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University ranks third in Canada among Future 40 Responsible Leaders

Sustainability efforts recognized by Corporate Knights
April 22, 2014
The University of Calgary is rated number three overall in the inaugural Future 40 Responsible Leaders in Canada rankings, according to Corporate Knights, a national research and financial information products company. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is rated number three overall in the inaugural Future 40 Responsible Leaders in Canada rankings, according to Corporate Knights, a national research and financial information products company. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Sustainability is a core value in the University of Calgary’s Eyes High strategic direction and is one of seven institutional priorities in our 2012 Academic Plan. This was evident in 2013 when the University of Calgary received a Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) Gold rating in recognition of our achievements. The university received a further sign that we are on the right track on April 3 when Corporate Knights announced the University of Calgary was ranked third in Canada in its inaugural Future 40 Responsible Leaders in Canada rankings.

“The Corporate Knights ranking is another indicator that the University of Calgary is succeeding in its goal to become a leader in corporate responsibility and sustainability among post-secondary institutions in Canada,” says President Elizabeth Cannon.  “Our commitments to transparency, sound governance, and disclosure practices have made us one of the leading universities in the country for sustainability reporting.”

The Future 40 assesses institutions in Canada with revenues of less than $2 billion annually to determine which institutions have the best sustainability and disclosure practices. In the inaugural year of the ranking, only two universities are on the list. York University is ranked number two overall, and the University of Calgary is ranked number three overall.  

Corporate Knights began by reviewing 213 organizations. Many of these are publicly traded companies that disclose environmental, social and governance data that ends up being collected by data aggregators such as Bloomberg. The rest, including the University of Calgary, are non-publicly traded organizations that submit their environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) reports to the non-profit Global Reporting Initiative, which promotes standards for sustainability reporting.

Corporate Knights tracks 12 key performance indicators, including the seven “first-generation” sustainability indicators of energy use, GHG emissions, water use, waste production, employee turnover, lost-time injury rate, and total payroll.  According to Corporate Knights, even smaller organizations that do not have the same kind of resources as their larger peers are realizing the rising awareness of the importance placed on resource productivity, good governance and social responsibility and their impacts. Such is certainly the case at the University of Calgary where sustainability has not only been given a high priority to achieve, but is also embedded in our core functions.

“Sustainability at our institution encompasses the collective work of our students, faculty, staff and our surrounding community throughout our day-to-day practices,” says Cannon.  “We continue to co-ordinate our sustainability efforts within our cutting-edge research opportunities, leading curriculum and innovative co-curricular learning opportunities for students, while developing and maintaining best practices in governance and operations.”

Corporate Knights (CK) is a media, research and financial information products company based in Toronto, focused on promoting an economic system where prices fully incorporate social, economic and ecological costs and benefits, and market participants are clearly aware of the consequences of their actions. The company calls such as system "clean capitalism." Founded in 2002, Corporate Knights Inc. has two subsidiaries: CK Media, which includes the award-winning business and society magazine Corporate Knights, and CK Capital, which produces corporate rankings, research reports and financial products based on corporate sustainability performance.