In furthering the Institute’s global leadership in the advancement of sustainable cities, BCIT became a signatory – along with 26 members of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCan) – to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Accord. The SDG accord includes the 17 goals set forth by the United Nations (UN) as a universal call to protect the planet, end poverty, and improve the lives and prospects of all humans.
The SDGs are an increasingly important framework for countries, cities, and organizations to take action. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently became Co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Goals Advocates group. The SDG Accord is the post-secondary sector’s response and role in delivering these goals. It is also a commitment for post-secondary institutions to report and share their learning towards these goals.
“Signing on to this crucial Accord advances BCIT’s commitment to the development of sustainability skills through access to campus infrastructure and information, demonstration of leading-edge technologies and equipment, and opportunities to conceptualize, design, and implement solutions for global sustainability,” says BCIT President Kathy Kinloch. “I am proud of all the work being done across BCIT, and particularly within our Centre for Ecocities, to enable people to lead socially just lives within our ecological limits.”
The Accord may be signed by post-secondaries, supporting organizations, student organizations, or individuals, including students, researchers, faculty, and staff. The BCIT Student Association (BCITSA) has also signed the SDG Accord and designated a Vice President of Equity and Sustainability who is responsible for executing projects and initiatives that promotes the SDGs.
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“The BCIT Student Association (BCITSA) demonstrated great leadership in sustainability, particularly in initiating BCIT’s participation in the SDG Accord,” Christina Olsen, Acting Director, Institute Sustainability. “BCIT is pleased to be an official dual signatory with the Student Association. We look forward to leveraging this initiative to leap to the next level of collaboration between students, faculty, and staff across the Institute.”
“The SDGs are not merely a destination off in the distance, but also represent a thoughtful approach to living sustainably today. As one of Canada’s premier polytechnics, BCIT’s leadership can be seen in its forward-looking approach to innovation and skills training for the clean economy of the future,” says Yasmin Gardy, BCITSA VP Equity and Sustainability. “Our students have been fortunate to have partners like Kathy Kinloch and the office of Institute Sustainability working together with us to champion the SDGs.”
The BCIT Sustainability Vision references the importance of the SDGs as an urgent call for concerted action on global concerns like climate change. The SDGs are woven in with key BCIT initiatives such as the Centre for Ecocities, Diversity Circles, and the Zero Energy/Emissions Buildings Learning Centre (ZEBLC). Exciting new opportunities are emerging with local and global partners. For instance, the Centre for Ecocities recently participated in a series of meetings hosted by the United Nations to explore how BCIT can offer its knowledge and skills to cities around the world to achieve the SDGs.
BCIT uses the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating Systems (STARS) from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) to track progress on SDGs.
Learn more about the many ways BCIT is addressing the SDGs through its education, operations, and community engagement.