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The focus of this Sustainability Action Plan is to create a culture of sustainability at Laurier and beyond throughout our academics, research, physical operations, outreach and community partnerships to achieve key sustainability goals. In doing so, this Action Plan contributes to the strategic goals of the university. The Action Plan focuses on the following three themes:

  • Human and ecosystem health and well-being;
  • Climate action; and
  • Social sustainability.

This Action Plan was created using inputs from a variety of sources to best reflect the objectives of the university. Feedback from the intensive stakeholder engagement and results from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) self-reporting Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) were taken into consideration. Key guiding documents were reviewed, including Laurier’s Strategic Academic Plan, the Diversity and Equity Office’s Strategic Plan, past annual Sustainability Reports and peers’ sustainability action plans.

Analysis of external trends revealed that institutions are being driven to focus on significant decarbonization, primarily through the areas of energy, infrastructure, transportation and waste. As previously discussed, a separate Carbon Reduction Roadmap will be created to focus our efforts in this area. The Roadmap will guide Laurier through the process of significantly reducing its carbon footprint over the long term by enacting bold programs and deploying new and innovative technologies. The short-term plan detailed here will position Laurier to achieve emissions reduction by establishing key parameters and foundations to transition toward a low-carbon institution.

The feedback received from the Laurier community also pointed towards the importance of including goals related to social sustainability and its interconnectedness to environmental health and well-being. Because of these strong linkages and the importance placed on these issues by Laurier stakeholders, social sustainability will be a strong focus in the Action Plan.

Finally, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are used as a framework for the goals in this plan. By aligning this plan to the SDGs (see Appendix for more on the SDGs), the Sustainability Office will ensure the work being undertaken at Laurier is contributing towards the progress of human well-being and ecological integrity on a global scale; the true embodiment of “act local, think global.”

Focus Areas

Operations

Through the following initiatives, the overarching operational goal over the next 5 years is to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 15 percent by 2022 (based on 2009 levels).

Climate

01 Goal: Continue to reduce GHG emissions across Laurier campuses through the completion of the Laurier Energy Efficiency Project (LEEP), building a low carbon campus in Milton and undertaking other projects as funding opportunities arise.

Operations: Climate Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Create a Carbon Reduction Roadmap setting short-term, mid-term and long-term GHG reduction targets, and detailing the process of how targets will be achieved. Short-term Completion of plan.
Establish a senior committee of key Laurier stakeholders to participate in the development of a Carbon Reduction Roadmap. Mid-term Number of leaders involved.
Establish mechanism for regular communication of carbon emissions to business units. Mid-term Percent GHG reduction in each unit.
Prepare for funding opportunities as they arrive by establishing a portfolio of “shovel ready” GHG reduction projects. Short-term Number of projects established.

Sustainable Development Goal 13 Climate Action iconAligns with SDG 13 Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Energy and Water

02 Goal: Improve energy and water conservation across campus and contribute to deferred maintenance.

Operations: Energy and Water Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Implement LEEP across campuses. Mid-term Energy and water reduction metrics (m3, kWh, tCO2e).
Create an Energy Management Plan that aligns with Carbon Reduction Roadmap GHG reduction targets. Short-term Completion of plan.
Regularly measure and verify energy and water usage based on established protocols. Ongoing Checklist demonstrating tasks are completed on a regular basis.
Develop building energy benchmarking capabilities and key performance indicators (KPIs). Ongoing Benchmarking and KPIs.
Establish and implement capital planning design standards for new and existing energy and water consuming equipment/systems. Use checklists for ongoing verification of energy efficient operation of buildings and equipment. Mid-term Number of completed design standards.
Standard Operating Procedures Checklists.
Realize energy savings through continued expansion of Building Automation System (BAS) technologies and retro-commissioning of existing building systems. Ongoing Energy reduction metrics (m3, kWh, tCO2e).

Sustainable Development Goal 17 Affordable and Clean Energy iconAligns with SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Transportation

Increase Sustainable Transportation

03 Goal: Increase sustainable transportation uptake by students, faculty and staff to reduce single occupancy vehicle use by 5 percent.

Operations: Transportation Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Fill in gaps and expand service types, such as an improved carpool program, bike share program and electric vehicle charging station infrastructure across all our campuses. Short-term Percent change in alternative travel modes (from Single Occupancy Vehicle).
Incentivize sustainable transportation options to encourage uptake through a variety of measures, such as preferential EV parking and discounted carpool parking. Mid-term Percent change in alternative travel modes (from single occupancy vehicle).
Partner with government and non-profit organizations to improve scope of programs. Ongoing Number of partnerships formed.

