The green wall at Blusson Hall on the Burnaby campus.

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SFU’s sustainability performance earns international gold star

October 30, 2014
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Simon Fraser University has achieved a Gold rating in STARS 2.0, an international self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

STARS, which stands for Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, is administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The system assesses four key categories: academics (including curriculum and research), engagement, operations, and planning and administration.

SFU is one of only three universities in Canada to achieve the Gold 2.0 rating.

“STARS Gold 2.0 is based on measurable impacts so it speaks to the incredible amount of work taking place on campus and the improvements that have been made since we achieved a Silver rating in 2011,” says Candace Le Roy, director of SFU’s Sustainability Office.

“One key area where we saw significant improvement over our previous reporting period was in the area of research. Thanks to the work of the vp research office, which collated the information on sustainability-related research being conducted at SFU, we not only saw a huge increase in points, but we also now have an impressive inventory of university research.”

Other areas that helped garner the Gold rating were:

  • the inventory of greenhouse gas emissions managed through Facilities Services,
  • SFU’s Board of Governors’ adoption of a responsible investment policy,
  • SFU becoming a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI), and
  • SFU’s strong focus on sustainability planning, made possible through the development of a Sustainability Office, Senior Sustainability Council and accompanying sustainability plan.

As in the last reporting period, SFU also earned many STARS points for internal and external engagement.

Says Le Roy: “The STARS report is a useful tool for measuring where we are in terms of our sustainability work and where we have room to improve.”