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Our Sustainability Commitment: Introduction to the Report

At McMaster, the focus on environmental sustainability runs through every part of the university, from innovative teaching and research, to the campus environment and operations. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at the core of many student activities and academic programs, increasingly reflected in a range of research and academic programs.

As Canada’s most research-intensive university, McMaster works across disciplines to find creative solutions to complex problems, helping to improve people’s lives and build a brighter future for all.

This inaugural university-wide 2021 Sustainability Report was prepared by the Office of Sustainability, in partnership with a working group from across campus, to provide an overview of McMaster’s collective measures to advance environmental sustainability efforts within the institution, the communities that surround us and around the world.

It draws on examples from across the university, in all faculties and multiple departments and units to demonstrate how McMaster is delivering on its ambitions and goals around environmentally sustainable actions. While this report does not capture all of the sustainability focused activities, it provides a glimpse into much of the work being done.

While sustainability is a comprehensive term encompassing social, environmental, political and economic factors, this inaugural Sustainability Report focuses on the actions that protect the planet. Numerous reports on sustainability more broadly have already been created throughout McMaster University, such as the McMaster University Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020, the Hospitality Services Wellness and Sustainability Report, the Office of Community Engagement Impact Report and the Academic Sustainability Programs Office 2020/21 Annual Report.

This report has narrowed its focus to three key pillars:

  1. Natural Resources: Showcases McMaster’s commitment to the protection and conservation of natural resources,
    as well as its efforts to contribute to a sustainable food system and address food insecurity on campus.
  2. Reducing Our Environmental Footprint: Highlights how McMaster builds and operates its campus sustainably,
    including water, energy, GHG emissions and waste reduction initiatives.
  3. Student Learning and Research: Explores McMaster’s efforts to integrate sustainability into its students’
    academic experiences through innovative interdisciplinary programs and community-based and experiential
    learning, as well as the many research activities supporting the achievement of the SDGs.

McMaster hopes this report serves as a prompt to engage with its students, faculty, staff and community on the university’s approach to sustainability. In the coming years, McMaster will prepare a Sustainability Plan which will refine the university-wide sustainability goals and allow for reporting on established metrics.

Initiatives included in this report are mapped to the SDGs. For more information on McMaster’s alignment to the SDGs,
see the SDG Index Table on page (30) of this report, visit McMaster’s
Sustainable Development Goals site and download the McMaster University Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020.