UBC is recognized globally as one of the most sustainable campuses in the world and a model for sustainable cities.

Message to the Community

At UBC, sustainability is a core pillar of our commitment to excellence that manifests in our scholarly and operational efforts throughout both campuses. Innovative research, our ecologically attuned campus facilities, and our leading role in sustainability education for tomorrow’s key decision-makers demonstrates our commitment to sustainability. Indeed, UBC’s international reputation for sustainability leadership reflects our long standing contributions.

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Teaching, Learning and Research

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.

Sustainability Related Courses

Faculty Involved in Sustainability Research

Sustainability Related Programs

Operations and Infrastructure

As a large, research-intensive university, with considerable land, assets and utilities, we are in the unique position to use our campuses as test beds for sustainability. We are working to enhance the efficiency of our operations, reduce our environmental impact, and achieve cost savings, while leveraging our campus infrastructure and the built environment to demonstrate innovative sustainability solutions at the municipal scale.

Reduction in Water Use per Student since 2000

Reduction in GHG Emissions since 2007

Waste Diversion Rate


Our goal is to create a model of a vibrant, complete, sustainable community at an urban neighbourhood scale, where people can live, work and learn together.

Diverse housing options, sustainable transportation choices, and community programs aim to enhance community wellbeing.

Total Student Beds

Students, Faculty and Staff Engaged in 100 SEEDS Projects

Of Trips by Sustainable Modes of Transportation

Sustainability Milestones

  • 2017

    UBC hosts Internation Sustainable Campus Network Conference

    Co-hosted by the University of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver, the conference convenes 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 this year's event.

  • 2016

    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

  • 2015

    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.

  • 2014

    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.

  • 2013

    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.

  • 2012

    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.

  • 2011

    Earns designation as Canada's first Fair Trade Campus

    Designated Canada’s first Fair Trade campus by FairTrade Canada.

  • 2011

    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.

  • 2010

    Establishes the UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI)

    UBC President Professor Toope announces USI, an ambitious initiative to integrate operational and academic sustainability.

  • 2010

    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.

  • 2009

    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.

  • 2009

    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.

  • 2007

    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.

  • 2006

    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.

  • 2003

    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.

  • 2001

    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.

  • 1998

    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.

  • 1997

    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.

  • 1990

    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.

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