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Students and community members harvesting produce on the Ryerson Urban Farm rooftop.

Approach

Sustainability Matters is leading the pursuit of Ryerson’s commitment to sustainability by employing a two-pronged approach. For more information, see the interactive diagram and content below.

 

A visual showing the Sustainability Matters two prong approach: Improving our operations and Empowering the campus communityOpen Economically TabOpen Socially TabOpen Environmentally TabOpen Delivering Expertise TabOpen Promoting your efforts TabOpen Making connections TabOpen Collaborating directly Tab

The university administration is committed to advancing how sustainably we operate.  As a key step forward, we are building our capacity to address Ryerson’s economic, social and environmental performance.  

Economically

Traditional approaches to managing the economic or financial performance of an organization rarely value all of the risks and opportunities associated with a rapidly changing world, such as the impact of quickly rising energy prices, changing societal norms or investment choices that may cost less today but will have financial consequences in the future.  

By planning based on how costs will rise and other important demands are expected to emerge, in addition to facilitating cross-departmental collaboration to encourage life-cycle-based decision making, Ryerson is developing new and innovative ways of enhancing our financial sustainability.

Socially

People are the most important part of our institution— whether students, staff, faculty or broader community members. While the practice of managing social sustainability is relatively new, Ryerson is making innovative strides to make this campus an exceptional place to work, learn and live. From new structure and policy, to advanced training and better spaces, we are striving to maintain a campus that is highly diverse, inclusive and accessible.

Environmentally

Climate change arguably represents the greatest global challenge of our time. In response, we are seeing a quickly growing field of new government policies, industry trends and community-based movements.  

As part of understanding the impact operating Ryerson has on the environment, we are measuring the university’s carbon footprint, adding to the scope of what is included each year and methodically taking action to reduce impact.

There is little doubt the greatest opportunity for Ryerson to address sustainability rests in the potential held among the more than 40,000 members of our campus community. We are focused on encouraging leadership and contribution from among students groups, administrative departments and faculties in four ways:

Delivering expertise

Addressing the sustainability of an organization like Ryerson, is complex and involves a very broad range of disciplines.  Figuring out where to start and what solutions to adopt is a challenge for the most seasoned of experts.  When it comes to campus, we often find many groups trying to tackle the same challenge, each starting from scratch.  To enable groups to do more with less, we are committed to developing and delivering reliable sustainability expertise and useful resources.

CASE STUDY:  Increasing Waste Diversion Rates

The Challenge: Shipping waste to landfill presents an environmental challenge. It is costly and something we are reminded of everytime we dispose of an item. It's no wonder groups across campus commonly start isolated initiatives designed to address this problem and increase waste diversion.

Our Response: In support of the various campus groups each attempting to reduce waste to landfill in isolation, Sustainability Matters decided to initiate a campus wide waste initiative.  We started thoroughly researching the composition of all waste collected and how likely it is to be properly separated in different situations and spaces across campus.  We also evaluated a variety of potential solutions like new disposal bins, better signage and different ways of separating waste.  To execute a series of pilots designed to help us test these solutions and collect related data, we collaborated with the campus groups that were individually attempting to improve waste management. This coordinated and inclusive approach ensured all of the effort being invested was efficiently focused on a shared goal and path forward.  

Need help developing a sustainability plan for your organization or event?  See the links below:

If you need some expertise to help you take on an opportunity or challenge, please Contact Us.

Promoting your efforts

Sustainability at Ryerson is not limited to the efforts of one department, student group or administration; it’s a dynamic result of all the actions taken across campus. We are constantly in the process of collecting and organizing information on sustainability efforts and initiatives being led by and throughout the Ryerson community. By detailing these efforts in one central place, we hope to recognize the amazing work we are all responsible for. Sustainability Matters prides itself on being a hub that collects and promotes all Ryerson sustainability-related news, events, initiatives, volunteer opportunities and more.

Browse these links to learn more about how different Ryerson groups are addressing sustainability:

Making connections

We are on the lookout for anything at Ryerson with a sustainability focus, not limited to news, events, projects and research. This practice has helped us gather both a foundation of knowledge and a network of relationships that allows us the opportunity to bring different groups together. We are committed to helping leaders working on sustainability initiatives to connect with potential partners and collaborators who share a common or complementary interest.

If you are interested in discussing what else is happening at Ryerson that may be related to your group’s efforts, please Contact Us.

Directly collaborating

With so many exciting sustainability initiatives being led across campus, it is simply impossible for us to be directly involved with them all.  We are, however, able to contribute time and in some cases, financial resources to supporting projects that align well to the priorities of the Sustainability Matters program and the university as a whole.   

If you are interested in finding out how we can help you take on a sustainability-focused opportunity or challenge, please Contact Us.