Sustainable development: HEC Montréal keeps upping its game
STARS Gold rating and the 2019–2020 sustainability report
August 24, 2021For the 2nd straight year, HEC Montréal has released an annual report detailing all the School’s actions and initiatives in teaching, research, operations and community services relating to different aspects of sustainable development (SD).
One of the major events in 2019–2020 was the process to renew the School’s STARS (Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System) rating, which recently resulted in our institution being granted a Gold STARS rating. The STARS system, which defines best SD practices in the university community, is the North American benchmark.
The School adopted its very first sustainable development action plan in 2018. At the time, it decided to base this plan on the 4 main themes in the STARS model:
- teaching and research
- environmentally friendly operations
- planning and administration
The 2019–2020 annual report gives an overview of the School’s concrete achievements, at the halfway point of its action plan.
More courses and programs
HEC Montréal increased its content with a focus on sustainable development in 2019–2020, offering 7 programs specializing in SD-related themes.
They include a new Certificate in Sustainable Development, which welcomed its 1st cohort in Fall 2020. The School’s 3 master’s-level French-language programs – the Short Undergraduate Program in Management and Sustainable Development, the Specialized Graduate Diploma (DESS) in Management – Sustainable Development, and the Master’s in Management and Sustainable Development – saw their enrolment soar by 78% from the previous year.
Research and knowledge transfer
In terms of research, the topic of sustainable development received growing attention, with the publication of 66 articles, books, book chapters and research papers, representing 22% of all the scientific publications produced by faculty over the year.
The student community also contributed, producing 36 essays, theses and dissertations dealing with sustainable development (including subjects such as equity, diversity and inclusion, integration, social repercussions and social responsibility). This represents 18% of all the essays, theses and dissertations published by HEC Montréal students in 2019–2020.
Permaculture in an urban environment
The School’s Hectare urbain urban agriculture project also continued to flourish. In June 2019, it was granted the 4 certifications awarded by the Montréal Botanical Garden, i.e. Biodiversity Garden, Monarch Oasis, Bird Garden and Edible Garden. It also joined the Biopolis platform, and became a partner in WWF-Canada’s Living Planet @ Campus program. Lastly, in February 2020, Hectare urbain won in the “Positive social impact” category at the Trophées des campus responsables awards.
The School pursued its efforts to make its operations even more environmentally friendly. In particular, it cut its greenhouse gas emissions in 2019-2020, down by 21% from the previous year. It also continued striving to reduce its water consumption and improve waste management.
In addition, in September 2019 the School signed the Global Climate Letter, an international initiative linked to the United Nations SD Goals, committing itself to becoming carbon neutral by 2040.
Progress on EDI
When it comes to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), 2019–2020 was a transformative year for HEC Montréal. The School began implementing its EDI strategy, starting by hiring a specialist in this field.
It also formed a standing committee on EDI, created a working group and adopted an institutional action plan.
In 2020, the EDI advisor held consultations with community members, leading to the development of a policy on equity, diversity and inclusion (announced in November 2020). Shortly after completing these consultations, the School also conducted a census of its community to obtain an accurate portrait of its diversity.