How aligned is UBC’s climate emergency work with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement and other global initiatives that set out aggressive targets over the coming years?

The climate crisis is posing — and will continue to pose — extensive threats to peoples’ lives and livelihoods both locally and globally. The need for drastic emissions reductions and a decisive shift away from fossil fuels toward alternative energy sources was laid out by the science of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN Production Gap Report and the Paris Agreement, urging rapid and far-reaching transformations across all economic sectors. We will not be able to achieve the broad vision outlined in the SDGs without urgent action addressing climate change. This has been a catalyst to mobilize and align governments and organizations globally — and UBC is no exception. 
 
UBC has a mandate to affect change beyond our institutional boundaries, with a fundamental responsibility, as outlined by our purpose statement, to advance a sustainable and just society across British Columbia, Canada and the world. We recognize the potential and impact UBC’s education, research and innovation capacity in sustainability has in creating breakthrough solutions for the most pressing challenges of the climate emergency and a just transition to a fossil fuel–free economy. 
 
The executive-level UBC Sustainability Strategy Steering Committee is using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) as a contribution toward an organizing framework to guide activities and to help communicate work being done at UBC. The UN SDGs are now being integrated as a tool for measuring performance and sustainability progress in higher education by organizations such as the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN), Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and others. The THE Impact Ranking placed UBC in the top three globally for helping to advance the UN SDGs. 
 
UBC recognizes the importance of advancing the SDGs; however, there is also a need to ensure UBC is also contextualizing these with its own sustainability, health and wellbeing strategies defined in UBC’s Next Century Strategic Plan and the academic and operational pursuits across the institution.