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Media release: Mohawk adopts first ever environmental management plan: sets target for reducing carbon emissions by 2020

Mohawk is the first college in Ontario to introduce a comprehensive environmental management plan that sets significant carbon emission reduction targets.

On Nov. 9, Mohawk’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to adopt the College’s environmental management plan. The plan commits Mohawk to a 20 per cent reduction of 2007 baseline carbon emissions by 2020, exceeding both provincial and federal targets.

“Mohawk’s environmental management plan will serve as the framework for all decisions made with respect to improving our college’s environmental stewardship,” says President Rob MacIsaac.  “Our plan calls upon all staff, students and members of the community to work together to build a more sustainable college. Getting there will require us to rethink how we do business and to take a different approach to planning for future investment and growth.”

Mohawk’s environmental management plan identifies eight pillars that represent key areas of focus and support for reducing carbon emissions: waste management and paper consumption; facility operations and future buildings; procurement; local food and health and wellness; transportation and vehicle emissions; alternative energy; tracking, reporting and communications; and change management.

The plan aims to build on the success of past environmental initiatives, including a major retrofit project at Mohawk’s Fennell Campus. The installation of hands-free taps and automatic flush toilets cut water consumption in half and led to the installation of smaller and more energy efficient tanks that cost less to operate.

Mohawk’s environmental management plan was drafted by the College’s Sustainability Steering Committee, drawing on the feedback, opinions and ideas of more than 170 students, faculty and staff who took part in carbon roundtable sessions. 

In developing the plan, Mohawk commissioned a baseline greenhouse gas inventory. The study found that commuting to the college by students and staff and paper use accounted for 39 per cent of emissions, while electricity consumption accounted for 32 per cent and natural gas accounted for the remaining 29 per cent.

“We have an opportunity to set an example for our colleagues, our students, our community and other colleges,” says MacIsaac. “Together we will make Mohawk a more productive, prosperous college and become a leader in the sustainability movement.”

Sustainability, together with quality and innovation, are Mohawk’s three strategic priorities. At Mohawk, sustainability is defined as conducting business to positively impact people, the environment and the economy.

Mohawk College delivers a quality education to 15,000 full-time and apprenticeship students and 42,000 continuing education registrants at campuses in Hamilton and Brantford. In the most recent province-wide student satisfaction survey, Mohawk ranked first among all colleges in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area for quality of learning and programs, quality of services and facilities and overall student and graduate satisfaction.