A ‘carbon footprint’ measures the total greenhouse gas emissions caused directly and indirectly by a person, organisation, event or product. At UBC, the most significant opportunities to reduce GHGs and demonstrate climate action leadership are in energy use, business travel, commuting, paper use and food.
In 2010, UBC adopted the most aggressive greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets amongst the world’s top 40 universities. The University aims to:
To meet our ambitious targets, we need staff, faculty and students to take an active role in reducing our carbon footprint by conserving energy, using more sustainable forms of transportation to get to and from UBC, reducing business travel and paper use, and advocating for sustainable food choices on campus.
The energy used to operate UBC’s buildings (heating, cooling, lighting and plug loads) generates the majority of the University’s GHG emissions annually. In 2011, the use of natural gas, electricity and oil at UBC Vancouver produced approximately 61,995 tonnes of CO2-e emissions.
UBC is the second largest commuter destination in Metro Vancouver. Daily commuting to and from campus produced 31,840 tonnes of CO2-e emissions in 2011. The good news is, we’ve more than doubled our transit ridership in the past decade, and we have 12,000 fewer cars coming to campus each day.
UBC is mandated to report emissions associated with paper consumption. Every year, UBC must demonstrate the steps we’re taking to reduce paper use on campus.
In 2006, flights purchased by UBC staff and faculty generated approximately 13,600 tonnes of GHG emissions. In 2011, faculty and staff air travel generated 19,700 tonnes of GHG emissions.
GHG emissions from the agricultural sector are responsible for eight per cent of Canada’s total GHG emissions—and transportation and meat production are the biggest contributors of GHG emissions in our food system. At UBC, our food service providers are working with partners across campus, as part of the UBC Food System Project, to integrate more local and sustainable foods into their menus.