UBC puts sustainability at the heart of teaching, learning and research, operations and infrastructure, and community.
Across both campuses last year, UBC focused on enhancing human and ecological health together by taking a systems thinking approach. Addressing affordability pressures and enhancing accessibility was also a key priority. We enabled students, faculty and staff to make powerful contributions to sustainability. And by expanding local, regional, and international community engagement, we increased collaboration on sustainability issues.
Download our Annual Sustainability Report to find out more, and connect with us for future opportunities to work together.
Across the university, UBC faculty are teaching and studying sustainability through hundreds of courses, programs and projects, creating diverse sustainability learning opportunities for our students.
As a large, research-intensive university, with considerable land, assets and utilities in Vancouver and the Okanagan, UBC is in a unique position to use our campuses as test beds for sustainability.
UBC is a place where people live, work, and learn together among the natural beauty, buildings, landscapes, and engaging public spaces found across our campuses.
Hosted International Sustainable Campus Network Conference (ISCN
Co-hosted by the University of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver, the conference convened leading higher-education organizations to explore how city-campus collaborations can advance climate action and sustainability. Over 140 delegates from 79 universities across 30 countries attended the conference.
34 per cent reduction in GHG emissions from 2007 levels achieved at Vancouver campus
UBC delivered its most significant climate-change achievement to date, reducing Vancouver campus greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 34 per cent relative to 2007 levels and exceeding our Climate Action Plan reduction target of 33 per cent despite a 19 per cent growth in building floor space and a 26 per cent increase in student population
Earns second consecutive Gold rating for sustainability
STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) is a comprehensive university sustainability rating system by the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
Releases 20-year Sustainability Strategy
Following rigorous community engagement process develops strategy to embed regenerative sustainability across teaching, learning and research, operations and infrastructure and community.
Achieves UBC’s first LEED Platinum certification
Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) is designed to be the most innovative and high performing building in North America.
Opens Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility
UBC and its partners open the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility which will reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions and demonstrate clean energy technologies at a community scale.
Earns designation as Canada's first Fair Trade Campus
Designated Canada’s first Fair Trade campus by FairTrade Canada.
Breaks ground on one of the largest steam to hot water conversion projects in North America
The new Academic District Energy System will reduce Vancouver campus energy use by 24 per cent and its greenhouse gas emissions by 22 per cent.
Establishes the UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI)
UBC President Professor Toope announces USI, an ambitious initiative to integrate operational and academic sustainability.
Sets bold targets to reduce GHG emissions
Commits to reducing GHG emissions 33 per cent by 2015, 67 per cent by 2020, and 100 per cent by 2050, compared to 2007 levels and invests in 3 signature climate action projects.
Develops the Sustainability Academic Strategy
Strategy development involved over 350 students, staff, faculty; recommended establishing and expanding shared infrastructure and programs to connect sustainability across academics and operations.
Integrates sustainability as a core pillar in UBC’s highest level strategic plan
Sustainability becomes one of nine core commitments in Place and Promise, further institutionalizing sustainability in UBC’s highest-level strategic plan.
Meets Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets 5 years early
Reduces GHG emissions from academic buildings to six per cent below 1990 levels, despite a 35 per cent growth in floor space and a 48 per cent growth in student numbers.
First Canadian university to publish a comprehensive campus-wide sustainability strategy
Strategy developed following consultation process with 20 departments, all faculties, all major student organizations, and over 100 individuals.
Pioneers the U-Pass program, which has quadrupled transit ridership since 1997
U-Pass BC provides unlimited transit services within Metro Vancouver, as well as discounts on West Coast Express. All eligible students at UBC’s Vancouver campus have access to the program.
Launches largest energy and water retrofit program at a Canadian university
The program retrofit 288 campus buildings, resulting in significant reductions in emissions and energy consumption.
Opens a Campus Sustainability Office, a first for a Canadian university
Within Campus and Community Planning the Sustainability + Engineering and Community Development units coordinate the University’s numerous sustainability initiatives.
Becomes Canada's first university to adopt a sustainable development policy
Our sustainability policies span sustainable development, energy, grounds, waste and more and provide the basis for sustainable practices on campus.
Signs Tailloires Declaration
The declaration is a ten-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities, signed by over 350 universities.