York enhances its commitment to sustainability with new policy

York University has enhanced its commitment to going green by adopting a new sustainability policy.

Approved by the Board of Governors on April 25, the University’s sustainability policy was developed by the President’s Sustainability Council in accordance with one of its recommendations in the 2009 President’s Sustainability Council Report.

Mamdouh Shoukri “I am pleased that York’s sustainability policy was approved by the board,” said Mamdouh Shoukri (right), York’s president & vice-chancellor. “The policy provides the framework for sustainable and responsible practices, activities and operations at our institution. Not only does the adoption of such a policy demonstrate the University’s commitment to sustainability principles, but it also emphasizes our intention to work towards environmentally sustainable campuses.”

The policy focuses on six main areas:

  • York will work towards being a sustainable university. A sustainable university is one that enhances the ecological functioning of its campuses; models knowledgeable, active and responsible global citizens; and does so within an integrated, long-term framework of full-cost economic and environmental accounting.
  • York will bring vision, scholarship and high ethical standards to achieving and maintaining institutional leadership in sustainable operations and community engagement.br />
  • Progress will be monitored, and measurable goals will be explored and adopted where feasible.
  • York will draw upon the abilities and expertise of the University community to promote practices that maximize the beneficial effects and minimize the harmful impacts that may arise out of its operational, academic and research activities.
  • York will strive to be at the forefront of sustainability research and education, and will use its capacity and expertise to promote sustainability within and beyond the University, with its alumni, governments and the surrounding communities. As part of these efforts, there will be an ongoing program of communication to the York community, reporting on progress and achieving goals as they relate to sustainability.
  • York will encourage the active engagement of all members of the University community in issues of sustainability and will support sustainability awareness in the greater community.

 Ilan Kapoor In addition to the new sustainability policy, the president recently appointed a new chair of the council. Beginning July 1, Professor Ilan Kapoor (left) of the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) will assume the role from FES  Jennifer FosterProfessor Jennifer Foster (right), who is taking a sabbatical.

“As the outgoing chair of the President’s Sustainability Council, I am thrilled that the policy, which is such an incredibly important component to sustainability at York, was adopted,” said Foster. “This policy will continue to build on the recommendations highlighted in this year’s Sustainability Report, and provide York with a framework that will allow members of the community to continue to enhance a pan-University strategy, expanding our institution’s commitment to sustainability.”

The Sustainability Report for 2010 was released on Saturday, March 26, in conjunction with Earth Hour. The report highlights York’s commitment to sustainability on its campuses, and profiles the University’s efforts to function in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner over the past year.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Jennifer Foster for her leadership and dedication in serving as the inaugural chair of the council. She has done great work moving many of the recommendations outlined in the sustainability reports forward, and I wish her well on her sabbatical,” said Shoukri. “I would also like to welcome Professor Ilan Kapoor, who will assume the role of chair on July 1. Having served as the undergraduate program director in FES, I know that he is up to the challenge.”

To learn more about the sustainability policy or about the work of the council, visit the Sustainability Council website.