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President’s Sustainability Council - 2010 Executive Summary

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PRESIDENT’S SUSTAINABILITY COUNCIL 2010 ANNUAL REPORT Executive Summary The purpose of this report is twofold: to refl ect on the progression of sustainability policies, programs and practices at York University in 2010, and to identify forward-thinking strategies for advancing sustainability at York. Building on the conceptual foundation and recommendations of the 2008-09 President’s Sustainability Council Report, the Council fi nds considerable progress in York’s standing in relation to the three pillars of sustainability. York continues to lead the way in innovative yet contextually-specifi c approaches to building an ecologically resilient, economically robust and socially just institution. There has been progress in almost all of the recommendations proposed in 2009, and in some cases progress has exceeded expectations. At the same time, the Council fi nds that there is opportunity to continue enhancing a pan-University strategy with new recommendations that expand and deepen York’s commitment to sustainability. This report refl ects not only the dedicated effort of Council members, but also ideas, suggestions and desires of the wider York community, articulated through a multi-facetted engagement strategy with students, staff and faculty members. Through a combination of participatory sessions, written and online submissions, focused discussions with specifi c groups, and the work of the Student Sub-Committee, the Council has learned a great deal about shared sustainability goals and preferred ways of fulfi lling goals. The ideas and preferences shared with the Council are diverse, innovative and complex, and it remains clear that there is very strong interest in sustainability as a guiding principle at York. The Council has integrated many of the messages garnered through engagement activities into this report. This report builds on a foundation for sustainability established in the Council’s 2009 report (available at In particular, the vision and fi ve guiding principles of sustainability presented in that report serve as a basis for moving forward. The vision for sustainability at York is: 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. The fi ve guiding principles, which help defi ne the qualities and aims of a York-specifi c approach to sustainability, are clearly described in the 2009 report. They are: a long-term perspective; an holistic outlook; acceptance of limits; focus on place; and active involvement in problem-solving. The Council’s approach to sustainability embraces this vision and fi ve principles, which inspire the following twenty recommendations proposed in the 2010 report: 1. Implement a pilot project for student engagement in sustainability in the summer of 2011. 2. Compile a list of University policies and procedures that are related to sustainability. The list will be reviewed to see if there are any opportunities for modifi cation, and the list of relevant policies and procedures will be posted on the Sustainability Website. Executive Summary 1

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