Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Nicole Arsenault
Submission Date April 20, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

York University
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Andrew Plunkett
Sustainability Coordinator
President
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have current and formal plans to advance sustainability in the following areas? Do the plans include measurable objectives?:
Current and Formal Plans (Yes or No) Measurable Objectives (Yes or No)
Curriculum Yes Yes
Research (or other scholarship) Yes Yes
Campus Engagement Yes Yes
Public Engagement Yes Yes
Air and Climate Yes Yes
Buildings Yes Yes
Dining Services/Food No
+ Date Revised: June 28, 2016
No
+ Date Revised: June 28, 2016
Energy Yes Yes
Grounds Yes Yes
Purchasing No No
Transportation Yes Yes
Waste Yes Yes
Water Yes Yes
Diversity and Affordability No No
Health, Wellbeing and Work Yes Yes
Investment Yes Yes
Other No No

A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Curriculum:

The 2010-2015 Academic plan states: “Our vision of a sustainable university is one that enhances the ecological functioning of its campuses provides equitable access to opportunities for active engagement in life-long learning creates knowledgeable, active and responsible global citizens and does so within an integrated, long-term framework of full-cost economic and environmental accounting.” It is our responsibility both as an academic institution and as community members to advance our commitments in this area and to respond to new sustainability challenges through a panuniversity approach to the development of policies to enhance sustainability, the expansion of sustainable practices, and initiatives to increase the focus on sustainability in the curriculum and in outreach activities.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Curriculum plan(s):

Advancement in curriculum will be measured through an increase in experiential learning opportunities.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Curriculum plan(s):

Division of Vice-President Academic


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Research (or other scholarship):

York’s Strategic Research Plan recognizes the importance of forging a Just and Sustainable world through research initiatives. York has a significant capacity in environmental monitoring research, including oil and gas sector impacts, and a broad spectrum of expertise in air, water and biodiversity monitoring. York researchers are exploring climatic and environmental change in Europe and North America across various historical periods and showing how this has had a profound social, economic and political effect over time. In the area of atmospheric monitoring and modeling, York is conducting cutting-edge research in areas ranging from understanding chemical and climate simulations, to air pollution forecasting, to probing the changes occurring in the atmosphere of the Arctic and Northern regions and the global stratosphere.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Research plan(s):

Existing research areas will be complemented by new and expanded research programs in electrical, mechanical, civil and chemical engineering that push forward explorations of smart technologies for a green environment and healthier lives Samples of the creative, dynamic and ground-breaking research development this will generate include the following: resource and environmental management and urban planning; power systems engineering and energy systems with emphasis on sustainability and renewable resources.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Research plan(s):

Office of Vice-President Research & Innovation


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Campus Engagement around sustainability:

York’s Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan contains plans to build on success of engagement activities. This includes increasing the engagement in the Res Race to Zero event, providing usage info to LCD screens which are located around campus, and to contribute to the President’s Sustainability Council award program.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Campus Engagement plan:

Increased engagement in the Res Race to Zero event will result in decreased energy consumption in residence buildings.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Campus Engagement plan(s):

Campus Services and Business Operations, Sustainability Coordinator, President’s Sustainability Council


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Public Engagement around sustainability:

The PSC report includes plans to develop a pilot initiative on signage on a specific sustainability initiative, in conjunction with relevant staff persons, in order to study the potential effectiveness of signage and social marketing in changing behaviour and enhancing campus sustainability


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Public Engagement plan(s):

Enhanced sustainability signage around campus will result in measurable increases in sustainable behavior on campus. For example waste management signage should result better waste diversion rates.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Public Engagement plan(s):

Campus Services and Business Operations, Sustainability Coordinator


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Air and Climate:

The PSC report includes plans to establish policies and practices to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants from vehicles, for example through establishment and enforcement of a “no idling” policy for all vehicles on York’s campuses.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Air and Climate plan(s):

To success of established air quality policies will produce a measurable decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Air and Climate plan(s):

Campus Services and Business Operations, York University Senate


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Buildings:

The 2014 PSC report, recommend that York consider the requirement that all new buildings demonstrate the structural and electrical capability to accommodate renewable energy, so that at minimum, new buildings are “solar ready” and can be considered in a future initiative when it becomes more viable to pursue solar power.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Buildings plan(s):

This objective will provide the means for future buildings to be LEED certified at high levels. As well, having the electrical capability to accommodate renewable energy will be trackable in future building design plans.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Buildings plan(s):

