What does sustainability mean?

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Sustainability considerations

Waterloo has established bold sustainability goals that cover many different sustainability topics like climate change, waste, transportation, water, education, and research. What do those things mean in practice?

What are the most impactful things people can focus on in their decision-making to have the most impact? We have compiled a list of "4 Cs" to make it easy for you to think about sustainability within University of Waterloo. Not all may be applicable for every decision or action. But the more that you can answer “yes”, the more likely your decision will be aligned with campus sustainability goals!

When making a decision or taking an action, ask yourself if it does the following:

Clean energy/efficiency

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  • Uses significantly less energy
  • Uses clean and renewable energy instead of fossil fuels


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  • Reduces consumption as a first priority
  • Eliminates waste at all stages
  • Unavoidable waste can be recycled


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  • Protects habitats and green spaces on campus and beyond
  • Prioritizes sustainable food choices (plant based, local, ethical)


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  • Supports and aligns with sustainable suppliers/partners
  • Communicates and raises awareness on sustainability
  • Considers impacts on marginalized and racialized groups
  • Identifies wellbeing benefits

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