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 A timeline of Sustainability at UWinnipeg 

2003 – 2006:   

In 2003, students from the group EcoMAFIA (now EcoPIA) and from an environmental sustainability class formed the student group SUNSET supported by members of Faculty. In 2004 the group presented to UWinnipeg’s Administration a comprehensive proposal for a campus sustainability audit.  

After ongoing advocacy by students and faculty, President Lloyd Axworthy committed the university to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 emissions to reflect Canada’s commitments under the Kyoto protocol and committed the university to establishing a formal Sustainability Management System (SMS). A task force of students, faculty and staff was established to begin work on meeting these commitments.  

In 2006, UWinnipeg passed its first Campus Sustainability Policy and published its first annual sustainability performance report. (Available here 

Read this article to Learn more about the development of sustainability governance at UWinnipeg with   


UWinnipeg Launches a pre-Consumer composting program. 


UWinnipeg launches Manitoba's first institutional post-consumer compost collection program, with new multi-stream waste bins put into service across campus.  


Uwinnipeg mandates double-sided printing as default on all copiers and printers on campus.  

Diversity Food Services open, a joint venture of the University of Winnipeg's Community Renewal Corporation (UWCRC) & SEED Winnipeg, opens as the University’s new campus-wide food provider. Diversity’s commitment to local, sustainable food, and its social enterprise model which offers meaningful employment and ownership opportunities for the community, makes it unique among other North American campus food services.  

UWinnipeg became the first university in Canada to ban the sale of bottled water, an initiative led by students that spread quickly across the country.  


UWinnipeg signed on to the Lake Friendly initiative of the Lake Winnipeg Foundation, and introduced phosphate-free detergents and environmentally friendly cleaning products on campus.  


The University completes a water system retrofit, reducing washroom water consumption of university washrooms to reduce water consumption – saving an estimated saving more than one million gallons of water a year.  

The University of Winnipeg opens the Richardson College for the Environment and Science, the new home of Biology, Chemistry and the Institute of Urban Studies, among other departments. The building received a LEED Gold designation for energy efficient and environmentally responsible design.  

The UWSA BikeLab opened through a partnership with the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA) and The University of Winnipeg. The BikeLab is a space for bicycle repairs, education, and advocacy open to people on campus and the broader community. 

Facilities Management completes the installation of a hybrid heating system. When electricity demand is low, the system enables the University to use lower-emitting hydroelectricity as a heat source, rather than higher-emitting natural gas.  


Substantial greenhouse gas emission reductions due to the combined impact of its hybrid heating system and energy retrofit: a 16% reduction in GHG emissions and an 18.6% reduction in natural gas consumption over the fiscal year.  

The University switched to 100% recycled content for letterhead paper and business cards, while also exceeding its goal to transition all office paper to 50% post-consumer content. Office paper is now FSC certified, 100% post-consumer fiber, EcoLogo certified, processed chlorine free, and manufactured using biogas energy. Alongside reductions in chemical use and waste, this represents a saving of approximately 1389 trees per year.  

The University jointly awards Len Cann (Director, Physical Plant) and Kyle Macdonald (Controls Technician) the Campus Sustainability Recognition Award for working collaboratively to design and organize a campus-wide energy retrofit plan.  

The University adopts the 2012 Sustainability Strategy for the next five years, available here 


UWinnipeg eliminated the use of cosmetic pesticides and herbicides in campus landscaping practices.  

UWinnipeg was awarded a Manitoba Excellence in Sustainable Development award in recognition of its climate change action.  

UWinnipeg and the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association accepted the 2013 Polar Bears International’s Paws of Approval Award that celebrates organizations, groups, and individuals who are making a serious contribution to reducing greenhouse gases.  

The University completes a $2 million energy retrofit of the Main Campus complex, reducing emissions from these buildings and to offset the ongoing GHG impact of an expanded campus.  


The University achieves Climate Registered™ status by measuring its carbon footprint according to The Climate Registry’s best-in-class program, having it third party verified, and reporting the data on the registry’s website.  


