Concordia launches a new Office of Sustainability
People across the globe marked Earth Day on April 22, taking part in activities aimed at greater environmental responsibility.
For sustainability advocates at Concordia, all the other days of the year are just as important. Their commitment is demonstrated through regular community efforts and the creation of a new Office of Sustainability.
“From students to researchers to the larger community, Concordia is made up of people for whom sustainability is a priority,” says Roger Côté, vice-president of Services.
“By creating a separate Office of Sustainability we want to support the work of our members, promote awareness of sustainability initiatives and provide additional opportunities for engagement and positive change.”
Until now, institutional efforts at fostering and supporting sustainability have been coordinated from within Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). While in many respects this has worked well, some community members were not aware of the resource.
“Creating an actual Office of Sustainability puts it on the physical and digital map,” says EHS director Pietro Gasparrini, who will continue to oversee team operations.
“In the past, unless a student, staff or faculty member was aware that sustainability was located within EHS, they might not have known where to go.”
The new office’s role includes upholding the university’s Sustainability Policy and promoting best practices in ecological, economic and social sustainability. It will work in close collaboration with all members of the community to develop, coordinate, maintain and enhance sustainability initiatives, strategies and programs.
“The office will also help coordinate the efforts of Concordia’s many sustainability-focused groups and units,” Gasparrini explains.
“Together they’ll evaluate and provide advice on how to improve the university’s performance through tools, training, improved processes and metrics like the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System.”
‘A community responsibility’
Heading the new office is sustainability coordinator Cassandra Lamontagne.
“We’re working with a number of internal units and student groups on sustainability initiatives and programming,” she says. “That includes the Sustainability Champions Awards, the Sustainability Ambassador Program and the development of the 2019-2024 Sustainability Plan.”
In its first five years, the plan will include targets and strategies for food, waste, climate, research and curriculum at Concordia. Each of these will contain objectives as well as specific indicators and measurement plans so that the office can track progress.
“Many parts of the plan, such as the proposed green building certification policy or the strategic placement of new compacting, solar-powered waste stations, reflect the growth of initiatives that began some time ago,” says Lamontagne.
“Others are brand-new. They are all meant to address the sustainability challenges we are facing in ways that engage and strengthen our community.”
With the addition of the Office of Sustainability, the next step is to consolidate online resources, including EHS’s sustainability services pages. Those will soon be incorporated into the Sustainability Hub, which will be updated and redesigned over the coming months.
You can reach the Concordia Office of Sustainability at 514-848-2424, ext. 4877 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.