McGill University Platinum STARS Rating

McGill University platinum STARS rating
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McGill University platinum STARS rating. Image: McGill University

Reading Time: 3 minutes

McGill University platinum STARS rating

In March 2024, McGill University in Montreal, Canada, announced that it earned a Platinum rating under the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS).

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System

STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to help measure their sustainability performance. It is the leading benchmarking framework for measuring sustainability performance in higher education.

The STARS framework encompasses long-term sustainability goals for institutions that already have sustainability plans. It also serves as an aide for institutions that are just beginning to take sustainability measures. Additionally, STARS is intended to engage and recognize the full spectrum of colleges and universities, from community colleges to research universities.

STARS is also designed to create incentives for continual improvement in sustainability and facilitate information sharing about higher education sustainability practices and performance. An institution can earn points toward a STAR Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum Rating or can even earn the STARS Reporter designation. Currently, 355 institutions worldwide hold a valid STARS rating.

McGill University Platinum STARS Rating

McGill University’s sustainability journey began over two decades ago with its commitment to become zero waste by 2035 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. In 2012, the University submitted its first STARS report, resulting in a Silver rating.

McGill has since made significant improvements to its sustainability efforts, including its green building standards, responsible investment practices, construction waste diversion, and many others. These efforts earned it a Gold rating in 2016, which was renewed in 2020.

McGill University received the Platinum STARS rating for several reasons: its best practices from the LEED and WELL certifications, which have been embedded into McGill’s Design Standards, its commitment to sustainability-focused teaching and learning, and its commitment to tracking all construction and demolition waste and ensuring it does not end up in the landfill.

The McGill University platinum STARS rating is the highest an institution can receive. At the time of submission, only 14 institutions worldwide and five in Canada held the STARS program’s highest sustainability rating. But despite receiving this rating, the University still has work to do. Moving forward, McGill has several sustainability projects underway, including plans to replace a natural gas boiler and funding and support to electrify its fleet.

Beyond the McGill University platinum STARS rating, it is also continuing to improve its inclusion of sustainability in its classrooms and research. As of 2024, 72% of McGill’s departments offer courses that incorporate sustainability content. The university also offers hundreds of major, minor, and concentration programs that aim to give students an understanding of sustainability challenges.

Other notable projects that helped the McGill University platinum STARS rating include the Carbon Mitigation Project Develop, whereby 44,500 trees have been planted, offsetting 1,939 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide. The Green Event Certification provides consultations, training and resources to encourage and support more responsible events at McGill. The Sustainability Projects Fund aims to build a culture of sustainability on McGill campuses through developing and seed funding interdisciplinary projects.  McGill Green Laboratory program launched its Sustainable Lab Certification to help make lab operations across campus more sustainable. And these are only a handful of examples.

McGill is taking leadership when it comes to sustainability and encouraging sustainability from staff, students, and faculty across campus. Achieving the Platinum STARS rating is no easy feat and takes a lot of dedication. However, their achievement shows that achieving sustainability within an institution is possible. There are thousands of institutions around the world that are registered under STARS and who are also working to create change.

This achievement is a step in the right direction, and with the McGill University platinum STARS rating, it shows no signs of slowing down when it comes to protecting the environment.

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