New Strategic Directions and Integrated Academic and Research Plan re-affirmed UWinnipeg’s commitment to sustainability.  

Through ongoing efforts, greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 decreased by approximately 24% over 2014.  Thus between 1990 and 2015, the University reduced absolute emissions to 32% below what they were in 1990 even though 38% of the space we now occupy did not exist then.  

The University substantially exceeded its target of reducing absolute emissions by 10% below 1990 levels. Energy intensity of campus operations decreased by just over 14% over the previous year, and by 27% compared to 2009.  

The University surpassed its energy efficiency target of achieving an 18% reduction in energy use per square meter of owned space compared to 2009 energy intensity by FY2016.  

Launch of the Prairie Climate Centre, providing up-to-date and high-quality decision-making data and tools related to climate mitigation and adaptation. Great-West Life and the Province of Manitoba invested $650K in the Centre, a joint venture between the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and UWinnipeg.  

The University earned a STARS Silver Rating in the most widely recognized framework for publicly reporting information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance.   


The Axworthy Health & RecPlex opens and receives a LEED Gold designation for building efficiency and design.  

The Campus Sustainability Office conducted a campus-wide research and consultation process to assess progress on sustainability and identify strategic opportunities for continuing work in this area. 


The University compiled and adopted a new Institutional Sustainability Strategy that includes 19 specific, measurable targets organized under 4 overarching goals for the next five years. An updated version of the Campus Sustainability Policy was also released.  

Facilities Management receives a clear mandate to continue reducing emissions and to follow LEED Operations and Maintenance practices for day-to-day management of buildings.  The strategy also commits the University to new social sustainability targets tied to purchasing, indigenization and student leadership development. 

The University and Diversity Food Services are ranked first in North America by the Sierra Club on their Cool Schools list in the sustainable campus food category.  


UWinnipeg Facilities team through a partnership with Manitoba Hydro, installed a Biomass heating system to help us achieve half of our goal to have 5% of energy on campus be sourced from unconventional renewables by 2025.  

Uwinnipeg’s Outgoing Senior Advisor for Research and Sustainability, Alana Lajoie-O’Malley receives a Green Building Champion award from the Manitoba Chapter of the Canadian Green Building Council for her commitment to reducing the environmental footprint of UWinnipeg’s expanding campus.  


UWinnipeg installs 540 solar panels on the Axworthy Health & Recplex rooftop. This installation will produce half of our goal to have 5% of energy on campus be derived from unconventional renewables by 2025. This project, combined with the Biomass heating system allows us to meet our target.  

UWinnipeg Submitted its second STARS application and received a Silver rating, scoring 59.78 points.  

UWinnipeg formed partnerships with two social enterprises as part of our ongoing waste management system. We are now using Compost Winnipeg as our organics waste hauler and Mother Earth Recycling as our e-waste collector. Both local initiatives use a social enterprise model that aims to employ people facing barriers while improving the health of our community. These partnerships are significant because they improve our social and environmental impact through the goods and services we purchase 


The COVID-19 Pandemic shutdowns gave the University’s Facilities team an opportunity to make several upgrades to our building management systems along with much-needed infrastructure updates. They leveraged smart building technology to save energy, reduce emissions, and accurately control airflow and indoor environment controls essential for health and safety during the pandemic. Facilities also developed a new airflow management strategy allowing for a safe return to campus in FY2021 by ensuring enhanced ventilation and early problem detection.  


The Campus Sustainability Office begins reporting on sustainability course education at UWinnipeg. Specifically, the Annual Sustainability Report now includes the number of students enrolled in identified sustainability-related courses, and the portion of graduating students have taken one or multiple sustainability-related courses. 


The Campus Sustainability Office and the Research office develop a system for tracking sustainability-related research initiatives and outputs at UWinnipeg. 


Facilities Management completes an upgrade of UWinnipeg’s waste collection system by introducing new multi-stream collection bins across campus which feature clear information and a more user-friendly design than the first generation of bins.