Making a difference in combating climate change

September 19, 2023
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Canada’s universities have long been champions of sustainability, researching creative solutions to problems plaguing our environment and uncovering ways to combat climate change. From ensuring a climate conscious education for future leaders to striving for net zero greenhouse gas emissions on campus, universities are working hard to develop solutions for a greener, cleaner tomorrow.

Facts and stats about Canada’s universities

75% have sustainability strategies

Over 75% of Universities Canada members have dedicated sustainability strategies.
Source: Universities Canada survey, 2023.

250 programs of study

Over 250 programs of study and certifications are offered in sustainability at universities across Canada.
Source: Universities Canada survey, 2023.

2,000 researchers

Over 2,000 researchers are working on climate research at universities across the country.
Source: Universities Canada survey, 2023.

Training a generation of sustainability experts

Universities across Canada are training the next generation of sustainability experts in preparation for a net-zero future. Environmental studies has long been an academic discipline in Canada, starting as early as 1970 at the University of Winnipeg—which offered among the first interdisciplinary environment programs in the world. Canadian universities’ commitment to green education have expanded over time. New programs, like Queen’s University’s QVENT project, the University of New Brunswick’s climate education for arts students and McGill University’s self-paced module on sustainability are preparing students to support Canada’s transition to a greener future.

Researching solutions for a greener tomorrow

Canada’s researchers are working hard to find solutions to climate issues. Researchers at the University of British Columbia recently discovered how to use plants to filter microplastics from water, a technique that could eventually be applied to waste-water treatment plants or to filter drinking water in homes. University researchers are also exploring methods of carbon dioxide removal, looking to cut emissions from transportation through hydrogen hubs and taking interdisciplinary approaches to combat the impact of climate change on agriculture and aquaculture. Canada’s universities are working toward a sustainable future by conducting top tier research.

Leading the world in sustainability

Canada’s universities are leaders in sustainability; 25 universities are ranked silver or above on the international Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). In fact, in 2019 the Université de Sherbrooke became the first university in the world to achieve a Platinum rating, the highest level possible.

Institutions are retrofitting or constructing new campus facilities to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, which recognizes sustainability in building design. Locally, universities are paving the way for municipalities to shift to more sustainable operations and meet their net-zero goals.

About Universities Canada
Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.

Media contact:

Lisa Wallace
Assistant Director, Communications
Universities Canada
[email protected]

Tagged:  Environmental sustainability

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