Our Approach

The University of Alberta strives to manage all resources in harmony, recognizing the interconnectedness of ecological, social and economic systems. We accomplish this by:

  • Setting the stage in our sustainability commitment and guiding principles
  • Taking an institution-wide approach through the sustainability plan & academic plan
  • Measuring our progress the using the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System
  • Reporting on our achievements
  • Maintaining memberships in key organizations

Setting the Stage

Our Commitment

The University of Alberta is committed to a continuous effort to instill sustainability into the many aspects of university life, on our campuses, in our institutions, and in the larger community of which we are part. In alignment with its values, vision and mission, the University takes an integrated approach to sustainability that incorporates teaching and learning, research, outreach, and the operations that support them, as it builds one of the great universities for the public good.

The University strives to manage all resources in harmony, recognizing the interconnectedness of ecological, social and economic systems. To this end, the University of Alberta is committed to constant improvement guided by the following principles.

Guiding Principles


  • Encourage the development of collaborative solutions involving all stakeholders.
  • Promote a culture of integrated sustainability through excellence in teaching, learning, innovative research, and community engagement.

Education and Outreach

  • Aid students and all other members of the University community in developing the knowledge and tools necessary to become informed future leaders, and global citizens during their experience at the University of Alberta.
  • Promote a culture of sustainability at the University by providing opportunities for participation, discovery learning, and transformative experiences.
  • Contribute to, and participate in the advancement of sustainability in the local and global communities by sharing knowledge, expertise, best practices, and lessons learned.


  • Support innovative research and inquiry that improve understanding of challenges to sustainability and lead to real-world solutions and problem-solving.
  • Encourage a collaborative approach to research that includes faculty research undertaken in partnership with operations staff, students, community organizations, industry and any other potential stakeholders.

Improvements in operations and practices

  • Develop strategies and objectives that conserve resources, decrease the production of waste, minimize ecological footprints, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Provide practices aimed at sustainable supply chain management.
  • Develop processes that support long-term ecological, socially, and fiscally responsible decision-making in activities, operations & practices.


  • Protect the natural environment by enhancing local and global ecosystems and biodiversity for both present and future generations.
  • Contribute to the protection of the Earth’s environmental life-supporting systems by minimizing the pollution of air, water, and soil.
  • Aim to enhance the global environment through balanced and positive social, economic, and ecological activities.

Commitment & Guiding Principles

The university's Sustainability Commitment and Guiding Principles were endorsed by the Board of Governors in 2008.

Sustainability Plan

The university's second Sustainability Plan runs from 2016 to 2020.

STARS® Rating

The university has submitted to the Sustainability Tracking and Assessment Rating System™ twice, receiving a STARS Gold® rating in 2014.