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:
32 percent
32% of the university’s electricity was from low carbon sources for the 2019 academic year.

Our goals in action

Research and innovation

Working with Inuit communities to develop sustainability and economic development

Queen’s researchers, working with local communities in Nunavut, developed and led "Towards a Sustainable Fishery for Nunavummiut," an ambitious project that helped sustain healthy fish stocks in Nunavut. The project integrated traditional and local knowledge with leading edge genomic science to strengthen local fisheries, increase employment and economic development and improve food security for Nunavummiut, the people of Nunavut.

Teaching and student life

Teaching sustainability for the real world

Queen’s recognizes that learning has the power to impact the world around us. The Honours Project in Environmental Sustainability (ENSC 430), offered through the School of Environmental Studies in partnership with The City of Kingston, challenges students to come up with innovative solutions to climate change in the local community. The course, led by faculty as well as community experts, encourages students to produce a “creative output” as part of their project, which also includes a public education/engagement element.

Community impact


Queen’s has reduced Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 35% from 2008 to 2020.

Promoting preservation in our campus and community

The Queen’s Water Environment Conference connects students and the Kingston community to passionate speakers and exciting networking opportunities within the water industry. It also provides delegates with a different perspective on solutions to environmental issues. The conference is only one of many regular events organized by the university to promote conservation and sustainability.

Declaring a state of climate emergency

When the City of Kingston Council met to consider declaring a climate emergency, Queen’s students and Environmental Studies Professor Dr. Diane Orihel made an impassioned presentation during the meeting in support of the motion. Shortly after, councillors voted and Kingston became the first city in Ontario to declare a climate emergency.

[Photo of Dr. Diane Orihel and her gradute students]
Dr. Diane Orihel (centre), Queen's National Scholar, and members of the Queen's Experimental Ecology & Ecotoxicology Research Group Samuel Patterson, Johanna Mason, and Jeffrey Cederwall

Global reach

Pan-North American cooperation on climate change

Queen's is a member of the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) along with other institutions from across Canada, the US and Mexico. Together we mobilize our resources and expertise to accelerate local and regional climate action in partnership with businesses, cities and provinces/states, foundations, and other organizations.

In 2018-19, Queen’s hosted its first UC3 Forum in partnership with Sustainable Kingston. The forum focused on developing a shared understanding of the current state of climate action in our community and creating opportunities for mutual support.

[Photo of Dog Lake by Allen Tian]
Queen's Art of Research submission: Shattered Planet by Allen Tian (Biology)

Administration and operations

Fighting climate change through responsible investing

As part of its commitment to become more sustainable, Queen’s became one of the founding signatories of "Investing to Address Climate Change: A Charter for Canadian Universities." The charter calls on the signatories to adopt responsible investing guidelines, monitor the carbon intensity of their investments and apply other measures that foster low-carbon investment practices.

Queen's University

Queen’s aims to become carbon neutral by 2040.

Our pledge for carbon neutrality

[Photo of Queen's Campus]

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 (CAP) which aims to reduce GHG emissions by 70% from 2008 levels by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.

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.

2021 Announcement

1st in Canada
1st in Canada

1st in Canada
5th in the World

Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

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