SFU's Commitments & Initiatives

Simon Fraser University is advancing climate action through a number of key sustainability commitments and initiatives. 

What we are doing

SFU's climate action commitments and sustainability initiatives help progress SFU's Strategic Sustainability and Climate Action Plan and drive impactful change at the university and in our communities. SFU is also a signatory on a number of important national and international pledges.

SFU's sustainability and climate work is diverse and far-reaching. The list below features just some of the many commitments and initiatives that are contributing to a resilient and regenerative future. If you have a project to add, please contact the central Sustainability team



SFU's Strategic Sustainability and Climate Action Plan

SFU's 2022-2025 Strategic Sustainability and Climate Action Plan is a refresh of the original five-year plan and will continue as a living document to reflect an adaptive and iterative planning and implementation process for the university


The original five-year sustainability plan guides the university in prioritizing climate justice, resilience and action at SFU and in our communities.

The refreshed plan, SFU's 2022-2025 Strategic Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, is broad and designed to address organizational culture and systems change across each vice-president portfolio at the university.

Read the plan

Our progress

The plan was refreshed in September 2022 to account for the the substantial shift in context "post" pandemic, the need to modernize some aspects of the plan and to align with the Embedding Sustainability and Climate Action (ESCA) framework.

The current focus is to develop the Advisory Council which will govern the implementation of the Plan and ensure integration of EDI and Reconciliation principles, the confirmation or establishment of working committees to develop action plans for each target, and the completion of a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory.

Declaring a climate emergency

SFU has declared a climate emergency


After years of community advocacy, SFU has declared a climate emergency, which is a is a critical step forward. However, a climate emergency declaration needs to have a strong climate action plan and organizational commitment to completing the plan to be meaningful. Our plan will address SFU’s approach to responding to the climate emergency and the declaration compels SFU to ensure that is it sufficiently aligned with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommendations for a 1.5-degree Celsius world.  

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SFU is a leader among Canadian universities for taking action on responsible investment


In November 2021, SFU announced a full divestment from fossil fuels by 2025. 

Many of the strides SFU has made are driven by the commitment of its Board of Governors, its Investment Advisory Committee, Responsible Investment Committee, groups like SFU 350, and our students, who continue to raise awareness about the importance of the impact that we can make.

Our progress

The university has already achieved:

  • zero direct investments in fossil fuels, and
  • only five percent of indirect investments remaining in fossil fuel-related industries. 

This is the final step in our journey toward full divestment. Targets have been revised to address SFU’s commitment to full divestment and investment in education and learning for resilient and just climate action.

UN-led Race To Zero

In 2021, SFU joined the United Nations-backed Race To Zero campaign, the largest global alliance of its kind to date


The United Nations-led Race To Zero global campaign is dedicated to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.

SFU committed to a net zero goal for: 

  • direct emissions by 2035, and
  • indirect emissions by 2050. 

An interim goal of 85% GHG reduction from 2007 levels by 2030 was also committed to. Targets have been revised to address SFU’s commitment to the UN Race To Zero (achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050).

Learn more


Community-Centred Climate Innovation

Community-centred climate innovation builds on SFU’s strengths in climate resiliency research, sustainable policy development and our deep commitment to community engagement


As climate change intensifies, impacts will be felt and changes can be made at the community level. SFU's unique approach to this is community-centred climate innovation, founded on community partnerships, innovation and a deep commitment to Indigenous knowledges and perspectives.  

Different communities require different climate change mitigation and adaptation technologies and strategies. We take a community-first approach to co-develop and co-implement innovative solutions to address climate change. We are working with our local and global partners—and looking for new collaborators—to co-develop and successfully implement transformative policy solutions and cleantech innovations that meet the community-specific needs of people and their communities and enable economic opportunities.

With our expertise, strengths, capacity and collaborations, we can help Canada further establish itself as a global leader in climate action and achieve the net-zero emissions goal by 2050. Through SFU’s integrated approach, we can make an impact on the climate crisis. Community-centred climate innovation will take us there.

