Sustainability at the University of Manitoba
University of Manitoba Mission: To create, preserve and communicate knowledge, and thereby, contribute to the cultural, social and economic well-being of the people of Manitoba, Canada and the world

The University of Manitoba’s mission reflects an abiding commitment to sustainability. It speaks to balance between social, cultural, and economic development (all of which is predicated on a sustainable natural environment – reflected in the University’s values) and to balancing the local, regional and global perspectives.
The very business of the University – creating, preserving and communicating knowledge for well-being – is integral to sustainable development. We build capacity so that students and their communities (and our larger community of Earth) can have big futures. Our work contributes to human development, and our values guide us to pursue this work in a way that manages the impacts we have on our planet.

University of Manitoba Values: Excellence, Equity and Diversity, Accountability, Innovation, Integrity, Humanity, Responsibility to Society, Environmental Sustainability, Selectivity, Academic Freedom.

With a proud history of more than 130 years, the University is acutely aware of the benefits of planning for the long run. In preparing for achievement and excellence in the next 130 years, the University’s sustainability policy guides our efforts.

Our Vision for Sustainability

The University of Manitoba simultaneously pursues ecological, social and economic sustainability. Our approach supports regeneration, participation and resource efficiency. We grow opportunities: our present actions ensure future generations can achieve levels of well-being that are at least as great as those achieved now.

Planning for sustainability at the University of Manitoba is integrated at all levels. The University’s mission statement and values reflect sustainable thinking, and our operations – from cleaning, to energy management, to purchasing – strive to promote well-being while reducing environmental impact.

Sustainability Planning

Planning for sustainability at the University of Manitoba is integrated at all levels. The University’s mission statement and values reflect sustainable thinking, and our operations – from cleaning, to energy management, to purchasing – strive to promote well-being while reducing environmental impact.

A number of documents and strategic areas of focus guide the sustainability focus of the University. Many of these plans and initiatives were only possible because of the input, engagement and support of a broad spectrum of University community members. These include:

  1. The University of Manitoba Sustainability Policy, which requires integrated planning and decision making, community participation, and formalizes the University’s aspiration to be a sustainability leader
  2. The University of Manitoba Purchasing Policy, which integrates considerations of environmental sustainability into procurement decisions 
  3. The Sustainability Strategy 2016 - 2018 document, a detailed compilation of ideas for paths towards enhanced sustainability created under the leadership of the Office of  Sustainability and drawing on input from the Sustainability Committee, students, faculty and administrators.
  4. The University and College Presidents’ Climate Change Statement of Action for Canada, signed by President David T. Barnard in 2008
  5. The Talloires Declaration, of which the University is a signatory, which aims to harness the educational focus of universities to support sustainable development 
  6. Planning and development work underway through the Campus Planning Office, including the Visionary (re)Generation Open International Design Competition and Campus Master Planning exercises 
  7. The Office of Sustainability, established in 2013 and charged with fostering further integration, supporting engagement and culture change, and tracking and reporting on progress.

A broad range of collaborations with student groups, faculties, other post-secondary institutions, governments and community partners, as well as advice provided to the University through the Sustainability Committee provide additional input as the University continuously improves its sustainability performance.

The establishment of an Office of Sustainability with a mandate to support sustainability across the entire institution creates an opportunity to take stock of the University’s current situation, confirm the vision for sustainability, and then move forward with continued action. Tracking and reporting on progress will be an essential component of this next phase in the evolution of sustainability planning at the University of Manitoba.

Selected Accomplishments

*** The 2014/15 Sustainability Report is now available. It summarizes all accomplishments for the 2014/15 academic year.

  • Compared to 1990, the University has reduced electricity use by 35% per square foot, reduced natural gas use by 39% per square foot, and reduced overall water consumption by 57%.
  • The University has a comprehensive waste reduction program, including a furniture and office supply re-use shop that has handled more than 10,000 items from chairs and desks to office partitions to hole punches.
  • The University is located on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe and the Metis and welcomes over 2,000 Indigenous students each year. First Nations, Metis and Inuit students thrive at the University of Manitoba where we have a strong community, outstanding programming, and a stunning facility – Migizii Agamik (Bald Eagle Lodge) – that is the heart of our Indigenous community.
  • The University's turf management program has led to drastic reductions in requirements for pesticides on the Fort Garry Campus, with a current-year target of zero use.
  • University of Manitoba Food Services outlets offer 100% Fairtrade certified coffee and tea, with Fairtrade chocolate options on offer. Many local food choices are available, as are vegetarian and vegan options.
  • The University’s two main campuses are multimodal transportation destinations: about 30% of staff and students arrive by transit each day and the University is well-connected by pedestrian and cycling networks.
  • A Sustainability Committee with student, faculty and administrative representation provides strategic advice to senior management on sustainability issues affecting the University.

 Sustainability Reports