Sustainable Development Goal 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure iconAligns with SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

Improve Sustainability in Fleet Vehicles

04 Goal: Improve the sustainability of the university’s fleet of vehicles to improve efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

Operations: Transportation Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Pilot electric and hybrid vehicles in our Facilities and Asset Management department fleet and use as case studies for the rest of the campus’ fleet vehicles. Short-term Number of fleet vehicles outfitted.
Right-size university fleet and embed fleet management systems and protocol to improve transportation demand management items like anti-idling and route optimization. Mid-term Gallons of fuel saved.
GHG emissions reduced.

Sustainable Development Goal 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure iconAligns with SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

Waste

05 Goal: Reduce overall amount of waste produced on the university by 5 percent and increase the waste diversion rate by 10 percent.

Operations: Waste Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Improve awareness of waste reduction/diversion programs through incentives, events and better advertising. Short-term Number of new channels.
Percent increase of participation.
Waste diversion rate.
Improve operation of waste reduction/diversion programs through orientation and ongoing training and evaluation. Mid-term

Percent uptake and improvement in programs.

Improve waste infrastructure across campus (e.g. standardized centralized waste stations, signage, moloks, etc.) to support improved waste diversion rates. Mid-term

Percent uptake and improvement in programs.

Expand reuse programs, for example surplus furniture, zero waste pop-up shop, and residence move out program. Mid-term Waste diversion rate.

Sustainable Development Goal 12 Responsible Consumption and Production iconAligns with SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Food and Dining

06 Goal: Improve sustainable food systems in formal and informal campus services.

Operations: Food and Dining Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Improve sustainable food systems in formal and informal campus services. Mid-term Percent of increase in available local foods.
Per cent increase in local and plant-based foods.
Increase the number of ways students and staff can access and purchase local foods. Short-term

Number of avenues available.

Establish a formal program around our edible tree and shrub plantation. Short-term Number of people involved.
Volume of produce.

Sustainable Development Goal 2 Zero Hunger iconAligns with SDG 2 Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Grounds

07 Goal: Achieve a system of sustainable open and natural spaces throughout campus, prioritizing pedestrians and a positive, thriving relationship between the built and natural environment.

Operations: Grounds Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Formalize and publish sustainable grounds design standards that support native and low maintenance plants and wild pollinating species. Short-term Published standards.
Prioritize planting and maintenance of pollinator friendly plants and habitat to support wild bee populations, particularly those considered vulnerable or at risk. Ongoing

Percent of campus covered.

Prioritize creation and maintenance of green spaces, pedestrian spaces and linages, including walkways and gathering areas. Ongoing Percent of campus covered.
Develop and partner with programs that support healthy ecosystems and human wellness, such as Bee City Canada, Greenbelt Fund and horticultural therapy. Short-term Number of new natural environment programs.

Sustainable Development Goal 15 Life on Land iconAligns with SDG 15 Life on Land: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Academics

Curriculum

08 Goal: Improve Laurier students’ skills and knowledge about sustainability by providing sustainability resources and opportunities to Laurier’s teaching community and to students directly.

Academics: Curriculum Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Work with Teaching and Learning office and faculty to provide resources to support embedding sustainability content into courses. Short-term Number of faculty and courses embedding sustainability.
Support expansion of environment and sustainability-related academic programs offered at Laurier through focused programming at Milton campus. Mid-term

Number of programs.

Connect students to internal and external learning opportunities through class and other partnerships, Sustainability Office events and communications. Short-term Number of people participating.
Partner with Office of Indigenous Initiatives on sustainability initiatives to provide learning opportunities for students on topics such as land-based programs. Mid-term Number of initiatives.

Sustainable Development Goals 4 Quality Education iconAligns with SDG 4 Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Research

09 Goal: Improve collaboration between the Sustainability Office and Laurier research programs that focus on the environment and sustainability.

Academics: Research Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Use Sustainability Office communications to profile research and individuals achieving excellence in academics at Laurier within the field of sustainability. Short-term Number of profiles shared.
Work with Laurier researchers to support Sustainability Office initiatives/strategies/ programs and explore opportunities to use the university’s campuses as ‘living labs’, particularly through environmental science and engineering programs at the new Milton campus. Ongoing

Number of quality collaborative projects undertaken.

Sustainable Development Goals 4 Quality Education iconAligns with SDG 4 Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Engagement

Campus Engagement

10 Goal: Further the goals of the Strategic Academic Plan as they relate to sustainability.

Engagement: Campus Engagement Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Seek executive leadership from deans to support and drive partnerships with faculty and student-focused programs, as well as clubs and research centres, to provide experiential learning opportunities for students. Short-term Number of new partnerships and initiatives.
Develop outreach activities for the Sustainable Hawk Fund that support entrepreneurship and social innovation. Short-term

Number of projects focusing on entrepreneurship/social innovation.

