Record STARS certification score
Université de Sherbrooke ranks at top of world sustainable development ratings
Sherbrooke, le 17 janvier 2023 – Thanks to an unprecedented performance, the Université de Sherbrooke (UdeS) has ranked first in the international STARS program, a system that rates higher education institutions’ sustainable development (SD) performance. With an overall score of 92.73 points, UdeS has maintained its Platinum certification and, more importantly, has become the first university in the world to earn over 90 points. This prestigious recognition attests to not only the institution’s leadership position when it comes to SD in the university context but also its ability to drive change to inspire and push our societies to become greener, more responsible, and more inclusive.
“Sustainability is in our blood and is the beating heart of our management approach and culture. Our institution and communities are very proud to have our commitment to SD recognized by an international organization with the highest STARS score ever awarded,” said Professor Pierre Cossette, Rector of UdeS.
This result did not come about by accident. For example, in 2019, UdeS became the first university in the world to earn a Platinum rating on its first try. UdeS has built on this initial experience over the past three years to consolidate and continue integrating SD into all of its activities, as shown through its excellent 2018-2022 sustainability report.
UdeS’s recent achievement of carbon neutrality in June (eight years ahead of its original target), biodiversity protection, student engagement, procurement, and responsible investment—combined with initiatives in organizational health and equity, diversity and inclusion—are just some characteristics assessed in the STARS accreditation for which the University stood out.
“SD transforms the daily experience of our community. Thanks to the commitment of all its members, the University has achieved an outstanding performance that demonstrates our exemplary management practices,” said Professor Denyse Rémillard, Deputy Rector and Vice-President, Administration and Sustainable Development at UdeS.
Solution-oriented research, with and for the community
To tackle current social issues and meet society’s specific needs, over 75% of UdeS departments are involved in research related to SD issues.
For example, the work of the SAQ Chair for the Recovery of Glass in Materials is providing innovative solutions for the recycling crisis in Quebec. The permanent interdisciplinary observatory of Lake Memphremagog also has a multidisciplinary team that works with local stakeholders and citizens to protect the water of the lake. To prevent anxiety among young people, the Hors-Piste project of the Centre RBC d’expertise universitaire en santé mentale is based on a collaborative and interdisciplinary field research approach with schools, parents and the health network.
“Rather than being siloed, many of our research projects and activities are built around the same sustainable goals, and our partnerships let us work on social and technological innovations that are grounded in reality,” said Jean-Pascal Lemelin, Assistant Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies.
Over 90% of the departments at UdeS offer courses whose curriculum addresses SD issues. In the coming years, all programs will also have course content related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Through clinics and practical training, such as the international legal assistance office, environmental clinic, and labs of the community intervention program, students can learn while providing expertise that benefits communities.
“Education that is rooted in SDG from the start will help students build knowledge and skills that they can then apply later on in their careers,” explained Jean-François Comeau, Director of the Education for Sustainable Development Project at UdeS.
With all of these inspiring actions that stem from an integrated, university-wide approach to SD, it is easy to see how UdeS broke the record for the highest score ever awarded as part of the prestigious STARS recognition. As shown by its new 2022-2025 strategic plan, the institution will continue to innovate and do the work to chart a path toward a greener and more sustainable future.
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Isabelle Huard, Media Relations Advisor
Communications Department | Université de Sherbrooke
medias@USherbrooke.ca | 819-821-8000, ext. 63395