Ottawa, November 1, 2021 – As international talks are underway at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), Canada’s public colleges, CEGEPs, polytechnics and institutes are pledging to do their part to tackle the climate crisis and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 on their campuses.
With over 670 locations across Canada, Canada’s public colleges and institutes have an unparalleled footprint across the country, serving urban centres, as well as rural, remote and northern areas. They are therefore ideally positioned to support their communities as the country transitions to a net-zero economy. And they are committed to leading by example, adopting sustainable practices and reducing their own environmental footprint.
Colleges and institutes are ready to take the next step and commit to working with governments and private sector partners to achieve Net Zero Emissions on Campus by 2050. And by leveraging their campus assets – students, training, applied research – they aim to accelerate practical win/win solutions to reduce GHG emissions and enhance Canadian competitiveness.
To achieve net-zero emissions, Canada will need to train a new generation of workers with the skills required to build a green economy, which involves new roles, sector sustainability strategies, and innovation. Colleges and institutes are already at the forefront of these changes and will continue to work with their partners across all sectors of the economy to ensure they are supported, but also that students have access to the learning opportunities required to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow.
Ever since the launch of a Green Guide in 1992, this has been a recurring area of focus for Colleges and Institutes Canada and its members, through initiatives such as the 2007 Pan-Canadian Protocol for sustainability. More recent activity has included the creation of a national President’s Advisory Committee on sustainability, and a broad focus on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals across the association’s programs.
To showcase what they are already doing, CICan encourages all its members to share examples of their projects and initiatives aimed at reducing their carbon footprint by using #ClimateAction.
“Achieving net-zero emissions will require concerted efforts across Canada and we are proud to say that colleges and institutes are committed to doing their part. Our campuses are deeply connected to so many levers of change within their communities, starting with their students, and able to enact meaningful change. By committing ourselves to achieving carbon neutrality, we believe we can accelerate action across Canada and support the energy transition necessary to transform our economy and protect our planet for the generations to come.”
- Denise Amyot, President and CEO, Colleges and Institutes Canada
“As a leading academic institution, employer and community partner, Sheridan is committed to embracing all aspects of sustainability. Our goal is to become the institutional model for a 21st-century organization through planning and action. We have set out a long-term strategy to effectively manage energy performance and environmental impacts of our campus operations through the reduction of energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, enhance reliability of on-campus systems, and provide opportunities for community leadership and integration with teaching and learning. This is a commitment we share with colleges and institutes from across the country. By working together and sharing best practices, through groups like CICan’s National President’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability, I know we can have an impact beyond our communities and help Canada achieve the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.”
- Janet Morrison, President of Sheridan College and Chair of CICan’s President’s advisory committee on sustainability