STARS accreditation: Université Laval ranked second in the world for sustainable development
Québec City, February 15, 2017 - Université Laval has earned a gold rating from STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) for the second time as a result of its broad-reaching commitment to sustainable development (SD). The institution improved its performance markedly to rank second in the world, behind Colorado State University.
With a score of 82.53 out of 100, the institution posted the second best performance among all participating universities, including such prestigious schools as Yale, Princeton, UCLA, Duke, and Cornell, and recorded the best score in Canada, ahead of Calgary, McGill, York, and Concordia. Over 800 universities worldwide are registered for STARS. In 2014, Laval attracted attention for its commitment and the excellence of its SD efforts with respect to people’s lifestyle, environment, and living standards, finishing first in the country and ninth in the world.
With more than 150 criteria covering everything from training, research, and governance to operations and community engagement, STARS is the most rigorous, transparent, and complete SD accreditation in the world. This prestigious recognition testifies to Université Laval’s desire to inspire other organizations—and society as a whole—to take action and get involved for the sake of the public good, as well as its commitment to stay abreast of societal trends and challenges.
Université Laval rector Denis Brière shared this honour with the entire university community. “Pride is the word that comes to mind today,” he said. “I am proud to have our efforts recognized. Thanks to the values we share—values that translate into a multitude of everyday actions and measures—we have succeeded in coming together to ensure the viability of our research, education, and living environments, while helping to build a better world.”
To showcase this remarkable accomplishment, community members have been invited to vote for one of the following SD projects, which will receive a $5,000 special contribution from the SD Fund. The projects are the Agrocité aquaponic farm, Coop Roue-Libre, Accès savoir, and an on-campus educational apiary.
Eating and investing responsibly
With STARS accreditation, participating organizations can also aim for continuous improvements to their SD practices. Starting now and over the coming years, Université Laval will take concrete steps to improve in two key areas—eating and investing responsibly.
In terms of food, Université Laval intends to work with its food services partners to make positive changes to every facet of the services they provide, notably by reducing food waste and food loss at the source, offering responsible products (e.g., local), and by optimizing necessary resources (e.g., water, electricity).
What’s more, the university intends to further develop and support various university community initiatives that will use the campus as a source of nourishment. Examples include student groups like AgroCité, la Fromagerie du Campus, VIA Agroécologie, BrasSTA, MicroBroue, Carnivore, and BoULangerie du Comtois.
As for investments, the institution intends to pursue its role as an SD leader by making a commitment. “Today, Université Laval commits to taking responsible action to switch its endowment fund investments in fossil energy to other types of investments, such as renewable energy,” announced Éric Bauce, Executive Vice Rector in charge of sustainable development, while confirming that Université Laval is the first university in Canada to do so. To do this, Université Laval will form a responsible investment advisory committee, including student representatives, who will be tasked with recommending methods, practices, and actions. Furthermore, an annual progress report on the investment transition will be released.
Significant sustainable development achievements since 2011
- The sustainable development course and program recognition process, where more than 383 courses were identified as contributing to the development of key SD competencies
- The strength of our SD research and innovation activities: 58% of recognized research chairs, institutes, centres, and groups incorporate SD-related research activities. 403 professors carry out work associated with SD research
- Achieving campus carbon neutrality and being the first university in Canada to do so voluntarily
- The broad-ranging measures aimed at raising awareness and mobilizing our community: Student information agents, our numerous student associations whose missions include SD, our ongoing communication tools, such as the SD newsletter, Facebook page, and SD portal
- The original and innovative nature of a number of our achievements: our eco-responsible events guide (more than 160 events certified to date in 2016-2017), our support measures for sustainable transportation (e.g., for cyclists), presentation of the first MOOC on SD in the French-speaking world, and our numerous agreements with community partners such as the Huron-Wendat Nation.