Ontario universities making major gains in Going Greener

TORONTO, Jan. 11, 2012 /CNW/ - Universities across Ontario made major progress in their green initiatives last year by reducing emissions and energy use, improving water and waste management, strengthening green building and transportation standards, and increasing engagement with students, and staff and faculty, according to the latest report by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU).

Ontario Universities: Going Greener Report 2011 is based on a survey of green initiatives to which a total of 19 universities (21 campuses) responded.

"The results demonstrate the continued leadership of Ontario universities in advancing sustainability on their campuses," says Alastair Summerlee, Chair of COU and President of the University of Guelph. "Ontario universities continue to embed green initiatives in their institutions and their green procurement practices are extending the environmental benefits well beyond the university sector."

Ontario university presidents made their sustainability pledge in 2009 and have been reporting annually on their progress since then. Substantial progress is being made year over year and the 2011 highlights include:

  • About 85 per cent of campuses, compared to 70 per cent last year, track costs/savings resulting from green initiatives
  • Nearly twice as many campuses regularly set and review targets for reducing greenhouse gas/carbon dioxide emissions
  • 81 per cent of campuses, up from 65 per cent, engage their students in driving sustainability, and consider them to be an integral part of their sustainability efforts
  • 71 per cent of Ontario university campuses generate their own renewable energy
  • To improve waste management, studies or audits are now being conducted by 95 per cent of campuses to determine how much and what type of waste is produced
  • Environmental issues are being incorporated into a wide range of disciplines so universities can ensure that, regardless of their area of study, students graduate with a better understanding of environmental issues

"Ontario universities continue to demonstrate their leadership in going greener," says Bonnie M. Patterson, COU President and CEO. "They have a strong dedication to sustainability and that is showcased in this latest survey, where improvements can be seen in almost all categories."

See the full report at http://www.cou.on.ca/issues-resources/key-issues/more/going-greener.aspx

Visit the Council of Ontario Universities website at www.cou.on.ca
Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CouncilofOntarioUniversities
Follow us on Twitter at @OntUniv

SOURCE Council of Ontario Universities

For further information:

Jennifer Grass
Senior Director, Communications and Public Affairs
416-707-6787 or 416-979-4341


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