2021 Key Accomplishments
Over the course of 2021, the University of Waterloo:
- Ranked 14th in the world and 3rd in Canada for efforts toward ending hunger and improving food security (SDG 2) by the Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact rankings, and ranked 4th in Canada for no poverty (SDG 1) and also for decent work and economic growth (SDG 8). The THE University Impact rankings examined over 1,600 Universities from 99 countries in 2021.
- Received a Silver rating in the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), a global higher education standard for sustainability.
- Launched the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Aeronautics (WISA), the world’s leading hub for sustainable aviation and aerospace research, technology, and education. By facilitating direct partnerships with industry, government, and academia, WISA mobilizes the research and innovation capacity of all six faculties at the University of Waterloo to drive meaningful and lasting impact.
- Made a Climate Emergency Declaration, recognizing that human activity has already caused changes to the Earth’s climate system; that these effects will continue to intensify, compounding inequalities and escalating threats to all life on earth; and that the University of Waterloo has an important role to play in climate action and climate justice.
- Committed to reducing the carbon footprint of its pension and endowment investment portfolios by 50 per cent by 2030 and achieving full carbon neutrality by 2040.
- Launched two new undergraduate degree programs centered on sustainability. The Sustainability and Financial Management degree will prepare a new generation of financial experts to incorporate people, profits, and the planet into the bottom line while evolving environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) reporting to lead organizations toward a greener world. The Climate and Environmental Change program covers the science behind the challenges facing our planet’s environment and provides a broad background to address climate and environmental challenges.
- Initiated a formal Sustainability Living Lab program to facilitate opportunities for students to apply their skills and knowledge to real-world sustainability efforts on campus. The program aims to expand experiential learning while using the University itself as a laboratory and model for the implementation of greater sustainability practices.
- Created a new Sustainability Commissioner position within the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA), to oversee the Sustainability Project, previously known as the Sustainable Campus Initiative. The Commissioner’s role is to support existing student groups and sustainability initiatives on campus, while identifying advocacy gaps that the University and WUSA can work to fill.