In 1990, UBC signed the Talloires Declaration, a 10-point action plan for incorporating sustainability into higher education. We were the first university in Canada to adopt a sustainable development policy in 1997, and the first to open an office devoted to campus sustainability in 1998.
Now, sustainability is deeply embedded across UBC, thanks to the dedication and commitment of our faculty, staff, and students.
Find out who does what on campus, and how we make it happen.
UBC SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE
UBC has committed to the integration of our operational and academic efforts in sustainability and the UBC Sustainability Initiative, established in 2010, is our way of advancing this broad goal.
The UBC Sustainability Initiative undertakes key cross-cutting functions such as connector, curator and facilitator of a wide breadth of sustainability programs and activities across campus.
In partnership with many other groups, we help integrate and enhance sustainability themes into teaching, learning, and student engagement activities, support interdisciplinary urban research, advance regional and international engagement with sustainability partners, manage UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, and host the UBC office of the Pacific Institute of Climate Solutions.
Meet the team
Jean Marcus, Co-Executive Director (interim); Director, Teaching, Learning, and Student Engagement
Victoria Smith, Co-Executive Director (interim); Director, Regional and International Engagement
Masoumeh Eghtesad, Administrative Coordinator
Karen Taylor, Program Manager, Teaching, Learning, and Student Engagement
Kshamta Hunter, Manager of Sustainability Student Engagement
Jen Crothers, Data Manager, Teaching, Learning, and Student Engagement
Diana McKenzie, Co-Curricular Engagement Specialist, Teaching, Learning, and Student Engagement
Angelique Pilon, Director, Urban Innovation Research
Zahra Teshnizi, UBC-ZEBx Research Manager
Diana Lopez, CLL Research Project Coordinator
Sara Muir-Owen, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, UBC Campus Co-ordinator
Jon Garner, Manager of Communications & Engagement
Tim Herron, CIRS Events & Engagement Manager
Natalie Hawryshkewich, Communications and Engagement Specialist
CAMPUS + COMMUNITY PLANNING
UBC’s Campus + Community Planning department is a team of urban planners, designers, public consultation professionals, building inspectors, sustainability experts and support staff making the decisions that create the physical environment at UBC, shaping your experience of campus.
Key responsibilities include long-range planning, land use regulations, campus and landscape design, licensing and permits, managing programs that cover sustainability initiatives to transportation and community-building activities.
Learn more about UBC’s Campus + Community Planning department, and meet the leadership team.
UBC operates multiple centres of excellence and research groups in order to address complex issues at different scales, and respond to critical community needs. This work is supported by over 400 faculty investigating sustainability at UBC.
Many of our research groups are interdisciplinary by nature, while others specialize deeply in key areas of sustainability.
Find out more about featured research groups, or check our directory of sustainability-related research groups at UBC.
ENERGY & WATER SERVICES
Established in 2014, UBC’s Energy and Water Services unit is a dedicated to generating, distributing and conserving the Vancouver campus’ energy and water resources in an open and transparent manner. This means maintaining environmental comfort, ensuring system reliability, minimizing life cycle cost, and reducing GHG emissions.
UBC’s energy and water challenges are a microcosm of much larger global issues. Climate change from increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and aging infrastructure deficits are problems that governments and institutions grapple with around the world.
Can UBC contribute positive solutions to these worldwide challenges? Can our campuses separate GHG emissions from energy consumption?
Explore what UBC’s Energy and Water Services unit is doing to find out.
SUSTAINABILITY OFFICE AT UBC OKANAGAN
UBC’s Sustainability Office in the Okanagan is responsible for the advancement of sustainability on campus to support its development as a vibrant, regenerative community.
UBC Okanagan’s Whole Systems Infrastructure Plan responds to a call to deepen our approach to sustainability through systems thinking. Implementing the plan addresses interconnected issues related to energy, carbon, water, landscape, ecology, biodiversity and engagement.
Find out more about UBC’s Sustainability Office in the Okanagan and the Whole Systems Infrastructure Plan.
UBC Wellbeing is a collaborative effort to make UBC a better place to live, work and learn through a systems-wide approach to wellbeing across our campuses. The work of UBC Wellbeing is guided by the Okanagan Charter, a shared call to action for partners, leaders, and community members to make UBC a leading wellbeing-promoting university.
UBC Wellbeing recognizes that we all have a hand in shaping campus environments that support health, wellbeing, and sustainability. Find out more about this connected approach across academics and operations.
EQUITY & INCLUSION
UBC’s Equity & Inclusion Office is focused on advancing equity and human rights at UBC by promoting diversity, eliminating discrimination, and engaging the community in dialogue and action.
How? The Equity & Inclusion Office uses a research-informed approach, education and leadership workshops, and impactful programs to develop resiliency and manage conflict. This means working closely with faculty, staff and students to ensure they have the tools and skills necessary to create a socially sustainable community.
UBC’s Building Operations department is dedicated to maintaining and operating our campus spaces including lands, buildings, and fleet as sustainably as possible for the lowest total cost of ownership.
Among some of the many daily functions members of the team performs, Building Operations keeps spaces lit, the air temperature comfortable, waste sorted and recycled, and our campus clean.
Learn how UBC’s Buildings and Operations department collaborates with other partners across campus to achieve sustainability and other goals.
UBC’s Infrastructure Development department is responsible for the planning, development, renewal and renovation of campus facilities with a focus on creating inspiring, safe, and sustainable places to teach, learn, and live on campus.
Partners across the UBC community include the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Office, UBC’s Sustainability Initiative, and the University Neighbourhoods Association.
Find out more about some of the current projects overseen by UBC Infrastructure Development.
UBC SUSTAINABILITY MILESTONES
Ranked #1 for taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
(Times Higher Education, United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #13)
Hosted International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) conference at Vancouver campus.
34% reduction in GHG emissions from 2007 levels achieved at Vancouver campus.
33% reduction in GHG emissions from 2013 levels achieved at Okanagan campus.
MOU with Metro Vancouver signed.
Second Gold rating in STARS earned.
*20-year Sustainability Strategy to advance regenerative sustainability developed.
*Gold rating in STARS, a university sustainability rating system, earned.
*Designation as Fair Trade Campus earned.
*Bold targets set to reduce GHG emissions. Invests to meet climate change goals.
Okanagan Sustainability Office established.
UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI) established to integrate operational and academic sustainability.
Sustainability Academic Strategy developed.
Sustainability integrated as a core pillar of UBC’s strategic plan.
Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets met five years early.
Dr. John Robinson shares Nobel Peace Prize as one of lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change report.
*Comprehensive campus-wide sustainability strategy published.
U-Pass program pioneered, quadrupling transit ridership since 1997.
ECOTREK (2001-2008), the largest energy and water retrofit program at a Canadian university launched.
*Campus Sustainability Office opened.
*Sustainable Development Policy adopted.
C.K. Choi Building opens, setting new green building benchmarks worldwide.
Dr. William Rees and graduate student Mathis Wackernagel develop ecological footprint concept.
Tailloires declaration signed. Globally commits to sustainability.
*First in Canada