Thompson Rivers University

TRU commits to ambitious five-year sustainability plan

  Posted on: December 6, 2019

Sustainability has been at the core of TRU’s values since 2013 when it was identified as a strategic priority for the university. As a result, TRU developed its first Campus Strategic Sustainability Plan (CSSP), which provided a framework for the university to measure progress in four key sustainability areas: operations, engagement, learning and governance.

This year, TRU’s Office of Sustainability began an eight-month-long process to update the plan, shaped by input from hundreds of members of TRU’s community from April to November 2019, at such events as a town hall, an online survey, targeted interviews and focus groups.

“As a result of our collective success with our existing sustainability plan—thanks to the passion and dedication of the entire university community—TRU is recognized as a leader in sustainability among our peers internationally,” said Director of Sustainability Jim Gudjonson. “The Sustainability Office is looking forward to working with our colleagues across TRU campuses to fulfill our renewed vision.”

The new sustainability plan is comprehensive, taking a holistic view of strategies over the next five years, incorporating more than 117 recommended strategies across operations, engagement, learning and governance. The plan is intended to provide a framework for all TRU departments and operational units to play a role in advancing university sustainability initiatives.

The updated plan is also guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to address all aspects of sustainability, including social, environmental and economic.

The plan provides a set of goals, themes and strategies for TRU. Six sustainability priorities have been identified to drive the university’s sustainability efforts over the next five years. They are:
1. Plan for a carbon neutral and net-zero energy campus
2. Eliminate single-use items, including plastics
3. Integrate sustainable purchasing throughout campus operations
4. Conserve potable water
5. Advance sustainability performance of the campus built environment
6. Champion sustainability beyond the TRU campus for global impact.

The organizational framework of the sustainability plan is closely aligned with the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System established by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, through which TRU received a platinum rating with a score of 88.31 in 2018 – the highest ever by any institution globally.

To learn more, and to read the new five-year CSSP, please visit www.tru.ca/sustain