Sustainable Development Goals 4 Quality Education iconAligns with SDG 4 Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Planning and Administration

Coordination and Planning

11 Goal: Create and update standards and toolkits to embed sustainability in planning, design and construction (PDC), facilities operations and Human Resources onboarding activities.

Planning and Administration: Coordination and Planning Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Embed sustainability criteria in contracts and procedures for project managers and facilities operators to ensure that sustainability criteria are incorporated within projects and operations. Short-term Number of projects and procedures with embedded sustainability criteria.
Include sustainability-related information and ongoing training in existing standards, practices, and programs within the preexisting staff sustainability certificate and new hire orientation. Mid-term

Employee awareness and buy-in to programs.

Advise on existing and emerging external sustainability-related legislation, funding opportunities and other mandates. Ongoing

Dollars of funding awarded.

Sustainable Development Goal 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure iconAligns with SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Support for Leaders

12 Goal: Support the mission and vision of leaders across campus with strong linkages to sustainability (e.g., Office of Indigenous Initiatives, Indigenous Student Centres, and Diversity and Equity Office).

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Create a formal communications network between stakeholders to improve the reach of shared messages, initiatives and events. Short-term Number of networks established.
Include ISC and Laurier’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals as themes in existing and new sustainability programming and services offerings, i.e., Staff Sustainability Certificate. Short-term

Number of offerings outfitted with message.

Have Sustainability staff and students attend ISC and diversity, equity and inclusion training, educational sessions and read guidebook; include ISC and Laurier’s diversity, equity and inclusion resources in Sustainability Office resource materials. Ongoing Number of trainings attended.
Number of resources made available.
Recruit diversity, equity and inclusion champions and ISC representatives for Laurier’s Sustainable Campus Committee and include the representatives in screening for Sustainable Hawk Fund Projects. Short-term Number of groups participating.
Partner with relevant groups and offices to support social sustainability-related workshops. Mid-term Number of workshops involved in.

Sustainable Development Goal 10 Reduced Inequalities iconAligns with SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities: Reduce inequality within and among countries.

Cultural Understanding

13 Goal: Improve cultural understanding and acceptance on campus by integrating diverse world views and histories.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Integrate Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report into projects and events to work towards improving a more welcoming campus for Indigenous students, staff and faculty. Mid-term Number of programs with goals supporting reconciliation.
Integrate Indigenous principles and customs into managing Laurier’s ecological and social systems, particularly in terms of connection to the land and ecosystem health. Short-term

Number of initiatives showcasing lessons.

Sustainable Development Goal 10 Reduced Inequalities iconAligns with SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities: Reduce inequality within and among countries.

Accessibility

14 Goal: Improve accessibility of sustainability services to people with disabilities.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Encourage projects that confront accessibility issues through the Sustainable Hawk Fund. Short-term Number of projects funded.
Include the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in the planning stages of Sustainability Office projects. Short-term

Number of projects with AODA staff engaged.

Sustainable Development Goal 10 Reduced Inequalities iconAligns with SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities: Reduce inequality within and among countries.

Affordability

15 Goal: Provide opportunities (particularly for students) to access services and experiences for free or at affordable rates.

Affordability Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Continue to offer and promote programs and events at no cost, such as Sustainable Hawk Fund and Sustainable Waterloo Region educational workshops. Ongoing Number of people involved.
Increase availability of reused and repurposed materials and items on campus, such as surplus furniture and gently used IT equipment, through a reuse program. Short-term

Percent increase in waste diversion.

After collecting items during Move-Out Program, redistribute furniture, household and clothing items at low-cost or no cost for students through a Free Store. Short-term Amount of inventory.

Sustainable Development Goal 10 Reduced Inequalities iconAligns with SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities: Reduce inequality within and among countries.

Investment and Finance

Responsible Investing

16 Goal: Implement recommendations made by the Responsible Investment Working Group (RIWG) to support meaningful action on climate change while meeting fiduciary duties of the Board of Governors.

Investment and Finance: Responsible Investing Goal Action Plan
Action Timeline Indicators
Work with responsible parties to enhance Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risk management strategies through mechanisms outlined in RIWG report, such as revising relevant investment policies, procedures and terms of reference to include ESG factors into decision-making. Mid-term Relevant policies.
Procedures.
Terms of References updated to reflect ESG factors.
Work with Financial Resources and Development and Alumni Relations to develop a fossil fuel free and impact investing endowment fund available to donors. Mid-term

Fossil fuel free endowment fund created.

Sustainable Development Goal 13 Climate Action iconAligns with SDG 13 Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

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