A new University of Waterloo initiative aims to shape the future of sustainability for the benefit of the environment, economy, and society.

The Sustainable Futures Initiative is a collaboration that brings together the Water Institute, the  Waterloo Climate Institute and the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy  to accelerate holistic approaches to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a focus on the interconnections between energy, climate and water. The Initiative aligns strongly with the Futures Framework under Waterloo at 100, a visioning exercise underway to address Waterloo’s aspirations by its 100th anniversary in 2057. The Futures Framework helps coordinate the University’s efforts in education, research, and innovation as it strives to address global challenges. The Sustainable Futures Initiative is, therefore, a leading example given its emphasis on collaboration enabling greater impact.

“Advancing sustainable futures for the world is a complex problem that links climate, water, energy, alongside societal needs, and inequities, and is driven by global challenges such as extreme weather events, food insecurity and poverty, and endangered ecosystems,” said Charmaine B. Dean, Vice-President, Research and International, University of Waterloo.  “The Sustainable Futures initiative is a unique approach that draws upon Waterloo’s expertise in interdisciplinary research to provide innovative solutions to address these challenges for a better world.”

The three institutes have a strong history of collaboration and an enriched partnership within the Sustainable Futures Initiative, allowing for increased impact of research and the ability to pursue a more comprehensive approach to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Canada. With strength in both interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and expertise, the Sustainable Futures initiative is uniquely positioned to further Waterloo’s strong reputation for leadership in sustainability.

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“By sharing a common pool of world-class scholars and students working at the interface of climate change and sustainable water management and energy systems, their collective efforts will catalyze sustainability thinking and collaboration in Ontario, Canada, and the world,” said Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Waterloo. “Sustainable Futures is not only part of the University’s sustainability ecosystem, but also an emerging culture of environmental action in Waterloo Region.”

More than 100 of Waterloo’s key collaborators, including government, industry partners, community organizations, researchers, and students, celebrated the launch of the Sustainable Futures initiative today.

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