staff on whether they include environmental issues in their courses; include such questions in course-evaluation forms;
  • examine how indigenous knowledge might be given greater weight in curricula;
  • encourage the libraries to purchase more documents related to environmental sustainability, education, and literacy;
  • require chairs, directors, and deans to report on their initiatives in this area in their annual reports.

Research (Principle 7; Recommendation 8)

  • promote and advertise research on environmental issues and environmental sustainability;
  • encourage interdisciplinary research that fosters a global vision and approach;
  • establish scholarships for work in environmental fields;
  • define environmental ethics regulations;
  • harmonize McGill's policy on the ethical treatment of animals in research with McGill's Environmental Policy;
  • encourage researchers to address environmental/ethical implications/applications of their research activities, including generation of hazardous wastes;
  • favour partnerships with "green" business and industry which have stated interest in environmental sustainability;
  • maintain a list of environment related research projects conducted by McGill on the web.
  • encourage researchers to carry out in vitro experimentation rather than in vivo wherever possible.

Resource management:

Environmentally-responsible investment (Principle 7; Recommendation 3)

  • invest in companies that do not manufacture and use pesticides and ozone depleting chemicals, use intensive farming, cause unnecessary suffering to animals, pollute the Environment, deplete biodiversity through habitat destruction, and exploit native and/or tropical hardwood from unsustainable sources;
  • invest in companies which demonstrate environmental initiatives including pollution control, resource conservation, promotion and use of alternative technologies and energy sources, and respect for human and animal welfare.

Conservation (Principles 2 and 6; Recommendations 1 and 12)


  • reduce power consumption by installing energy-efficient lighting (ie fluorescent rather than incandescent) and more motion sensors (for lights, hair and hand-dryers) and timers for lighting stairways and hallways, and by encouraging power-saving reflexes; affix energy conservation stickers next to every switch plate; survey unoccupied rooms for lights left on;
  • monitor heating and air-conditioning to minimize energy waste;
  • explore the use of energy alternatives (fuel cell, solar, wind...), as demonstration projects on campus;
  • reduce water consumption by installing low-flow showerheads and toilets, and motion sensors for water flow from taps;
  • consider collecting rain water and grey water for watering campus lawns and flushing toilets (wherever purified drinking water is not required).


  • reduce paper consumption; use double-sided copies, find suitable use for outdated stationery, re-use scrap paper (blank side) for note-taking, printing drafts, and as scratch pads; use recycled-paper stationery; use re-usable envelopes; reduce unnecessary postering and advertizing on campus;
  • install double-sided copiers (in libraries in particular) and encourage use with financial incentives;
  • develop University procedures (central exchange) for re-using office furniture, computer equipment, books (when emptying staff offices);
  • develop procedure for collecting unused, fresh food left-overs from cafeterias and the Faculty Club and donate to charity organizations;
  • instigate a university-wide policy to phase out styrofoam plates and cups, and support the use of re-usable plates and cups in cafeterias, at special events, and at meetings and conferences;
  • develop a McGill environmentally-friendly mug.

Purchasing (Principle 4; Recommendations 1 and 12)

  • adopt an environmentally conscious purchasing policy which includes "green" criteria and fosters environmentally benign resource-use practices (energy efficient equipment, recycled and bio-degradable products);
  • inform suppliers of goods and services of the University's Environmental Policy and provide appropriate incentives for them to meet its requirements;
  • ask suppliers to reduce non-essential packaging; favour reduced packaging;
  • purchase only recycled and/or forest-free paper (made from alternative fibers such as hemp);
  • favour environmentally-friendly cleaning agents (biodegradable whenever possible); no harmful ozone depleting aerosol propellents;
  • evaluate and compare costs to the Environment of china, glass, paper, reusable plastics and bio-degradable materials; promote the use of the most environmentally responsible material;
  • favour environmentally-friendly office supplies;
  • avoid buying furniture made of temperate or tropical rainforests products (which contributes to the global destruction of rainforests); choose furniture made of wood from fast-growing temperate species that are extracted with minimal impact to the ecosystem;
  • install vending machines with healthy food and beverages choices;
  • discontinue the sale of cigarettes on campus;
  • promote and use fair-trade products (e.g. coffee) on campus.

