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Sustainability Report 2021-22

Welcome to the second annual Sustainability Report. This report has been created in alignment with McMaster’s inaugural, university-wide Sustainability Strategy: A Living Laboratory for Sustainability 2022-26. The strategy was created in collaboration with our community and aligns with our vision to advance human and societal health and well-being.  

Transforming McMaster’s campus into a living laboratory for sustainability is a university priority. Every year, McMaster is committed to sharing and celebrating our progress in all areas of sustainability. This report shares our progress over the last year within the four strategic drivers of our strategy: 1. A Culture Focused on Sustainability 2. Teaching, Learning and Research 3. Self-Sustaining Campus and Sites and 4. Operational Excellence. Sustainability at McMaster is guided by principles that look through a lens of Indigeneity, and focus on equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion. 

I hope you enjoy reading about some of the recent progress in carbon reduction, energy and waste management. We continue to pursue the goal of being a carbon free campus. 

It is clear that sustainability, in all its forms, matters to the McMaster community. This report includes a map of how every initiative is connected to McMaster’s responsibility to address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) across disciplines, Faculties and units. 

When it comes to sustainability, McMaster has collectively committed to collaborating across the university, listening to feedback and setting ambitious goals. More work is underway, more progress will be made, and we will continue to seek the collaboration of our students, faculty and staff along the way.



David Farrar
President and Vice-Chancellor


Sustainability Strategy

Operational Excellence Read More

Strategic Driver 4:

Guiding Principles

Interwoven throughout the strategy’s four drivers continues to be the principles guiding our campus’
transformation into a living laboratory of sustainability.

We look through a lens of Indigeneity in our sustainability efforts 

We focus on equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion in our sustainability efforts

We see sustainability work as a collaborative, evolving effort

We strive for innovative solutions tailored to our community

We share and recognize our sustainability progress and achievements across our community

Debbie Martin, Assistant Vice-President and Chief Facilities Officer
Kate Whelan, Associate Director, Academic Sustainability Programs
Lalita Goray, Director, Design and Construction

McMaster’s inaugural, university-wide Sustainability Strategy launched on Earth Day, April 22 2022. That same day, three events were held with the goal of inspiring action about the challenges facing our planet and society. On Earth Day, the shelves of the McMaster Community Fridge shelves were filled by donations from our community to help address food insecurity for re-use or recycling at the ACCESS Tech donation drive, students, faculty and staff donated hundreds of used technology items, keeping them out of landfills and sharing them with Hamiltonians in need. At the McMaster Carbon Sink Forest, volunteers from our community planted 250 trees. Leading up to these events, students, faculty and staff collaborated for months on sustainability-related initiatives that encourage McMaster’s community members to participate.

McMaster’s Sustainable Advisory Council (MSAC) will continue to support and connect students, faculty and staff who are leading initiatives that will transform our campus into a living laboratory for sustainability. Next year, our council hopes to see more opportunities for involvement and more community members inspired to participate in sustainability-related initiatives.

Students installing new solitary bee homes on campus. Thanks to the teamwork of many students, staff and faculty, McMaster is designated a Bee City Campus.

We want to invite all of McMaster’s community to get involved and collaborate across campus to achieve McMaster’s Sustainability Strategy. Our ability to work together with students, faculty and staff as partners, is one of our many strengths.

The progress in this report was made possible by Susan Tighe, Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Saher Fazilat, Vice-President, Operations and Finance, who are the champions of McMaster’s Sustainability Strategy.

We would like to express our gratitude to the members of the MSAC and the McMaster community for their support for sustainable projects this year. Finally, we would like to thank you for reading our second Sustainability Report.

Connection to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Please note that the initiatives highlighted in this report are non-exhaustive. For more information on how McMaster is addressing
all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), visit McMaster’s Sustainable Development Goals site.

McMaster initiatives covered in this report United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
 Leadership and Vision: Revitalizing the Office of Sustainability 17
 Communications: Strategic storytelling 17
 Strategic Partnership and Continued Engagement: Collaborating for sustainable development in Hamilton 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 13
 Learning and Development: Sustainable continuing education (and spotlight) 4
 Sustainable Research: Environmental scan 17
 Interdisciplinary Learning: Student perceptions of sustainability 17
 Campus as a Living Laboratory: Renaturalizing of parts of west campus 3, 6, 10, 13, 14, 15
 Digital Learning and Environment: Optimizing energy use in the classroom 7, 9, 11, 12, 13
 Spotlight: McMaster researchers use machine learning to map carbon storage across Canada 13
 Eco Parks and Greenspace: Protecting birds with high-tech windows 9, 15
 Health and Well-being: Community fridge on campus 2, 3, 10
 Active and Sustainable Transportation: Hamilton Bike Share and bike storage improvements 3, 11
 Spotlight: A Living Laboratory at the McMaster Carbon Sink Forest 13, 15
 Sustainable Infrastructure, Energy, and Water: Electric-powered steam 7, 9, 11, 12, 13
Waste: Campus food waste champions 2, 11
Responsible Investing: Aligned with the United Nations All
Sustainable Procurement: Students help McMaster buy better 9, 12, 13, 17
Metrics: Tracking McMaster’s research related to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals 17
Spotlight: McMaster’s campus is on the road to net zero carbon emissions 7, 9, 11, 12, 13

Undergraduate students Batool Malik, Alisha Gauhar, Sufal Deb, Kyle Yau, and Morghen Jael, director of the MSU Food Collective Centre, who were part of the team that initiated the Community Fridge on campus.

Connect with us:  

You can learn more about McMaster’s Sustainability Strategy and view previous sustainability reports on our website at