Continuing our leadership in sustainability, the Annual Sustainability Report provides an overview of Laurier's sustainability activities for the 2018/19 year. This report highlights our progress towards achieving the goals outlined in the Sustainability Action Plan, a five-year strategy to take action on climate change and embed sustainability into every aspect of campus life. This report also provides an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned and opportunities that lie ahead for the coming year.
The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are used as a framework to ensure Laurier's sustainability goals contribute towards the progress of human well-being and ecological integrity on a global scale – the true embodiment of think globally, act locally.
The implementation of the Laurier Energy Efficiency Program (LEEP) saw 550 kW of solar PV and 6 MW of battery storage installed on the Waterloo campus. The battery storage will be operational at the end of 2019.
Blackstone Energy Services Inc. was brought on to support the development of a Carbon Reduction Roadmap for Laurier’s campuses. The document will map out the projects and actions required to achieve our short-, mid- and long-term GHG reduction targets of 15% by 2022, 40% by 2030 and net-zero campuses by 2050, respectively.
To prepare for funding opportunities as they arise, we worked with experts in the energy industry to establish a portfolio of ten GHG reduction projects. These projects include the installation of a geothermal system and demand control ventilation, amongst others, that will reduce energy consumption on our campuses.
Laurier earned the Region of Waterloo’s Water Efficiency Excellence Award for its water conservation efforts. Through LEEP, water fixture retrofits were completed in more than 30 Laurier buildings in Waterloo, Brantford and Kitchener. As a result, Laurier reduced water consumption by 30,000 cubic metres, approximately 13% – that’s enough water to fill 12 Olympic-size pools.
The annual green house gas emissions (CO2 eq. tonnes) was 11,087.06 on Feb. 1, 2009; 11,577.1 on Feb. 1, 2010; 10,756.39 on Feb. 1, 2011; 10,125.9 on Feb. 1, 2012; 10,106.43 on Feb. 1, 2013; 10,748.38 on Feb. 1, 2014; 10,062.7 on Feb. 1, 2015; 9,282.76 on Feb. 1, 2016; 9,712.65 on Feb. 1, 2017; and 10,217.85 on Feb. 1, 2018.
Laurier's climate, energy and water initiatives align with the following United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Three Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations were installed on Laurier’s Brantford campus in the Charlotte Street parking lot. These are Laurier's second set of charging stations, with the first set installed behind Lazaridis Hall in 2017. This project was funded by Ontario’s Workplace EV Charging Station Incentive Program.
Electric vehicle charging increased by 470% at the Lazaridis Hall EV charging stations between 2017 and 2018.
Laurier purchased its first fully electric fleet vehicle, a 2019 Chevy Bolt. It joined our fleet of service vehicles and is used by the Facilities Operations team. The acquisition aligns with several measures in the new Sustainability Action Plan, including the phase-out of fossil fuel-powered service vehicles.
Laurier's transportation initiatives align with the following United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Between 2017 and 2018, the waste diversion rate decreased on the Waterloo campus from 61.5% to 48.6% and increased on the Brantford campus from 71% to 73%. The decrease on the Waterloo campus (which handles a much larger volume of waste than the Brantford campus) is likely a result of the new policy China enacted in January 2018. The policy banned the import of most plastics and mixed papers headed for that nation’s recycling processors. This has resulted in waste haulers being much stricter in terms of the recyclable material they will accept. China has handled nearly half of the world’s recyclable waste for the past two decades. The ban is an effort to halt the flood of contaminated materials overwhelming Chinese processing facilities.
The Sustainability Office held its first Free Store, stocked with items such as small electronics, housewares, furniture and clothing collected during the Student Move-Out Program. Students were invited to pick up any items they needed at no cost. The goal was to encourage zero waste living amongst the Laurier community and support the circular economy.
Laurier hosted its first-ever Zero Waste Week. Events ranged from zero waste cooking classes and DIY cosmetics workshops to a tradeshow featuring demonstrations by local organizations. The programming was designed to inform and empower students and staff to reduce waste at home and on campus. The Sustainability Office gave away more than 65 prizes during the week that supported zero waste living, including 15 three-course zero waste dinners at Veritas Café.
To further promote usage of reusable mugs, the Sustainability Office partnered with Food Services to increase the discount for all staff and students who brings their own reusable mug to any hot drink vendor on the Waterloo campus. The discount for the reusable mug program increased from 10 cents to 40 cents and the travel mug usage rate increased at all coffee vendors across campus as a result (amongst other factors perhaps, such as increased awareness around zero waste living), as illustrated in Figure 2.
Reusable mug usage for Tim Hortons was 1.04% for .10 cent discount in 2017/18 and 1.44% for .40 cent discount in 2018/19; Starbucks was 1.89% for .10 cent discount in 2017/18 and 4.53% for .40 cent discount in 2018/19; Second Cup was 4.05% for .10 cent discount in 2017/18 and 6.49% for .40 cent discount in 2018/19; Byte75 was 3.25% for .10 cent discount in 2017/18 and 4.52% for .40 cent discount in 2018/2019; and Williams was 1.76% for .10 cent discount in 2017/18 and 2.73% for .40 cent discount in 2018/19.
