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Sustainability is one of seven core values highlighted in the Academic Plan 2020-2025 underscoring that TMU is working to strengthen a culture (external link)  that embraces sustainability as an integral part of academic work. 

The institution offers a wide range of courses and learning opportunities for students to increase their sustainability knowledge, skills and experience. TMU’s innovative scholarly, research and creative (SRC) activities contribute to finding solutions to the complex challenges faced by current and future generations. Some highlights from TMU’s academic programs include:

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536 sustainability focused or related undergraduate and graduate courses.

TRSM ranked 8th globally and 3rd in Canada in the Corporate Knights 2020 Top 40 Better World MBA ranking (external link) .

277 faculty members engaged in sustainability related research.

Home to 10 innovative research zones, 2 of which focus directly on sustainability topics (Clean Energy Zone and Social Venture Zone)

New sustainability courses and programs

Recently added sustainability-related or focused courses and programs at TMU include:

FFD 650 - Responsible Fashion Design: Focuses on sustainable design practices, introducing new methods of approaching design from a critical lens and a systems perspective that challenge the Western-centric design mindset. Skills and concepts to be introduced may include regenerative fashion, zero waste, design for disassembly, and circular design. 

FSN 205 - Fashion Systems II: Explores emerging issues in the development, manufacturing, marketing, and consumption of products in the fashion industry

EUS 180 - Global Water Issues: Provides students with an understanding of critical issues in freshwater resource management at a global scale.

GCM 746 - Sustainability in Print and Packaging: Focuses on design and technologies to reduce environmental impact of graphic communications products, including packaging, are explored.

New sustainability certificate program

Urban Agriculture Certificate Program: Urban agriculture is a growing field, contributing to the sustainability and planning for resilient city regions.

Sustainability-focused research

Leading the charge on smart building technology

In March 2021, a $1.96 million Innovation Fund grant was awarded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to support the development of a Smart Campus Integration and Testing Lab (SCITLab). SCITLab will showcase existing smart technology and act as a testing environment for emerging projects and research. The SCITLab will also serve as a demonstration for net-zero building solutions. The facility will be hosted at TMU and led by Jenn McArthur, TMU architectural science professor.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions with big data

TMU researchers from the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science have collaborated with Screaming Power, an energy-focused mobile application company, on technology that forecasts energy usage through real-time analysis of vast data sets. Through a mobile phone app, building managers can use this information to improve their building’s energy efficiency and reduce emissions.

Spotlight: Professor Sara Edge, 2020 SRC award recipient

In March 2020, Professor Sara Edge, an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, received the 2020 Social Innovation and Action SRC Award for her innovative research focused on increasing community health and environmental health equity through enhanced public access to information.

A saline solution being applied to the street instead of road salt along Gould Street.

Campus as a living lab

Our campus is a living lab, where research translates into practice to solve local and global sustainability challenges.

Breaking new ground with road salt reduction

In 2019, the Urban Water Research Centre and Facilities Management and Development (FMD) partnered with WWF-Canada on a road salt reduction project to create a more sustainable winter campus. Reducing the amount of road salt applied to our urban surfaces is key to mitigating the impacts on water quality and aquatic ecosystem health. Annual road salt use was reduced by one third (more than 6 tonnes) on campus and costs were reduced by approximately 30%. As a result of the positive impacts of this initiative a permanent change has been made to campus operations. 

Urban Farm at TMU Living Lab

In 2019, the Urban Farm at TMU Living Lab research platform was launched. The goal of the Living Lab is to mobilize strategic research priorities in green roof and rooftop farming technology by bringing together urban farmers, community members and academics to conduct interdisciplinary research. Learnings will be applied not only to academic research, but also to associated industries and community organizations in Toronto.

Smart Building Analytics Living Lab

In 2020, Schneider Electric and TMU partnered to launch the Smart Building Analytics Living Lab - the first of its kind in Canada. The aim of the Living Lab is to provide TMU students access to tools for developing, testing and optimizing energy efficiency technologies and approaches within the field of building management.

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Creating changemakers

Climate Leaders training program

The Leadership Lab  (external link) offers a Climate Leaders training program (external link)  tailored to new change-makers on climate science, policy, communications and action. Participants have the opportunity to access funding, training and expert support to fuel their success. 

In 2020, 102 new leaders were trained. Through pre- and post-surveys, the proportion of participants who felt they have the resources and skills to address climate change in their communities more than doubled from 31% to 80%. 

Clean Energy Zone - Sustainability Design Challenge

In 2020, the Clean Energy Zone (CEZ) hosted its second Sustainability Design Challenge, a competition for Toronto Metropolitan University students that provides a forum for networking, innovation, and jumpstarting their green startup. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 competition took place virtually with teams connecting over Zoom and Slack. First place was awarded to CO Capture. Their concept centered on developing a system to capture carbon dioxide emitted from homes and produce electricity as a byproduct to be stored and sold.

UN Sustainable Development Goals related to these initiatives:

UN Sustainable Development Goals icons for quality education, sustainable cities & communities, climate action, partnerships for the goals..