College Services - Summer 2017 - 19

FEATURE

Innovating Sustainable Initiatives

Achieving institutional excellence through
collaborative sustainability efforts
BY ALEXANDRE PAPPAS AND ASHLEIGH ERWIN

S

ince its founding in 1965, Simon Fraser
University (SFU) has made a name for itself
as Canada's leading comprehensive university
and earned the reputation as an institution that
consistently promotes innovation and change.
That's why SFU fosters supportive learning and
campus environments while pursuing ecological,
social and economic sustainability. In fact, over the
last ten years, SFU has made significant progress
in ensuring that sustainability is a key factor at the
institution's guiding policy level.
With this in mind, it will come as no surprise
that SFU also pursues operational sustainability
through a variety of initiatives, including energy,
waste, community engagement, procurement
and food, to name a few. It has also implemented
policies for the ethical procurement of fair trade
products and recently renewed its status as a
Fair Trade Campus for the fourth consecutive
year through the Canadian Fair Trade Network.
We're proud that SFU's Burnaby campus is home
to Canada's first Starbucks to offer Fair Trade drip
and espresso coffees.
One program, in particular, has garnered quite
a bit of attention, both locally and internationally: SFU's Zero Waste Initiative. In 2014, SFU
launched the Initiative to divert 70 percent of
campus waste from landfills, while also doubling
the amount of waste recycled or composted. To
our knowledge, it was the first fully standardized four-stream waste management system
implemented by a North American university
and proved to be a major success, achieving its
lofty goal within only 18 months.

Rachel Telling, Program Manager of SFU's
Sustainability Office chairs the university's Zero
Waste Committee to develop and improve operational systems. Telling was responsible for the
Initiative's implementation across the University.
"This goes beyond just sorting waste on campus," she explains. "Our goal is to minimize the
University's impact on environmental, social and
economic pillars of sustainability, while developing innovative sustainable solutions to the global
issues surrounding consumption and resource
management."
As a result of the Initiative's implementation,
the four-stream zero waste management system
was streamlined and standardized across the
entire university (including composting) at all
three of its campus locations, each of which lies
in a different municipality, and is a model that
other institutions and organizations can adopt.
Operational waste diversion increased from an
estimated 25 percent in 2012 to 51 percent in
20151, and over 70 percent when all waste (e.g.
construction and demolition waste) is included. 
The amount of waste recycled or composted
has more than doubled. 
Since the launch of the initiative in 2014, over
2,000 tonnes of operational waste have been
diverted from the landfill, saving approximately
$210,000 in landfill disposal fees (this figure does
not account for disposal fees/rebates for other
material streams) and avoiding large volumes of
carbon dioxide and methane emissions (landfills
are responsible for 38% of Canada's methane
emissions).  When additional waste streams of

construction and demolition are included, this
figure rises to 3,858 tons and $432,000 (CDN).2 In
addition, landfill waste has decreased by 10%,
despite a growing university population and
improvements in data collection that mean a
more accurate picture of waste streams leaving
campus.3
Since the Initiative's launch, 1,600 tons of operational waste have been diverted from the landfill,
saving approximately $180,000 (CDN) in landfill
disposal fees* and avoiding large volumes of carbon dioxide and methane emissions (landfills are
responsible for 38 percent of Canada's methane
emissions). When the additional waste streams
of construction and demolition are included this
figure rises to 3,858 tons and $432,000 (CDN). In
addition, landfill waste has decreased by over 10
percent, despite a growing university population.
"We collaborated with municipal organizations
and other local institutions," Telling illustrates, "as
well as SFU students to help create a standardized public waste management system - you'll
see similar systems all over the Lower Mainland
- and are putting processes in place to ensure the
initiative continues to develop and thrive." Telling
also recently collaborated with the procurement
department to develop a lifecycle assessment
tool for use in bids over $50,000.
Sustainability Office Director Candace Le Roy
explains, "What this tool does is help purchasers
ask constructive questions of vendors to ensure
big research or IT equipment, for example, is
selected with consideration of the long term economic, social and ecological benefits and costs to

E NRIC HING THE C AMPUS E XPE RIE NC E. | www.nac as .o r g

19


http://www.nacas.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of College Services - Summer 2017

Opening Remarks: Presidential Perspective
Future-proofing your organization’s leadership
Perspectives on strong campus housing partnerships from both sides of the table
Achieving institutional excellence through collaborative sustainability efforts
New partners for new ventures
Corporate Partnerships: Focus on university partnership
Partnerships and possibilities: Working together to bring a food truck to campus
What vendors wish we knew
Partnerships key to addressing food insecurity at WSU
Student Author Contest winners
Partnership at its core: Arizona State University's Sun Devil Fitness Complex and the Downtown YMCA
In Closing Executive Summary
Professional Development Calendar
Advertisers Index/Advertisers.com
College Services - Summer 2017 - intro
College Services - Summer 2017 - belly1
College Services - Summer 2017 - belly2
College Services - Summer 2017 - cover1
College Services - Summer 2017 - cover2
College Services - Summer 2017 - 3
College Services - Summer 2017 - 4
College Services - Summer 2017 - 5
College Services - Summer 2017 - Opening Remarks: Presidential Perspective
College Services - Summer 2017 - 7
College Services - Summer 2017 - 8
College Services - Summer 2017 - 9
College Services - Summer 2017 - Future-proofing your organization’s leadership
College Services - Summer 2017 - 11
College Services - Summer 2017 - Perspectives on strong campus housing partnerships from both sides of the table
College Services - Summer 2017 - 13
College Services - Summer 2017 - 14
College Services - Summer 2017 - 15
College Services - Summer 2017 - 16
College Services - Summer 2017 - 17
College Services - Summer 2017 - 18
College Services - Summer 2017 - Achieving institutional excellence through collaborative sustainability efforts
College Services - Summer 2017 - 20
College Services - Summer 2017 - 21
College Services - Summer 2017 - 22
College Services - Summer 2017 - New partners for new ventures
College Services - Summer 2017 - 24
College Services - Summer 2017 - 25
College Services - Summer 2017 - 26
College Services - Summer 2017 - 27
College Services - Summer 2017 - Corporate Partnerships: Focus on university partnership
College Services - Summer 2017 - 29
College Services - Summer 2017 - Partnerships and possibilities: Working together to bring a food truck to campus
College Services - Summer 2017 - 31
College Services - Summer 2017 - What vendors wish we knew
College Services - Summer 2017 - 33
College Services - Summer 2017 - 34
College Services - Summer 2017 - Partnerships key to addressing food insecurity at WSU
College Services - Summer 2017 - 36
College Services - Summer 2017 - 37
College Services - Summer 2017 - Student Author Contest winners
College Services - Summer 2017 - 39
College Services - Summer 2017 - 40
College Services - Summer 2017 - 41
College Services - Summer 2017 - 42
College Services - Summer 2017 - 43
College Services - Summer 2017 - 44
College Services - Summer 2017 - Partnership at its core: Arizona State University's Sun Devil Fitness Complex and the Downtown YMCA
College Services - Summer 2017 - 46
College Services - Summer 2017 - In Closing Executive Summary
College Services - Summer 2017 - 48
College Services - Summer 2017 - Professional Development Calendar
College Services - Summer 2017 - Advertisers Index/Advertisers.com
College Services - Summer 2017 - cover3
College Services - Summer 2017 - cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JILQ/JILQ0218
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JILQ/JILQ0118
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JILQ/JILQ0417
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JILQ/JILQ0317
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JILQ/JILQ0217
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JILQ/JILQ0117
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JILQ/JILQ0115
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com