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Sustainability Plan

The Sustainability Plan collates the many strategic goals, initiatives and practices that will guide the University of Alberta's sustainability efforts in the next few years.

Sustainability Plan Goals

The University of Alberta intends to enhance our sustainability performance as outlined in the goals and strategies of our Sustainability Plan. Some of the strategies are quick wins and involve incremental changes to existing practices. Other strategies may require deep changes to policy and governance approvals. All decision-making on our journey towards sustainability will give consideration to the triple bottom line.

The overarching goals of the Sustainability Plan 2016-2020 are outlined below: 


Goal 1.1 Pioneer innovations in policy, practice, knowledge and leadership that advance sustainability at our institution.

Goal 1.2 Report, recognize, reward and profile sustainability solutions and accomplishments of students, staff, faculty, administrators and alumni.

Goal 1.3 Foster growth of sustainability initiatives and problem-solving on all campuses.

Goal 1.4 Explore opportunities for incorporating sustainability-related approaches into the university’s investments.

Education & Research

Goal 2.1 Encourage the campus community and the public to learn about sustainability.

Goal 2.2 Encourage exposure to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teaching and research connected to sustainability.

Goal 2.3 Support faculty members to integrate sustainability into their teaching.

Operations & Infrastructure

Goal 3.1 Embed social, economic and environmental sustainability into the development and care of the university’s indoor and outdoor spaces. 

Goal 3.2 Establish the university as an innovative leader in addressing climate change and make progress on reducing the university’s greenhouse gas emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.

Goal 3.3 Sustainable and accessible transportation options are encouraged and well-integrated into campus planning. 

Goal 3.4 Advance a sustainable food system that provides fresh and healthy food in collaboration with the university community.

Goal 3.5 Encourage vendors and primary dining contractor to increase the purchase of food produced in Alberta and/or food with recognized sustainability certifications.

Goal 3.6 Build capacity within the purchasing system to assess and make sustainability-informed decisions.

Goal 3.7 Build capacity for departments and faculties to engage in sustainable purchasing.

Goal 3.8 By 2020, divert 90% of waste from landfill and continue to reduce waste per campus user.

Community & Culture

Goal 4.1 Demonstrate that diversity and equity are institutional values by strengthening a culture of inclusion within the campus community.

Goal 4.2 Enhance awareness of the university’s sustainability features, practices and resources to the campus community and to the public.

Goal 4.3 Improve accessibility and opportunities for success in post-secondary education.

Goal 4.4 Seek opportunities to ensure the university is an inclusive place for work and learning with full participation from diverse, historically underrepresented communities.  

Goal 4.5 Deliver activities that improve understanding and engagement in actions for climate change and healthy eating, including research, interactive programs and strategic planning. 

Goal 4.6 Provide frequent, diverse and motivational opportunities for students, staff and faculty to engage in change-making for sustainability.

Health & Wellbeing

Goal 5.1 Support health, wellness and safety by delivering relevant, responsive and accessible services and initiatives.

Goal 5.2 Foster opportunities for learning about health and well-being.


To understand more about sustainability at the University of Alberta, read these:


The Sustainability Plan 2016-2020 was signed off by the president's executive committee on August 25, 2016. 

This plan was approved along with "A Plan for Deepening Sustainability Education and Scholarship at the University of Alberta 2016-2020", a companion document that provides additional detail about how to advance sustainability in curriculum and research at our institution.

More info

To learn more about the document and plans for its implementation, please contact: