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Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 2030 actions

These goals and actions provide a roadmap for how the university will achieve our targets set out in the Climate and Sustainability Action Plan (CSAP) 2030.


From our campus on lək̓ʷəŋən territory, people at the University of Victoria work together on ambitious academic, social, cultural, economic, political, scientific and technical innovations and community solutions to solve social and environmental challenges, integrate climate solutions, justice, and sustainability actions across all lands, waters and relationships.

Implementation & reporting

Implementation of the CSAP will take place during the years leading up to 2030, with short, medium and long-term actions identified and resourced annually. An implementation committee will be responsible for the evolution of the identified actions and determining immediate next steps. 

This will include the development of a Collaboration and Resourcing Strategy to ensure appropriate internal and external partnerships, and adequate resources are made available to advance the Plan.

Integrated initiatives

The Seedling project

Conceived of and led by Carey Newman, Impact Chair in Indigenous Art Practices at UVic, the artistic concept for this initiative is straightforward: plant a western red cedar tree, design a virtual 3D totem, and commit to carving and raising the totem when the tree is mature, 600-1,000 years in the future.

Rooted to Indigenous Knowledges and governance, this project involves much more than providing soil, water, and sunlight to nurture a tree. Implementing this multi-generational promise enables us to consider climate change, deforestation, and social challenges now and well into the future. It brings together research initiatives across campus to seek innovative solutions by expanding our relationships with and thinking around land, law, governance, art, time, technology and much more.

The initiatives below include actions that will not only protect the Seedling, but transform our relationships with the land, air and waters that surround it.

Plant a western red cedar seedling.

  1. Legally protect, in perpetuity, land for the Seedling to grow upon.
  2. Take steps to give the Seedling representation across our institutional governance. 
  3. Take steps to ensure that the Seedling is surrounded by the ecosystem, biodiversity and climate that it needs to grow.

Design a virtual 3D totem.

  1. Develop technologically sustainable solutions to digitally preserve the design for 600-1,000 years.

Commit to Making and raising the Totem when the tree is mature.

  1. Extend the time horizons that guide our decisions and planning from years or decades to multiple generations.

  2. Develop an agreement that will hold UVic to a promise that will be carried out over centuries.

  3.  Identify and implement a process to pass forward through generations, the cultural knowledge and technical skills to carve the totem in the future.

Campus as a living lab (CLL)

CLL will be a university-wide program that coordinates academic research and teaching projects to use the campus and surrounding areas as places for students, staff and faculty to engage with, trial and advance real-world climate and sustainability solutions. CLL programs will be designed to encourage innovation, learning and exchange, and to fulfill the aims of UVic’s strategic plans and policies. This program will respect, uphold and uplift Indigenous Knowledge systems and further support Indigenous-led initiatives, such as the Living Lab Project and Campus as Living Lands.

These initiatives will drive the development of UVic’s CLL program.

Investigate, design and develop formal structures to create Campus as a Living Lab.


  • create a program to coordinate living laboratory projects with internal and external community partners

Integrate academic research and teaching with campus planning, operations and services to respond to climate and sustainability challenges.


  • create, enhance and support multidisciplinary classes to address topics such as climate adaptation, transportation, energy systems, food, land management, etc. in collaboration with university operations and campus services, and integrate these classes into different programs
  • champion actions that contribute to the health of UVic’s surrounding areas

Create opportunities for developing climate solutions on campus so that it becomes an exemplar of climate action and sustainability innovation.


  • engage and use our campus to pilot highly visible and innovative demonstration projects or create exhibits to educate and inspire the campus and broader community and test new ideas
  • partner with campus operations to embed research and assessment within new capital projects, procurement and campus sustainability
  • actively pursue industry collaboration on climate and sustainability research

Create opportunities for students and faculty to work with solutions seekers from local First Nations, communities, government and industry for collaborative decision making on equitable climate solutions, mitigation and adaptation projects.


  • provide students with practical experience, career training and skills through course-based projects, and support for work-integrated learning opportunities with community partners
  • identify and address sustainability and climate collaboration opportunities with local governments and organizations where Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) exist and develop new partnerships where agreements do not yet exist
  • use university spaces to host community events, public lectures, adult/youth/children education and workshops that introduce new ideas, research projects and actions for sustainable futures within and beyond the university community

Climate and sustainability hub

The climate and sustainability hub is an entity to coordinate, enhance, and promote climate and sustainability solutions across education, research, operations and UVic’s internal and external communities. This hub will uphold and uplift Indigenous knowledge as well as Indigenous groups and individuals on campus and in surrounding communities.

These initiatives will build the hub.

UVic will explore, design and develop structures to create a Climate and Sustainability Hub.


  • determine through what structure, processes and governance a hub can act as a climate and sustainability central support and coordinating body for the university and community
  • develop new internal partnerships with researchers, research institutes and ancillary services to deliver climate and sustainability engagement programs, research projects and strategic initiatives
  • coordinate and leverage current teaching offerings of climate and sustainability across faculties to facilitate the creation of multidisciplinary programs and new educational opportunities for diverse groups of students
  • develop institutional infrastructure and appropriate human resources to support the development, testing, tracking and advancement of climate and sustainability solutions across portfolios (research, teaching, learning, operations, Indigenous, community relations)
  • provide opportunities for students, faculty, staff and community members to learn, share knowledge and collaborate on climate action and sustainability initiatives through coordinated programs of engagement, events, training, education and celebration

Coordinate and enhance university communications to amplify climate and sustainability teaching, research and operational practices at UVic.


  • develop communication strategies to report on news and activities related to climate and sustainability research, teaching and operations, including the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • engage with key stakeholders, community members, policy makers and media, and present opportunities to partner or donate toward driving climate and sustainability solutions
  • communicate the positive physical and mental health aspects and intergenerational equity benefits of transitioning to a low-carbon and sustainable campus and community

Embed community into climate and sustainability policy and programming across the university and act as a nexus of resources and matchmaking to internal and external communities.


  • develop a robust partnership strategy for collaboration on climate and sustainability solutions
  • integrate the principles, values and approach of community-university engagement into climate and sustainability policy and programming to leverage and support community partnerships, community-engaged learning, research impact and place-based challenges
  • advocate for all levels of government to invest in climate and sustainability actions, especially in areas that align with UVic’s strategy
  • provide a platform to engage with local First Nations and community groups and to provide expertise to anticipate and respond to government policy needs and development
  • explore opportunities to invest in and facilitate existing and new climate and sustainability projects with internal and external community partners, such as through a new annual Community Initiatives Fund
  • recognize and reward existing university partners in the community who are leading climate and sustainability action

Goals & strategies

To achieve the goals set out in CSAP, we have developed strategies that provide clear, actionable next steps for the university.

Our goals and strategies were developed based on four thematic areas. The goals articulate what the university wants to achieve in each area, while the strategies articulate how we will achieve our goals.

x̣éʔx̣ə tə́ŋəxʷ ꟾ XAXE TEṈEW Sacred Earth

These goals were developed by the x̣éʔx̣ə tə́ŋəxʷ|XAXE TEṈEW Sacred Earth task force, which was an Indigenous-led task force, and are expressed here in their voice.

When considering the scope of our future work together, we ask how our actions will benefit the lands, waters and communities of this area. The lək̓ʷəŋən words x̣éʔx̣ə tə́ŋəxʷ and the SENĆOŦEN words XAXE TEṈEW mean sacred earth, and contain important relational responsibilities contained in the goals, strategies and actions below.

Goal 1:

Honour and respect the lands, water, air and all living things including the spiritual and interconnected elements of the earth with acknowledgement for the important relationship with local First Nations and Knowledge Systems.

Build respectful and meaningful relationships with local First Nations supporting self-determination, to understand and uplift their climate and sustainability goals.


  • acknowledge the leadership and knowledge of local First Nations as stewards of the traditional territories for past, present and future generations
  • create new University-Indigenous partnership agreements to engage with Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations and develop opportunities for collaboration and improve access to the university’s research, academic programs and expertise
  • prioritize local Indigenous Knowledge Systems by developing new, collaborative community-led sustainability projects and guiding the university community towards learning and understanding Indigenous ways of knowing and being
  • uplift Indigenous strengths and stories to external media and communities to increase education and awareness, and illustrate partnerships and involvement that drive positive change

Identify plans and strategies to transform the relationships with campus lands and waters guided by Indigenous knowledge systems.


  • develop a campus natural areas management plan with input and guidance from local Knowledge Holders and local First Nations
  • continue to engage in environmental restoration projects to remediate damage to natural habitats and species on campus with guidance from Indigenous Knowledge Holders and local First Nations
  • foster awareness of Indigenous languages and connections to campus lands and waters with lək̓ʷəŋən place names and new interpretive signage

Engage with Indigenous knowledge holders to identify, learn about, celebrate and promote valued natural areas on campus.


  • implement the Seedling Project
  • develop new opportunities for land-based learning and sustainable land and water management on campus, such as qʷɫaʔəl | ḰȽO¸EL (Kwetlal |camas) harvesting, pit cooks, native plant gardens and local food systems

Goal 2:

Uplift and amplify Indigenous voices within climate and sustainability conversations and actions both intergenerationally and in ways that reflect the diversity of Indigenous communities.

Provide appropriate cultural safety training and learning opportunities to decolonize and create an inclusive campus.


  • develop new accessible knowledge-sharing events and resources that offer students, faculty, staff and community, including Indigenous peoples, opportunities to engage and innovate together
  • promote and practice cultural humility across the university community, and in our governance structures

With local Nations, recognize, cultivate and honour Indigenous leadership on climate and sustainability action.


  • create an on-campus support network of Indigenous climate and sustainability action and dialogue that recognizes emerging Indigenous leadership in this field
  • provide more opportunities to engage with Elders and Knowledge Holders to share their expertise in implementing climate and sustainability actions
  • explore the development of formal awards, scholarships, published storytelling and other artistic expressions to recognize the work of Indigenous climate and sustainability leadership

Goal 3:

Centre and uplift Indigenous Knowledge Systems in relation to climate change and sustainability.

Identify opportunities to support the development of climate and sustainability-related Indigenous Knowledge Systems through research and teaching initiatives including understanding climate risks, baseline data and planning activities.


  • explore opportunities to include Indigenous Knowledge Systems in academic courses and programs
  • facilitate new community-engaged research partnerships relating to land-based learning, Indigenous food sovereignty and the regeneration of local food systems
  • engage Indigenous nations and communities locally, provincially and internationally through sharing resources, knowledge and data that build strength and resilience

Innovator & partner

UVic supports diverse research related to climate and sustainability. This includes seeding new and expanded climate and sustainability research and innovation, advancing research partnerships with industry, business and community, and supporting knowledge mobilization to advance climate action and sustainability here and abroad.

Goal 4:

UVic is recognized as an international leader in climate and sustainability research.

Amplify the excellence of the university’s researchers and research entities through strategic resource supports in internal services and external communications.


  • incentivize climate and sustainability collaborative research and campus networks through targeted internal supports
  • provide matching funds to leverage external funding opportunities in climate and sustainability research
  • act on opportunities that advance climate and sustainability research and creative works, and lead regional, national and international initiatives by leveraging existing and establishing new partnerships through co-designed projects
  • showcase climate and sustainability research excellence through creative means, awards and events

Advance UVic as a destination for remarkable talent while strengthening existing and developing new partnerships that build greater capacity in our internal and external communities.


  • bolster UVic’s capacity to host climate-friendly, internationally recognized climate and sustainability focused scholarly events
  • through funding opportunities, proactively seek outstanding early career researchers and postdoctoral fellows focusing on climate and sustainability issues
  • create inspirational spaces and facilities for cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral collaboration, research and internal networks, including events and creatively designed indoor and outdoor spaces

Goal 5:

We lead transformative impact and innovative research on climate and sustainability solutions.

Take bold, informed and strategic risks to lead climate and sustainability research and solutions for societal transformation.


  • promote the Aspiration 2030 Audacity grants program to support bold new ideas in climate and sustainability research initiatives
  • invite external partners to co-design creative climate solutions and sustainability practices, including local, provincial and federal governments
  • bolster climate and sustainability within the university’s newly established Innovation Network

Create opportunities for UVic students, faculty and staff to work with solution seekers from communities, government and industry for evidence-based decision making on equitable climate solutions, mitigation and adaptation.


  • provide opportunities for cross-campus networking through events
  • as a research partner, collaborate with and support community and municipal plans, regional strengths, strategies and goals on climate and sustainability for innovative climate solutions beyond campus borders

Goal 6:

We advance and model sustainable research practices.

Ensure climate and sustainability research and best practices are shared with and informed by external partners.


  • leverage additional research and industry funds and provide community/industry and student learning opportunities
  • collaborate with other regional institutions of higher education to share research resources and best practices

Increase networking and research opportunities that are connected across departments and built into university processes and practices.


  • revisit travel policies and internal travel grants to align with emissions reduction targets
  • create a university-wide policy encouraging academic employees to publish scholarly works as open access, or archive final post-peer reviewed scholarly works in an open-access repository with UVic Libraries
  • build a campus toolkit of simple changes to support low-carbon research practices

Educator & learner

UVic’s climate and sustainability strategy advances our approaches to community-engaged learning and course content with increased relationships amongst equity, reconciliation, sustainability and climate action. Partnerships with on-campus leaders will support inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary curriculum development.

Goal 7:

UVic offers education on climate and sustainability that is available to all.

Provide a new lens to existing, and develop new, academic programs and learning outcomes to include climate and sustainability content that actively engages with the challenges posed by colonization and inequities.


  • provide all undergraduate and graduate students with access to climate and sustainability-related curricula and programming
  • create a Sustainability Literacy Assessment to evaluate the success of the university's sustainability education initiatives and gain insight into how these can be improved
  • engage with expertise within academic units and programs, relevant research institutes on campus and affiliated organizations to develop climate and sustainability content
  • through the development of a community of practice, offer support and mentorship to instructors seeking to integrate climate change and sustainability into their teaching

Develop diverse, innovative, cross- and inter-disciplinary graduate programs and experiences focused on climate and sustainability challenges.


  • create a climate and sustainability academic working group to review current content, identify existing barriers to cross-disciplinary teaching collaborations at the graduate level, generate interest and potential for new collaborations
  • expand non-credit options on climate change and sustainability in existing and new areas

Goal 8:

Students, faculty and staff are engaged and empowered to be climate and sustainability change agents and leaders.

Expand the range of climate and sustainability initiatives and opportunities for greater student engagement outside the classroom on and off campus, while recognizing the needs of a diverse student population.


  • engage students with opportunities to participate in implementing the strategy and actions
  • explore the development of new programs to support university partnerships with public institutions and governments
  • work with Co-op and Career Services to create additional opportunities with organizations that are working on climate and sustainability initiatives
  • expand local field school experiences to work increasingly with communities on practical solutions
  • develop land-based education opportunities with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers
  • explore the development of new scholarships and grant funding opportunities to support student-led climate and sustainability initiatives

Explore technologies and create resources for students, faculty and staff to enhance how teaching and learning contribute to the university’s goal of achieving a climate positive campus by 2050.


  • invest in infrastructure to support remote learning and teaching
  • assess and reduce carbon footprint of field trips and practica/internships, where possible

Climate solutions & sustainability leader

UVic supports climate mitigation, adaptation and sustainability practices across campus operations and planning. This includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with campus buildings, energy, food and dining, grounds, purchasing, transportation, waste, water, investments and internal communications and engagement.

Goal 9:

UVic prioritizes sustainability and low-carbon resilience in service delivery on campus.

Foster a campus culture that integrates climate and sustainability into operational, administrative, and financial planning processes.


  • develop new policies and tools, such as shadow carbon pricing, to assist in financial decision making and new funding to meet both interim and long-term climate targets
  • incorporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into investment decisions in order to manage risk, seek opportunity and generate sustainable long-term returns
  • support the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) for investment disclosure of climate-related risks and opportunities, including the measurement of carbon intensity of investments to support decarbonization
  • make impact investments that reduce GHG emissions and align with the university’s emissions reduction targets
  • ensure that actions within the plan are linked with measurement, reporting and transparency and that progress is shared broadly with the community
  • provide opportunities for employees to be literate in the causes and impacts of climate change and competent in their individual contributions to climate and sustainability action in their roles

Employ innovative local purchasing initiatives and sustainable operational practices that provide climate-friendly, high quality, ethically sourced, nutritious and diverse food options that sustain the health and well-being of the campus community.


  • by 2030, decrease food-related GHG emissions by 50% from the 2019 baseline
  • make plant-based foods the default on 60% of campus menus
  • review purchasing practices and menus in campus food outlets to decrease the purchase of meat and dairy products and increase purchase and provision of plant-based foods
  • increase local suppliers to 30% of supply chain by developing new and existing partnerships including Feed BC and Indigenous-led organizations
  • develop new community campaigns and online content to educate the campus community on healthy and climate-friendly diet
  • develop a climate and Fair Trade food labelling program and ensure University Food Services (UNFS) franchise agreements incorporate fair trade practices and products
  • develop a collaborative education and awareness campaign that focuses on waste reduction in UNFS operations

Employ purchasing and supply management services that apply sustainability principles resulting in the lowest negative environmental impact and the highest positive social outcomes.


  • engage faculty, staff, suppliers and service providers to understand and consider the social and environmental impact of procurement decisions
  • establish metrics to assess and monitor the performance of major suppliers and service providers on four sustainability dimensions: environment, ethics, labour and human rights, and sustainable procurement
  • develop training programs in Purchasing Services to promote and support sustainable procurement practices in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • establish a working group to promote collaborative scholarship, progressive operations management, and experiential learning on sustainable procurement practices within the university
  • develop sustainable procurement capacity and integration in collaboration with all units, promoting experiential learning on sustainable supply networks
  • establish purchasing guidelines for the procurement of low-emissions fleet vehicles and ground maintenance equipment

Goal 10:

Sustainability and low carbon resilience are key considerations in asset acquisition and management decisions at UVic.

Construct, renovate, maintain and operate campus buildings and infrastructure in a manner that promotes whole systems thinking and innovation.


  • transition all facilities on the Gordon Head campus from fossil-fuel systems to low-carbon energy systems to achieve net zero by 2040
  • establish partnerships and strategies that will financially enable investment in low-carbon energy systems by finding common goals with other university initiatives, faculties, institutions, governments and energy providers
  • achieve the standard of LEED V4 Gold certification or equivalent certification for all new buildings and major additions to existing buildings
  • accelerate efficiency and conservation measures to reduce energy consumption.
  • update the Buildings and Grounds Usage Policy (BP3105) to standardize building temperature during daily occupied and unoccupied periods
  • create a formal certified Green Cleaning Policy that covers multi-attributes (cleaning, energy and water conservation operations and maintenance practices) and follow the Green Building Council rating system
  • develop a strategy to consolidate servers on campus and virtualized into the Enterprise Data Center to improve computing energy efficiency
  • develop green building design guidelines, including exploration of strategies for GHG and energy intensity targets based on building typology and new third-party standards such as CAGBC Zero Carbon Standard
  • improve the project delivery process to include the following climate action elements:

    • integrated design process to examine opportunities for reductions in operational emissions and embodied carbon;
    • assessment of a project’s potential impact on campus energy use and GHG emissions and development of energy conservation measures;
    • lifecycle analysis during schematic design process to understand the total cost of ownership, operational GHG emissions, and embodied carbon of various design options;
    • occupant thermal comfort analysis under predicted future climate conditions, using 2050 and 2080 as benchmarks
  • promote sustainable futures with increased efficiency in space utilization, striving for innovation and modern workplace environments, including open, collaborative work areas
  • identify energy optimization and GHG reduction strategies at the program stage for all new buildings, major additions, and renovations that include HVAC upgrades

Advance the university’s capacity to reduce and manage risks from climate change while improving the ability to anticipate, respond to and recover from extreme weather events and emergencies and contribute to the health and wellbeing of our local communities and environment. 