Campus Services and Business Operations, York University Development Corporation


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Dining Services/Food:

Pilot a Farmers’ Market on Keele campus as collaboration between and among CSBO Food Services, Regenesis@York, the PSC Student Subcommittee and other campus partners.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Dining Services/Food plan(s):

For the school year of 2013-2014 a weekly Farmers’ market was run during the fall and winter terms, with funding from Food Services and volunteer support from Regenesis@York. Located in the TEL building, the market included a variety of local and artisan vendors, offering a range of goods, including produce and meats, prepared meals and baked goods, and wellness products.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Dining Services/Food plan(s):

Food Services, Regenisis@York


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Energy:

The Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan has multiple plans to advance sustainability in Energy:
-Create additional Infrastructure capacity through further conservation and efficiency for sustainable growth to offset building footprint increases
-Leverage energy assets for teaching, research, and knowledge mobilization
-Reduce energy and water consumption through opportunities such as the $70,000,000 housing renovation project
-IT initiatives – Continue to ; expand use of Power Management Software for night shutdown of lab based computers, consolidate printers, virtualize servers
-Continue to monitor fast evolving LED options to replace Medal Halide and High Pressure Sodium lamps for possible large scale project for Parking Facilities
-Continue to monitor fast evolving LED options to replace T8 fluorescent lamps for possible large scale project


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Energy plan(s):

Many of these plans are possible because of the $40 million Energy Management Program (EMP) which has the goal of achieving a 25% reduction in energy consumption. Energy conservation plans are measurable through asset tracking as well as consumption monitoring.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Energy plan(s):

Campus Services and Business Operations


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Grounds:

The University’s Master Plan (“Master Plan for the Keele Campus”) was designed with sustainability in campus facilities, landscapes, natural features and services and operations being a fundamental pillar of the plan. The Master Plan includes strategies to advance sustainability in the area of grounds.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Grounds plan(s):

York University is home to four woodlots. In the “Greening” section of the Master Plan for the Keele Campus, there are plans to create Greenways between the woodlots. These Greenways will include an increase in hedges, canopy trees, grasses and shrubs on campus.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Grounds plan(s):

Campus Services and Business Operations.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Purchasing:
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The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Purchasing plan(s):
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Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Purchasing plan(s):
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A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Transportation:

The University’s Master Plan (“Master Plan for the Keele Campus”). strategies to advance sustainability in the area of transportation by transitioning the ring road into a shared use Greenway, as well as increasing the number of bicycle storage space on campus.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Transportation plan(s):

An Increase in the number of bicycle storage spaces, as well as the implementation of more bike lanes and shared use walkways.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Transportation plan(s):

York University Development Corporation, Campus Services and Business Operations.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Waste:

The PSC report identifies tobacco waste is a growing concern, mainly due to toxicity of the cigarette butts, leaching toxins into the soil and ground water. It’s a human and environmental health issue, and it detracts from the quality of the University’s public areas. A University strategy is planned for more effective management of cigarette butts which are presently being discarded by smokers in gardens, rockery, walkways and other common spaces. This might include a program of expanding the tobacco waste units on campus, and a communications program to inform smokers of the need to properly "bin their butts".


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Waste plan(s):

This plan’s objectives will be measured through increased tobacco product disposal options around campus, and increased communication programs to inform smokers of the need to properly dispose of their cigarette butts.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Waste plan(s):

Campus Services and Business Operations


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Water:

The University’s Master Plan (“Master Plan for the Keele Campus”) was designed with sustainability in campus facilities, landscapes, natural features and services and operations being a fundamental pillar of the plan. The Master Plan includes strategies to advance sustainability in the area of water management.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Water plan(s):

Plans to use native species and flood tolerant water’s edge plants, including a mix of herbaceous and woody vegetation to stabilize banks of ponds and enhance the aesthetics of the water feature.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Water plan(s):

Campus Services and Business Operations


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance Diversity and Affordability:
---

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Diversity and Affordability plan(s):
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Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Diversity and Affordability plan(s):
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A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Health, Wellbeing and Work:

The Master Plan includes plans to enhance Health, Wellbeing and Work by ‘Greening the Campus’ and providing outdoor seating spaces that include natural features.


The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Health, Wellbeing and Work plan(s):

Progress on this plan will be measured through an increase in outdoor infrastructure as well as an increase in plants and natural features on campus.


Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Health, Wellbeing and Work plan(s):

YUDC, Campus Services and Business Operations.


