Commitment to Sustainability

The Ontario university community is deeply aware of the challenges that face the world arising from climate change and the degradation of natural environments. Our universities accept this special responsibility on three scores: to assist in finding solutions to the challenges of environmental sustainability; to share knowledge about sustainability and climate change; and to incorporate, wherever possible, principles of sustainability into our own operations.

Ontario universities, ranging in size from small and rural institutions to large and urban ones, began work on the creation of sustainable campuses many years ago, and we continue to demonstrate leadership in advancing a greener world. In particular, Ontario universities will work together to do the following:

  • Develop and implement multi-pronged strategies to reduce energy consumption.
  • Promote reuse and recycling in all aspects of our operations.
  • Transition purchasing decisions toward producers and suppliers who have adopted environmentally responsible practices.
  • Ensure the availability of locally grown and fair-trade foods and beverages on our campuses.
  • Build new facilities in accordance with principles of sustainability and energy efficiency.
  • Renovate existing facilities to improve energy efficiency and reduce waste.
  • Seek to preserve green space on our campuses wherever possible.
  • Share information across campuses regarding best practices from the standpoint of sustainability and environmental impact.
  • Develop institutional environmental sustainability plans with measurable objectives.
  • Publish an annual report documenting the efforts of all Ontario universities to modify their operations in ways that are responsive to the threats of global climate change and environmental degradation.

We further accept our responsibility to do the following:

  • Provide forums for the discussion and development of solutions regarding sustainability issues.
  • Share research insights and best practices regarding climate change and sustainable development.
  • Work in partnership with governments, the public, businesses and others in the academic world so that we may together create an environmentally sustainable Ontario.

Mr. Sheldon Levy
Chair of Council and President & Vice-Chancellor of Ryerson University

Prof. Bonnie M. Patterson
Interim President
Council of Ontario Universities

Download a pdf version the Pledge from the Executive Heads, “Ontario Universities: Committed to a Greener World.”