Action Labs

Universities like Simon Fraser University (SFU) play a vital role in achieving climate goals, such as limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius and meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are not just academic institutions but operational powerhouses that can spearhead systemic climate change solutions. Although there's a broad agreement on the necessary actions, there's a noticeable gap in real-world, scalable examples. SFU's Action Labs are at the forefront of converting these discussions into tangible actions. By integrating advanced scientific research, solid operational strengths, and local knowledge, these labs are developing scalable and locally relevant solutions in food systems. 

SFU's initiatives exemplify the 'small bets' strategy, which is crucial for stakeholders, including the private sector and governments at all levels, to facilitate broader climate transitions. These early ventures are essential, acting as real-life case studies that ignite meaningful conversations and collaborative learning among different stakeholders, both locally and globally. Our mission is clear and focused: to implement scalable, evidence-based, and locally adapted climate adaptation, mitigation, and resilience solutions. By pooling collective intelligence, SFU is dedicated to achieving lasting, impactful change globally.

Action Labs Pillars

Building Momentum to mobilize

SFU Action Labs lead and contribute to global action summits and dialogues, focusing on 1) Uniting the government, private sector, innovator and NGOs to find and deliver scalable solutions for the SDGs; 2) Emphasizing academia's vital role, leveraging research, students, and living labs as action enablers. This approach builds momentum and fosters collaboration, innovation, and academic expertise to drive tangible progress.

Enabler of Science

SFU Action Labs act as an Enabler of Science, collaborating with intergovernmental agencies and governments to address knowledge gaps in implementing the SDGs. Through both applied and academic research, SFU Action Labs drive scientific innovation, ensuring that the research not only aligns with but also advances the needs and priorities of global stakeholders in achieving the SDGs. SFU Action Labs will mobilize these research findings through simplified mediums to maximize impact and drive actionable insights, making them accessible and actionable for all stakeholders.

End-to-End Project Delivery

SFU Action Labs lead project delivery with a Multi-Stakeholder Approach, from initiation to sustaining, including capacity building. By integrating students and ensuring effective execution, SFU Action Labs create sustainable solutions for lasting impact. This approach embodies SFU Action Lab's commitment to innovative project management and the development of future leaders.

Action Labs Initiatives

SFU Roots Program

SFU Roots is a multi-year program launched by Simon Fraser University (SFU) that aims to foster a resilient local food system by encouraging the integration of local, plant-based, and Indigenous foods into food service operations. This program will provide training that upskills food service professionals, enabling them to effectively utilize locally sourced ingredients to foster a pathway for career advancement.

UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment

SFU & Feed BC hosted a Side Event, Strengthening Food Security and Local Economy – SFU and Feed BC’s Pathway to Achieving SDGs, which took place at FAO on July 26, 2023. This side event was attended by in person and virtually by over 200 representatives of the Rome-Based Agencies, Member States, the private sector, civil society, philanthropy, and research groups. 

Global Environment Facility Seventh Assembly

On August 26th, delegates of the 2023 Global Environment Facility were invited to join us at our vibrant campus atop Burnaby Mountain for two exciting and immersive labs: the Sustainable Mobility Innovation Lab and the Food System Climate Action Lab.

World Food Forum

By invite from the Embassy of Canada in Rome, SFU helped host the North American Indigenous Peoples reception at the Indigenous Youth Forum in the Boaššu FoodLab. The World Food Forum (WFF) took place in October 2023 at the FAO headquarters in Rome. Other events at the WFF included a featured lunch, and a side event in partnership with Feed BC. 

World Food Day 2023

On October 16th, at the SFU Wosk Centre for Dialogue, “World Food Day 2023 (Official Event): Water is Life. Water is Food. Leave no one behind” was jointly presented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Food Tank, Driscoll’s, WholeChain, the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.


Universities are living labs, like cities within cities. Initiatives at Simon Fraser University represent the ‘small bets’ approach that many stakeholders, especially in the private sector and all levels of government, can consider to navigate larger climate transitions. At COP28, we shared this vision on the global stage.