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Towards Net-Zero Universities: Higher-learning and Sustainability After Glasgow

November 18, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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Meeting ID: 878 6250 1247

Passcode: 349985

The BSIA and University of Waterloo are new signatories to the Race to Zero, an initiative collecting pledges at a “head-of-organisation level to reach (net) zero GHGs as soon as possible, and by mid-century at the latest, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5C.” With the recent conclusion of COP26, urgency beyond intergovernmental spaces is both necessary and an important area of uncertainty. What are universities contributing and leading in the move to a zero-carbon world? How does sustainability planning interact with other priorities within the university system? And what role do educators, administrators, and students have with regard to climate policy and politics?


Petra Duff is an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo, a member of Fossil Free UW, and a member of the University’s Responsible Investment Advisory Group. She also represents Fossil Free UW to the Divest Canada Coalition.

Derek Hall is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Balsillie School of International Affairs. His research covers the (global) political economy of land, agriculture, food and the environment (with a focus on Japan and Southeast Asia) and the history and theory of capitalism. He is the chair of the Balsillie School’s Global Climate Action Committee and of the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association’s Climate Action Committee, and is a member of Climate Justice Laurier.

Eric Meliton is the Manager of the Sustainability Office, Wilfrid Laurier University. He has a Bachelor of Chemistry and Environmental Science (Western University) and a Certificate in Quality Assurance: Manufacturing and Management (Sheridan College). As Manager, Eric focuses on providing learning experiences for the Laurier community, and maintaining and establishing new external partnerships – governmental, non-profit, industry – for sustainability on campus.

Mat Thijssen is Director of Sustainability at the University of Waterloo and champions its sustainability activities and efforts, in partnership with a broad range of stakeholders on and off campus. He has helped develop Waterloo’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy, annual Environmental Sustainability Reports, and the Shift: Neutral climate action plan. He also provides support to the President’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability, and collaborates with numerous teams and departments for project and program implementation related to operational sustainability, integration in academics, and awareness building and behaviour.

Olaf Weber is a Professor at the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development. In addition, he holds the position as the University of Waterloo’s Research Chair in Sustainable Finance and is Senior Fellow of CIGI. His research and teaching interests address the connection between financial sector players, such as banks and sustainable development and the link between sustainability and financial performance of enterprises. His research focus is on the impacts of the financial industry on sustainable development, the role of voluntary and regulatory mechanisms for the financial sector to become more sustainable, social banking and impact investing, the materiality of sustainability risks and opportunities for investors and artificial intelligence as a tool to analyze environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance.




November 18, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Balsillie School of International Affairs, 67 Erb Street West
Waterloo, ON Canada
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