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By Matthew Le Blanc

Mohawk has become the first Ontario college to set significant carbon emission reduction targets as they set to launch their environment management plan. The plan will commit the college to a 20 per cent reduction of 2007 baseline emissions by 2020.

“Mohawk’s environmental management plan will serve as the framework for all decisions made with respect to improving our college’s environmental stewardship,” says Mohawk 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.”

The environmental plan is set to build on the success of past environmental initiatives, including the current ongoing renovations that have seen nearly 7,000 lights replaced and approximately 90 bathrooms retrofitted.

The plan also identifies eight areas that are integral to 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.

Mohawk’s Board of Governors collectively voted to adopt the plan, which falls in line with the school’s current sustainability goals, on Nov. 9.

“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.”

Mohawk’s environmental management plan was drafted by the College’s Sustainability Steering Committee, which analyzes the feedback, opinions and ideas of more than 170 students, faculty and staff.

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.

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