Sustainable Development Goals

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In 2020, Universities Canada embarked on a pan-Canadian initiative focused on increasing awareness of SDG projects on Canadian campuses and connecting stakeholders through cross-university and university-community partnerships that bridge efforts across sectors and embrace The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Supported by the federal government’s SDG funding program, this initiative explores how Canadian universities are integral to a global movement to advance the United Nations SDGs with practical solutions for sustainable development through diverse activities and institutional commitments. 

Universities and other higher education institutions have a critical role in helping society achieve the SDGs through leadership, research, teaching and learning, campus operations. Education and research are explicitly recognized in several SDGs, and universities have a direct role in addressing these key focuses.

15 of the most research-intensive universities in Canada have signed A Charter for Canadian universities: Investing to Address Climate Change

Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, SDG 4 is dedicated to quality education. However, universities can contribute to the SDGs much more broadly by supporting the advancement of all the goals as well as the implementation of the SDG framework itself by adopting new behaviours, influencing decision-making and accelerating transition.

From university leaders to faculty members, to students – everyone’s unique contribution to this process is critical for the success of Agenda 2030. This initiative is the first step towards unifying pan-Canadian university efforts to drive the 2030 Agenda.

By raising awareness, connecting university leaders, and mapping the SDG landscape, this project will provide a strong foundation for concrete action towards achieving the SDGs. Engaging with the SDGs will also greatly benefit universities by helping them demonstrate their social impact, capture demand for SDG-related education, build new partnerships and access new funding streams. Actions driven by SDGs define a university as socially aware and accountable.

Advancing the SDGs

Examples from across the country



Spotlight on

Universités Canada est fière d’être membre du Réseau des solutions de développement durable du Canada (SDSN Canada).

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By the Numbers

  • 38%
    of Canadian Universities

    include the SDGs in one of their main strategies as of the beginning of 2021.

  • 40%
    of Canadian Universities

    have participated in the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) since 2010.

  • 15
    Canadian universities

    ranked among the top 100 in the world in The Times Higher Education 2021 Impact rankings.


This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals Funding Program

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Moving forward together: Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy

Universities Canada