Laurier's waste initiatives align with the following United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
After speaking with numerous pollinator experts and consulting the literature, the decision was made to shift our focus from honeybees to supporting local, wild pollinators. The two honeybee colonies residing at the Northdale Community Garden unfortunately did not survive the harsh winter, and while honeybees are popular due to their ability to produce large quantities of honey, they are not native to North America. A single hive can outcompete local, wild pollinators for sparse resources. As such, honeybees are endangering the many other crucial species of native pollinators we have, who are often much more efficient at pollination, with a few hundred native bees being able to do the work of 20,000+ honeybees.
A new seating area has been installed at the Northdale Community Garden. The area is comprised of a picnic table and an armour stone seating area that is available to anyone in the Laurier community to host a class, workshops, or enjoy a sunny lunch during the workday in our community garden.
Laurier's grounds initiatives align with the following United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Terry Mitchell, a professor in Laurier’s School of International Policy and Governance, and Sarah Cockerton, manager of environmental programs for Four Rivers of Matawa First Nations Management (MFNM), received Global Water Futures funding for "Matawa Water Futures: Developing an Indigenous-Informed Framework for Watershed Monitoring and Stewardship." The project seeks to help Matawa member First Nations maintain the safety of their water in the face of climate change and industrial development.
The Viessmann Centre for Engagement and Research in Sustainability (VERiS) moved into EVOLV1, Canada’s first carbon positive building. Manuel Riemer, VERiS director and Laurier Psychology professor, received a grant from the Ontario Research Fund for the project, “Closing the performance gap in high-performance green buildings by cultivating a culture of sustainability.”
Laurier student Hillary Scanlon, won first place at the MEDAx conference pitch competition in Indiana for her floor-tile product that helps make recycling accessible to those with vision loss. The competition awards $5,000 to an early-stage social entrepreneur. Scanlon, who is legally blind herself, created the tiles and her business, Sustainability Through an Inclusive Lens (STIL), through the Faculty of Arts’ Social Entrepreneurship Option. STIL was initially awarded funding through the Sustainable Hawk Fund in 2017.
Laurier joined the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) of Canada, whose mission is to mobilize Canadian scientific and technological expertise to facilitate learning and accelerate problem solving for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Dale Ross, the SDSN Coordinator for Laurier held an interactive workshop during Zero Waste Week to illustrate the intersection between on campus sustainability challenges and the SDGs.
Laurier's academic initiatives align with the following United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Through the Sustainable Hawk Fund, the Sustainability Office dedicates up to $30,000 annually to help grow sustainability ideas that benefit the Laurier community. This year, nine candidates received funding for their exciting and creative project ideas.
The Staff Sustainability Certificate Series expanded to Brantford. Ten workshops were held as part of this certificate series, three of which were held on the Brantford campus. Workshop themes ranged from zero waste living and reducing your carbon footprint to the importance of local, wild pollinators.
Laurier launched the Green Office pilot program to empower faculty and staff with tools, knowledge and peer learning to encourage sustainable behaviors in their office or department. As the program evolves it will recognize departments for their achievements through a common scorecard tracked on the Sustainability Office website. It will ideally inspire some earth-friendly competition amongst departments and staff. Currently, five departments are participating: the Office of the President, Laurier International (Brantford), Martin Luther University College, Printing Services and Web Services.
The Sustainability Office hosted its first Student Sustainability Summit, where over 50 attendees from 10+ clubs and associations on campus and in the community gathered for a day filled with to learning and networking. Each club and association had the opportunity to present on the work they are doing on campus at the event, alongside speakers from WWF Canada, the Region of Waterloo, Indigenous Student Centre and Laurier Research.
Laurier launched the WWF Living Planet @ Campus Program after being part of the pilot program in 2017. As a founding partner of the program, the Laurier Sustainability Office provides students with the opportunity to become WWF Living Planet @ Campus Leaders. Participants can access tools to help lead or join hands-on actions at home, on campus, in the community, and beyond to help build a more sustainable future. Students can obtain the WWF Living Planet Leader Certification to recognize their experience in the program, which can be included their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. These certificates are recognized on WWF’s national website and on LinkedIn, searchable by prospective employers.
As part of Living Planet @ Campus Program, WWF offers Go Wild grants to students for sustainability projects. Two Laurier students were successful in receiving funding this past year. Projects included a Grand River shoreline cleanup in Brantford and a pollinator garden project in Waterloo.
Laurier's campus engagement initiatives align with the following United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Jennifer Marshman, PhD student in Geography and Environmental Studies, organized the Laurier 2019 Enviro Series in partnership with the Region of Waterloo, Sustainability Office, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems and Enactus. The following workshops were held:
In partnership with Planet in Focus and Alternatives Journal, Laurier hosted a screening of two sustainability-focused films. The event was free and open to the public. The first film, Kokota: The Islet of Hope, follows a man from a small East African Island, Kokota. He returns to this island shocked to see the impacts of climate change and deforestation but uses technology and community support to help this island survive. The second film, Death by Design, follows the tech industry's long history of haphazard attitudes towards hazardous materials.
Laurier's community engagement initiatives align with the following United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).