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About Sustainability

As the University of Waterloo establishes campuses and partnerships around the world, sustainable development means pursuing strategies and activities that meet the needs of students, employees, alumni and communities. Waterloo’s sustainability efforts enhance both the independent and the integrated relationships of the environment, society and the economy today and into the future.

The University’s demonstrated commitment to sustainability includes on-campus projects from research into solar cars and cleaner energy, to the Environment 3 building, which is certified LEED platinum. That commitment also extends out into the world, including projects that examine the effects of climate change in areas stretching from the arctic circle to tourism-dependent island nations.

History

Waterloo was the first university in Canada to adopt Greening the Campus, the philosophy that university campuses should reflect the world students seek to create. With related research and teaching in each of Waterloo's six faculties, environmental sustainability is a topic that bridges many disciplines at Waterloo.

The Environment 3 building
 
In 2009, the University of Waterloo signed the Council of Ontario Universities sustainability pledge, Ontario Universities: Committed to a Greener World. By signing this pledge, the university accepted the responsibility “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.”
 
In 2015, Waterloo hired its first full-time sustainability staff and launched the President's Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability. This has increased the momentum on-campus, including through strategic planning, student and employee engagement, and developing annual sustainability reports.
 
In March 2017, the University also released Policy 53 - Environmental Sustainability, which serves as a foundational directive towards positive action on campus.