President’s Advisory Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability

The President’s Advisory Committee on the Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability (CECCS) was created in early 2017, as one of the actions proposed in the Beyond Divestment: Taking Decisive Action on Climate Change – Administrative Response to the Report of the President’s Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil-Fuels report released by the President in March 2016. The mandate of the CECCS is to advance coordination of the University’s contributions and objectives on climate change and sustainability pertaining to research and innovation, academic programs, and sustainability initiatives related to our operations.

CECCS operates on the principle that sustainability is more than a subject-area or discipline. It is a cross-cutting framework, ethic, and key component of the University of Toronto identity, that:

  • integrates operational and academic activities; 
  • opens the door to a strong and highly visible campus-as-living-lab/university-as-agent-of-change agenda; 
  • builds very strong partnerships with the private, public and civil society sectors; 
  • engages thousands of students both on and off-campus in research-intensive problem-solving, through both course and internships; 
  • builds strong links with other universities on sustainability research, teaching and operations; and
  • creates a U of T presence and identity in sustainability that has significant positive implications for recruitment of students, faculty and staff, and for fund-raising

The operating principles of the CECCS are a regenerative sustainability approach that focuses on net positive outcomes in human and environmental wellbeing, and the integration of academic and operational sustainability activities at the University. 

In support of this agenda, three core areas of activity have been identified: Campus as Living Lab, University as Agent of Change in the Community, and Curriculum Innovation. This framework provides a basis for integrating operational and academic sustainability activities and for connecting disparate sustainability activities across our campuses in a fruitful way. The list below highlights the top priorities of each area of activity.

Campus as a Living Lab

  • 1000 students/year on CLL projects on campus
  • Global leadership in sustainability standards
  • Signature sustainability projects

Agent of Change in the Community 

  • 5000 students/year on AOC projects in the community
  • Develop sustainability-oriented Community Engaged Learning (CEL) principles
  • Sustainability a priority in CEL courses

Curriculum Innovation

  • Sustainability curriculum pathways for every undergraduate student
  • Sustainability community of practice for faculty

University of Toronto

  • Sustainability a key component of U of T identity
  • International leadership in operational and academic sustainability