Home » Priorities » Sustainability Action Commitment

Sustainability Action Commitment

There is no more pressing global priority than the need to embrace a more sustainable way of living. Through our teaching, our research and our own practices, York University has contributed substantially to our understanding of sustainability best practices which are as much about what we do as what we are purposely choosing not to do.

— Rhonda Lenton, President and Vice-Chancellor

Canada’s third largest university is implementing bold new actions and initiatives that will see York become one of the most sustainable universities nationally, embracing a holistic approach to sustainability and amping up targeted resources in support of a plan that will get York to net-zero: 

  • York’s Office of Sustainability is growing, including recruitment for a Chief Sustainability Officer
  • A new one-million-dollar fund for Sustainability Innovation has been announced. 
  • An open access microlecture series and badge in Sustainable Living is being created. 
  • York has pledged to reduce direct and indirect emissions by 45% by 2030. 

Focused squarely on delivering York’s ambitious academic plan, the University has been bolstering its position as a leader in creating a more sustainable and inclusive world in recent years, ranking at 33rd in the world on the 2022 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings for contributions towards the UN sustainable development goals.

York University Digital Badge in Sustainable Living

York University has launched its free Microlecture Series in Sustainable Living, an innovative, open access program that gives participants the opportunity to learn from six of York’s world-renowned academic experts on a diverse range of topics related to sustainability.

Well aligned with the University’s efforts to inspire positive change, the Microlecture Series tasks participants with making tangible sustainability-focused changes in their daily lives based on tips from each professor. Those who complete the series will earn a first-of-its-kind Digital Badge in Sustainable Living – offered by York’s Division of Research and Innovation – which can be added to LinkedIn.

The Microlecture Series is the latest example of how York University is living its longstanding values of social justice, equity, and sustainability.

Quick Facts

In 2022, York reached #33 in the world on the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, an international benchmark that aligns with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2021, York announced its commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2049 or sooner.

In 2021, York established a new Centre of Excellence called One Water, it aims to address the diverse aspects of the ongoing water sustainability crises.

In 2011, York’s Board of Governors approved a new Sustainability Policy.

In 2022, York was named one of Canada's Greenest employers for the tenth consecutive year.

In 2015, York became one of the first universities in Canada to phase out the sale of water bottles on its campuses.

In 2016, York opened the Lillian Meighen Wright Centre in Cost Rica. The Las Nubes Ecocampus that operates as a local, national and international hub dedicated to education and research.

Home to the first environmental
program in Canada
, now the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change.