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in Investment:

York University is an institution dedicated to higher learning and founded on values of accessibility, social responsibility and excellence. Building on that foundation, the University seeks to be a leader in sustainability and engagement.

York University is committed to values of sustainability and responsible investing in the management of its investment portfolios of global holdings.

The York University Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures (the Policy) has been adopted by the Board of Governors to govern the investment of endowed funds.

The Policy contains a high-level statement of investment philosophy that establishes the underpinnings for the University’s investment strategy. The investment philosophy incorporates the principle that investing in companies that adopt sustainable practices aligns the university’s portfolios with long-term investment objectives that are suitable to the endowment fund. Taking this idea into the practical realm, the investment strategy has incorporated the concept of integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into the investment selection and investment decision-making processes.

ESG factors include environmental issues, such as climate change, pollution and resource depletion, social considerations, such as human rights, ethical business practices and fair labour conditions, and governance issues, such as executive compensation, board accountability, shareholder rights and appropriate reporting and disclosure.

The Policy is broadly intended to guide the University in its efforts to preserve the capital in perpetuity and to generate a rate of return sufficient to support a steady stream of inflation-adjusted spending over the long term. Endowment spending is generally for the purpose of supporting scholarships, academic chairs, and the furtherance of academic programs.

Establishment of the Advisory Committee

To further expand the University’s practice of incorporating ESG factors into the management of its investments, the Advisory Committee on Responsible Investment (the Advisory Committee) has been established.

The Advisory Committee shall be comprised of students, faculty and staff that meet for the purposes of investigating, producing and providing advice to the University that is constructive and feasible, and an enhancement to the responsible investing process.

In its study and deliberation, the Advisory Committee may consider the appropriateness of investments based on individual holdings, by type of holding, or by other form of exposure. Proposed studies shall be considered to qualify for consideration and study when they meet the criteria of constituting material advice relevant to sustainable practices of companies that are among the holdings of the University and that such advice is judged to be capable of contributing to the process of responsible investing of University investments.

The Advisory Committee shall be the forum and venue for producing the opinions and ideas, arising from serious research, analysis, and consideration. The advice is to be delivered in the form of documented recommendations, those recommendations having merit, balance and relevance to York University and its diverse constituents. The advice, subject to the approval of the Vice-President Finance and Administration, shall further be the material basis of engagement undertaken by the University with its investment managers.

The Advisory Committee shall be responsible for taking into consideration the University’s requirement to carry out its fiduciary duties in governing its investments, as documented in the Policy and contractual agreements.

The sections following describe the scope, composition, operation and governance of the Advisory Committee.

Purpose of the Advisory Committee

The Committee will provide a forum for interested parties at the University to discuss

and express opinions on responsible investing. From time to time, the Committee may provide advice to the University administration through the Vice-President Finance and Administration, who is responsible for formulating recommendations for decision by the Board of Governors of York University, through its Investment Committee.

The scope of the Committee’s work includes:

Advice about investments where investment managers can actively engage
Identification of companies that may be involved in activities contrary to the University’s principles and beliefs, where active engagement by York’s investment managers would be warranted
Advice about circumstances in which stocks held by the University may cause social or environmental injury
Advice on proxy voting guidelines, including areas in which the University should invoke proxy voting
Identification of like minded organizations, shareholder groups or coalitions, with which the University could potentially affiliate or become a member

Composition of the Advisory Committee

The Committee shall consist of the following nine (9) members:

Three faculty members appointed by the President, in consultation with the Chair of the President’s Sustainability Council, upon an open call for volunteer members made by the President to the University community whenever a vacancy arises. Consideration in these appointments will be given to a fair and reasonable balance between full-time and contract faculty; Faculty, discipline and campuses represented; etc. Each faculty member shall serve no more than a two-year term without re-appointment.
Three students: one named by the York Federation of Students; one named by the Graduate Students Association; one elected by the Student Sub-Committee of the President’s Sustainability Council. Each student member shall serve no more than a two-year term.
One member of the administrative staff of the University, appointed by the President, in consultation with the Chair of the President’s Sustainability Council, upon an open call for a volunteer member made by the President to the University community whenever a vacancy arises. An administrative staff member shall serve no more than a two-year term without re-appointment.
Assistant Vice-President Finance & Chief Financial Officer
University Treasurer

Members of the Committee do not necessarily represent the interests of any constituency, but will rather act with due diligence and in good faith, respecting the fiduciary responsibilities of the University.

