Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.71
Liaison Sharmilla Raj
Submission Date May 6, 2024

STARS v2.2

Toronto Metropolitan University
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete N/A
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Sustainability Action Plan

A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:
A notable milestone since our last submission is the publication of TMU’s inaugural Sustainability Action Plan. This plan marks a significant step forward, laying out our long-term goals, including achieving a Platinum STARS ranking by 2035. It integrates best practices from the STARS framework, underscoring our commitment to excelling in this field.

Three long-term goals were identified based on their alignment with institutional values, community input, benchmarking opportunities, institutional peers and best practices, government targets and global perspectives.
Goal #1: Platinum STARS sustainability rating by 2035
Goal #2: Zero-waste by 2035
Goal #3: Net-zero Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2045

The action plan focuses on five priority areas of impact that were identified where sustainability initiatives targeting these goals could be achieved through incremental changes in operations and physical systems, cultural and behavioural changes, or combinations thereof:
Research and innovation
Buildings and utilities
Grounds and ecosystems
Waste and circular materials management
Food and dining
Planning and administration
Community engagement and partnerships

Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Air & Climate
Coordination & Planning

Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
TMU's Free Store

A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:
The TMU Free Store is an initiative dedicated to helping TMU students reduce their environmental impact and gain equitable access to get the things that they need for free. Students can choose from a variety of gently-used items like office supplies, electronics, home decor, kitchen supplies, books and more, all for free!

The concept of the Free Store originated from our annual donation drive known as Eco-Move Out, which was organized by the Sustainability Office in collaboration with housing and residence during student move-outs. It became evident that valuable items were being discarded due to the lack of suitable avenues for students to easily donate their belongings. Initially, the items collected during Eco-Move Out were directed towards external charities. However, we soon realized that an alternative approach would be more effective – redirecting these items back to the student community.

The primary objective had a dual-fold purpose: first, to reduce landfill waste by giving a second life to these still-valuable items, and second, to support students who could benefit from these items during the upcoming academic year in an equitable manner. In addition to the move-out donations, we conducted several donation drives throughout the summer and reached out to both staff and faculty for potential contributions. Building upon the success of this model, the TMU Free Store continues to evolve, serving as a platform that promotes sustainability, community engagement, and the equitable distribution of resources within our campus community.

The impact has been significant, not only in terms of diverting items from a waste perspective, but also in fostering a cultural shift within our institution towards a more circular mindset. We've observed students who selected items from the initial Free Store and then, upon leaving the residence, donated those items back this year, allowing other students to enjoy them. This practice truly exemplifies the development of a circular sharing culture at TMU. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with students expressing genuine excitement about the initiative.

At the first free store event held during Orientation in September 2022 over 2 weeks:
2,540 items were rehomed
3,441 students visited the Free Store
1,266 lbs diverted from landfill
99% of students who attended said that they would be very interested in having the Free Store run throughout the year.

We have now grown to diverting over 400,000 items from the landfill. A significant impact to our waste footprint.

Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement

Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
IN-49: Innovation C

A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
TMU's Urban Farm

A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:
The Urban Farm operates two rooftop farms on campus to produce and distribute food, facilitate research and engage the community through ecological rooftop farming and food justice initiatives. The Urban Farm strives to support the health and well-being of the community and surrounding ecosystem by using practices that are ecologically, socially and financially just. This includes growing foods, medicines and plants that are culturally significant to many communities by applying diverse knowledges, foodways and growing techniques.

TMU's Urban Farm newest location, the Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex (DCC) rooftop farm, is Toronto’s first purpose-built green roof for food production under the city's Green Roof Bylaw and is dedicated to Indigenous Foodways and Black Food Sovereignty.

The Urban Farm is a also Living Lab that brings together urban farmers, community partners and academics through interdisciplinary research on the rooftop farm. The Living Lab builds on user-driven research needs that respond to the challenges of designing and operating a rooftop farm using green roof technology.

The Living Lab was launched in partnership with the Centre for Studies in Food Security and is possible thanks to start-up funding from Andrew and Valerie Pringle.

Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement

Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory; IN-7: Community Garden

A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.