Our Actions and Goals

SDG 13: Climate Action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
13. Climate Action
Sustainable Development Goals by the numbers:
[Percentage wheel 30%]
30% of the university’s electricity was from low carbon sources for the 2022 academic year.

Our goals in action

Research and innovation

Future resiliency

The Climate Adaptive infraStructure Testing and Longevity Evaluation (CASTLE) Innovation Cluster is a research collaboration between Queen's and the Royal Military College of Canada. The team is working on improving the storage of mine waste, ensuring safety and improving resilience of transportation infrastructure, such as roads, railways, pipes, and coastal defense structures, as well as ports and harbours, against the direct and triggered geotechnical hazards of climate change.

[A UV light train emitting purple light in preparation of rehabilitating the adjacent corrugated steel pipe in the GeoEngineering Lab.]

Queen's Art of Research Submission: A New Light by Robert Cichocki, PhD Student (Civil Engineering), GeoEngineering Lab, Queen's University

Converting carbon dioxide

Queen's researcher Cao Thang Dinh has developed technology to capture and convert CO2 into valuable chemicals and fuels using renewable energy. As one of the world's main pollutants, the 40 million tons of CO2 emitted worldwide each year is one of the main contributors to climate change. This technology could revolutionize the sustainability of the production of chemicals, like polymers, and the storage of energy from green energy sources, such as wind and solar.

Teaching and student life

Teaching sustainability for the real world

Queen’s recognizes that learning has the power to impact the world around us. As a result, the university offers a range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs that incorporate interdisciplinary sustainability studies into the  curriculum from courses to experiential learning. 

[A student stands before a wildlife sanctuary enclosure]

Queen's Art of Research Submission: Returning the Gaze by Siobhan Speiran, PhD Student (School of Environmental Studies), Proyecto Asis, Costa Rica

For example, students in Honours Project in Environmental Sustainability (ENSC 430), offered through the School of Environmental Studies in partnership with the City of Kingston, engage with expert researchers and community leaders to develop proposals to address climate change. The Collaborative Masters Program in Applied Sustainability offered by the Smith Engineering is an innovative program exposing students to the implementation of sustainable engineering solutions with a multidisciplinary focus on both technical education and public policy impacts. 

A 'green talent' pipeline

The Queen's Venture Creation, Experiential Learning, and Net-Zero Training (QVENT) project is led by the Experiential Learning Team within Smith School of Business to provide hands-on educational opportunities to students who aspire to contribute to the country's sustainable transition. The four program streams offer course-embedded green industry projects, a new certificate in leading sustainable change towards a net-zero economy, opportunities to support net-zero venture creation, and internships in the net-zero space.

Community impact

Promoting preservation in our campus and community

Queen’s students, staff, and faculty participate in many events connecting with the Kingston community throughout the year on the importance of environmental sustainability, from student-led initiatives including the Queen’s Sustainability Conference and the Queen’s Conference on Ocean Sustainability, to sponsorship of the Kingston Climate Change Symposium.

Working in partnership

Queen’s has formed a Campus and Community Engagement Sustainability Sub-Working Group to champion sustainability focused innovation and create a unified sustainability culture. Members include local sustainability leaders, municipal representatives, and partner educational institutions, along with Queen’s students, staff, and faculty. Goals include leading the development of collaborative sustainable practices that enable the exploration of opportunities and implementation of actions to foster transformative social change with local impact.

[Queen's Art of Research photo: Research in the Rain by Emily Mendelson]

Queen's Art of Research Submission: Research in the Rain by Emily Mendelson, BSc Student (Biology), Queen's University Biological Station

Global reach

Global cooperation on climate change

Queen’s is a member of several global networks with common interests in advancing sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals. From regional organizations such as the Council of the Great Lakes Region, to the national Sustainable Development Solutions Network Canada, and the global University Climate Change Coalition and the Matariki Network of Universities, Queen’s collaborations will help further the impact of our research and innovation for sustainable development.

[An aerial photo capturing palsas or peat plateaus within bogs on Paul Island, Labrador.]

Queen's Art of Research Submission: Ponding Patchwork from Permafrost Thaw by Jordan Beer, MA Student (Geography and Planning), Paul Island, Labrador

Administration and operations

Fighting climate change through responsible investing

Queen’s pension plan, the University Pension Plan Ontario (UPP), announced a formal commitment and action plan to achieve net-zero portfolio emissions by 2040 or sooner, with an emphasis on decarbonizing the real economy through the UPP Climate  Action Plan.

In signing on to the Climate Charter for Canadian Universities, Queen’s also made a Responsible Investing Commitment that aligns with international standards including the UN-supported Principles of Responsible Investment. The university has also adopted recommendations by the Board of Trustees’ Climate Change Action Task Force which mandate responsible investing for Queen’s portfolios.

Queen's University

Queen’s aims to become carbon neutral by 2040.

Our pledge for carbon neutrality

[The exterior of McLaughlin Hall captured during springtime.]

Queen’s has signed the University and College Presidents’ Climate Change Statement of Action for Canada, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance research and curriculum in the areas of climate change and sustainability. As part of this commitment, we developed our Queen’s Climate Action Plan which aims to reduce GHG emissions by 70% from 2008 levels by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.