Functioning / Operation of the Advisory Committee

The Committee is advisory to the Vice-President Finance and Administration. Its business is conducted in an orderly and collegial manner so that meaningful recommendations can be generated for the Vice-President to possibly advance through the formal decision-making process.
Committee recommendations for the consideration of the Vice-President Finance and Administration shall be forwarded in a timely manner. The Committee may resolve issues by majority vote where necessary; however, advice to the Vice-President may also include alternative viewpoints expressed during Committee deliberations. The Vice-President will provide a response to any written recommendation or report from the Committee.
The Chair of the Committee is appointed by the Vice-President Finance and Administration and shall serve a one-year term, with the possibility of re-appointment.
The Committee shall meet at least twice annually at the call of the Chair and shall meet at any other time at the written request of three other members of the Committee.
Quorum at a meeting shall consist of 5 of the 9 members, as described in #2 above.
There shall be no alternate representation or designation of proxy voting by Committee members.
Resource persons or guests may be invited to the Committee meetings by the Chair as deemed appropriate and shall be invited to speak at Committee meetings solely at the discretion of the Chair.
From time to time, but no more often than once annually, the Committee may at its discretion issue a call to receive input (e.g., research, expressions of concern) from members of the York community in the form of both written submissions and verbal presentations.
Due notice of matters on which advice is to be sought from the Committee is to be provided in advance of meetings in the form of an agenda. Members are to respect the time set for a meeting and to limit remarks to items on the agenda. The agenda of each meeting is prepared and circulated by the Secretary of the Committee in consultation with the Chair.
The University shall provide secretariat support for the York University Advisory Committee on Responsible Investing. The individual(s) appointed for that purpose shall attend all meetings, produce summary minutes for distribution to attendees and provide related support to the Chair of the Committee.
The Committee shall establish working groups or delegate, as required, to enact its work.
The Chair of the Committee shall produce an Annual Report in August of each year for the preceding year, which shall be submitted to the Vice-President Finance and Administration, who will be invited to comment on it.

Governance

The fiduciary responsibility for the management of the University’s investments lies ultimately with the University administration and the Board of Governors.

The Advisory Committee on Responsible Investing will provide advice and recommendations related to the investment of University endowment funds.

+ Date Revised: July 15, 2016

The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the Investment plan(s):

Under the Terms of Reference, the scope of the YUACRI’s work includes:
• Advice about investments where investment managers can actively engage;
• Identification of companies that may be involved in activities contrary to the University’s principles and beliefs, where active engagement by York’s investment managers would be warranted;
• Advice about circumstances in which stocks held by the University may cause social or environmental injury;
• Advice on proxy voting guidelines, including areas in which the University should invoke proxy voting;
• Identification of like-minded organizations, shareholder groups or coalitions, with which the University could potentially affiliate or become a member.
The York University Advisory Committee will review submissions and make a recommendation to the Vice President Finance and Administration on what further action, if any, should be taken.
The decision to make recommendation is expected to be made within 4 months.
Actions may include (but are not limited to):
1. No action with explanation
2. Shareholder engagement activities which may include some of the following actions:
(i) letters to management
(ii) supporting shareholder resolutions
(iii) voting of proxies or amending proxy voting guidelines
(iv) joining coalitions
(v) divestiture of existing holdings
(vi) applying investment screens (positive or negative)

+ Date Revised: July 15, 2016

Accountable parties, offices or departments for the Investment plan(s):

Vice-President Finance and Administration


A brief description of the plan(s) to advance sustainability in other areas:
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The measurable objectives, strategies and timeframes included in the other plan(s):
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Accountable parties, offices or departments for the other plan(s):
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The institution’s definition of sustainability:

In keeping with its subscription to the Talloires Declaration, York defines Sustainability as: A sustainable university is one that enhances the ecological functioning of its campuses; models knowledgeable, active and responsible global citizens; and does so within an integrated, long-term framework of full-cost economic and environmental accounting. Features of a sustainable university include a long-term perspective, a holistic outlook, acceptance of limits; focus on place and active involvement in problem-solving.


Does the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document include sustainability at a high level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:

York University does not have one singular guiding document for sustainability planning. Each department or unit typically has their own strategic plan, specific to the designated function of the unit and is charged with incorporating sustainability into their operations. Sustainability@YorkU and its website serve as a central resource for all the work being done in sustainability across the various departments at the University.


The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning is available:

The President's Sustainability Council Annual Report is not a Sustainability Plan per se, but it does include some measurable actions, targets, and updates on progress from previous years. It is developed in through a collaborative process with a wide variety of campus stakeholders.

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.