  • carry out a climate risk assessment for the campus to assist the prioritization of investment in adaptation measures
  • plan, design and develop campus buildings, utilities, and infrastructure that consider the impacts of climate change over the life of the asset in order to minimize disruptions to campus operations caused by extreme weather events

Support and promote sustainable transportation choices and infrastructure for the campus community and visitors, lower emissions, support healthy communities and act as a hub in a regional sustainable transportation network.


  • strategically implement push policies (disincentives) for single occupancy vehicle travel that balance with pull policies (incentives) for sustainable travel through the Travel Choices program
  • monitor parking pricing and review sales structure in order to provide commuters with greater flexibility in transportation choices
  • carry out biennial campus traffic survey to report on progress toward the 70% modal split target
  • develop a communications strategy for the university community to learn about and participate in active transportation research and supporting infrastructure programs
  • continue to support and advocate for improved transit service to UVic (including bus rapid transit)
  • provide additional charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EV) and explore parking incentives for commuters to use EVs
  • explore new policies and IT supports related to remote meetings and conferencing that reduce demand for travel

Reduce water use and increase recovery, reuse and stewardship practices.


  • improve data availability and accuracy for water use on campus through new building-level water monitoring systems
  • reduce the use of potable water in buildings and infrastructure
  • engage the campus community on best practices in water conservation and sustainability practices

Create and maintain a campus landscape and natural areas that support Indigenous Knowledges, values and management principles, nature-based learning opportunities, and enhance resiliency, biodiversity, and ecosystems.


  • reduce the quantity and monitor the quality of campus storm water that enters local drainage and stream networks
  • minimize the impacts of invasive species through ongoing management and removal, prioritizing natural areas identified in the Campus Plan and supporting volunteer-led initiatives
  • build greater understanding and inventory of threatened and endangered flora and fauna on campus
  • support improved public access, pedestrian management, restoration activities and nature-based learning opportunities in Mystic Vale

Provide services, infrastructure and engagement opportunities to advance the university toward a zero-waste campus.


  • through community engagement and waste-reduction initiatives within Food Services and Residence Services, reduce the total amount of waste produced per campus user (students, staff and faculty)
  • develop new and improved waste management policies, processes and infrastructure to support waste reduction targets
  • engage suppliers and Purchasing Services to explore alternatives to single use packaging and containers, phasing out the sale of plastic bottled water beverages and ensure all to-go utensils, dishes, and packaging are compostable
  • establish a surcharge for single-use food containers and beverage cups
  • develop a pilot project for reusable food containers in University Food Service outlets

Goal 11:

We have established baseline, tracking, reporting and reduction procedures for Scope 3 extended impact emissions.

Develop new policies, strategies and programs to support the IPCC-recommended 1.5◦C pathways for the reduction of Scope 3 emissions in employee air travel, commuting, waste, food systems and embodied carbon within new buildings and update CSAP accordingly.


CSAP brought together many groups across campus and the community to develop an integrated approach, in line with the university’s 2018-2023 Strategic Framework and with the development of the next university Strategic Plan.

The process began by convening the Integrated Steering Committee (ISC), comprised of a diverse set of faculty, staff and students representing research, academics, operations, administration, Indigenous leadership and the student body.

To effectively integrate Indigenous ways of knowing and being into this Strategy, CSAP was informed through outreach and engagement with internal and external communities, including engagement with Indigenous scholars, practitioners, students and communities.


Looking for more information about UVic's climate & sustainability action plan? Send us an email.