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Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals

SFU is advancing the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) through our dedication to sustainable research, teaching and learning, campus operations and more


The UN SDGs seek to transform our world and end poverty, protect the planet and leave no one behind. Universities have a crucial role to play in achieving the SDGs through leadership, knowledge generation, education, campus operations and public engagement. The 2023 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings—which measure universities’ strengths in advancing the United Nations’ sustainable development goals—rank SFU as the world's top university for global impact on sustainable cities and communities, and fifth in the world for climate action.

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Climate literacy

SFU is prioritizing climate literacy education to students, staff and faculty. 


SFU has everything it needs to respond to the climate crisis. If anything, our roots as a radical campus have fused social innovation into our DNA and made SFU uniquely prepared to contribute. Our greatest resource to drive action comes from our students and alumni who bring energy, passion, new ways of thinking, and courageous leadership to this work. Our students and student groups continually challenge the institution to do better and aim higher, and the faculty and staff at SFU can learn as much from the students as the students learn from them.

Sustainability Impact Measurement Initiative (SIMI)

SIMI is focused on streamlining sustainability data collection, reporting and communications for SFU.


SIMI was established as a partnership between the Sustainability Office, Research Intelligence Office, SFU International and Institutional Research and Planning. The objectives of the SIMI include developing a centralized database for the university and an online communications platform to share sustainability data and stories with the community. Within the overarching SIMI goal, the group also works on SFU’s submissions to the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. The rankings benchmark institutions’ performance towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Civic Innovation Lab

This initiative is a joint collaboration between the City of Burnaby and SFU


The City of Burnaby and SFU have come together to create a joint Civic Innovation Lab, combining their expertise and resources in order to find fresh solutions to challenges and issues affecting cities.

This separate non-profit society enables the City to benefit from leading-edge academic research, harnessing SFU’s strength in advancing research initiatives into practical solutions for real-world problems. The central SFU Sustainability team is porting over our expertise and experience running the campus Living Lab program to a much larger scale at the City of Burnaby. Over the longterm the initiative will provide the City with a permanent research base where students and researchers apply their education and knowledge to develop real-world solutions, helping to solidify the City’s role as a leader in solving urban issues.

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Living Lab

Living Lab brings faculty, staff and graduate students together to collaborate on innovative climate solutions at SFU


SFU's Living Lab program applies the university’s leading sustainability and climate research to its own infrastructure and facilities, testing innovative solutions on-site that can then be applied and scaled anywhere in the world. 

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Food Systems and Security project

This B.C. Collaborative for Social Infrastructure project addresses food security, sustainability and sovereignty with an Indigenous lens. 


The central SFU Sustainability team is working with Joanne Curry and members of the VP External Relations portfolio, Ancillary Services and Dining staff, Professor Tammara Soma from the Food Systems Lab, Ali White from Embark Sustainability, and steering committee members from BCIT and UNBC on a B.C. Collaborative for Social Infrastructure project addressing food security, sustainability and sovereignty with an Indigenous lens.

Sustainable Spaces

Sustainable Spaces is a certification for office, labs, events and dining establishments


Through a standard yet flexible set of guidelines, the self-directed Sustainable Spaces program helps places and events at SFU improve their environmental and social impact in each area. 

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AKU Arusha Environmental Research Reserve

Together with Aga Khan University in Nairobi, Kenya, SFU is co-developing sustainable and regenerative research solutions in the Arusha Environmental Research Reserve.


SFU is collaborating with Aga Khan University (AKU) and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) to advance research in the AKU Arusha Environmental Research Reserve that examines the impact of the environment on human health, media and storytelling, maternal and child health, environmental sustainability and more. 

Renewable Cities

A special initiative of SFU's Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Renewable Cities is accelerating the transition to renewable, restorative, resilient cities


Renewable Cities is driven by critical analysis, transformative policy innovation, strategic communication and meaningful engagement with public, private and social sectors. 

Renewable Cities plays a key role in informing governments, locally, provincially and nationally on important policy agendas focussed on three program areas:

  • Smart Growth, Smart City 
  • Prefabricated, Mass Timber Construction 
  • Integrated Housing Solutions

Learn more


SFU sends an annual formal delegation of SFU community members to the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP)


SFU sends an annual formal delegation of faculty, staff and students to the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) each November. This is an important opportunity to highlight SFU’s climate leadership, build international connections and share what we learn with our communities.

Learn more