Waste management (Principles 2 and 6; Recommendations 1, 4 and 12)

  • minimize waste by reducing consumption and by re-using wherever possible;
  • implement programs to minimize the generation of radioactive and infectious waste;
  • educate staff and students as to proper paper recycling (recycle right);
  • ensure integrated paper recycling program throughout campus;
  • recycle photocopier toners and laser printer cartridges;
  • adopt glass, metal, plastic recycling programs (for all buildings);
  • place recycling containers alongside garbage containers wherever possible, with clear notices as to proper use; provide greater access to recycling facilities by making location of recycling containers clearly known; make such recycling facilities visible and easily accessible; use the recycling containers to advertize the University's Environmental Policy;
  • introduce battery disposal programs;
  • re-use and recycle construction materials, whenever possible;
  • adopt responsible procedures and ways for disposing of materials (clothes, books, outdated stationery etc) being cleared from closets or offices;
  • consider collecting and using bio-degradable waste for composting;
  • encourage non-littering of campus, including cigarette buts which are not biodegradable.
  • ensure that building directors regularly monitor recycling programs in their buildings;
  • design surveys and audits to provide a dual purpose: gather data and sensitize the community to environmental issues:
    • conduct another garbage truck sort (previous one took place in the summer of 1996);
    • evaluate wastes coming out of selected buildings;
    • investigate how wastes are handled within departments;
    • survey departments that generate chemical, radioactive and infectious wastes;
    • identify areas where there may be adequate wastes of certain types (glass, metal, etc.) to justify adding recycling bins;
  • install a living machine on both campuses (attached to EcoResidence on Macdonald Campus and to the new student residence on the downtown campus) - a greenhouse containing a marsh and many varieties of plants through which waste water coming from the building pass and are cleaned (from action of bacteria, fungus, plants, insects and fish) and allowed to be recycled back through the building; this project could use the expertise of the Brace Centre for Water Management.

Building design and management (Principle 5; Recommendation 9 and 10)

  • establish norms for the design of new buildings to which architects should conform;
  • consider use of solar and wind energy wherever possible;
  • adopt life-cycle costing for new and rehabilitated buildings;
  • conduct environmental impact analysis of new campus buildings;
  • do not tear down buildings unless it is necessary to do so;
  • maximize the use of environmentally friendly technologies and materials;
  • use recycled materials in new buildings;
  • conduct regular environmental audits of campus buildings;
  • make the proposed new McGill downtown student residence (whether renovated, converted, or new) another eco-residence, in order to promote responsible lifestyle.

Campus greening (Principle 6; Recommendations 9 and 12)

  • seek advice from students and staff and environmentally responsible landscape architects;
  • use indigenous plants (requiring low maintenance, minimal irrigation and fertilization, and naturally resistant to pests) to foster the increase of local biodiversity; create reserves or specific landscape projects that highlight all these plants, for example in the backyard of the MSE and near the FDA Building entrance;
  • plant trees for shading to reduce the need for air-conditioning;
  • install rooftop gardens;
  • set-up a composting facility (for food left-overs from cafeterias, leaves etc.) and use compost in gardening (extra compost could be donated to community gardens);
  • minimize use of outdoor salt;
  • phase out the use of harmful pesticides;
  • minimize noise, air and odor pollution (motors, "madvac" and other leave blowers, hamburger barbecues and hot-dog stands, loudspeakers...);
  • minimize proliferation of posters on campus.

Restoration of the Environment

  • remove environmentally damaging materials, repair environmentally damaging equipment (e.g. leaking fuel tanks); clean up surrounding environment;
  • plant indigenous plants strategically for wind barriers, rejuvenation of soil, improved drainage etc.;
  • redesign drainage systems to help restore natural aquafers.

Transportation (Principle 6; Recommendations 1 and 12)

  • promote public transportation;
  • install more (secure) bicycle racks;
  • encourage car-pooling through reduced parking rates for cars transporting more than one person;
  • declare a "come-to-work-by-BMW" Day (bicycle/bus, metro, walking); award bus passes;
  • run the Macdonald-McGill shuttle bus on biodiesel, fuel cells, or electricity and advertize this all over the bus; McGill's "green" bus will serve to advertize McGill's commitment to protecting the Environment and serve as a model.