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Sustainability Initiatives

Carbon Offset Programs

There are a number of carbon offset programs being created to address the issues surrounding carbon footprints, which is the measure of the environmental impact of a particular individual or organization's lifestyle or operation, measured in units of carbon dioxide. The ideal solution is to become Carbon Neutral, which is to balance the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by a particular activity with an equal amount of carbon sequestration or carbon offsets from a third party. To be considered carbon neutral, an individual or organization must reduce its carbon footprint to zero.

In the move to become Carbon Neutral, or to address reduction in an individual or organization's carbon footprint, there have been a number of third party 'Carbon Offset' organizations established and joining forces with many organizations (carbon footprint creators) in the attempt to address existing carbon footprints. A carbon offset is a form of credit that an individual or organization can purchase to negate a carbon footprint, thereby achieving carbon neutrality.  Revenue generated from the purchase of offsets is typically invested in environmentally-friendly projects. The purchase of carbon offsets is a fast-growing industry in the wake of compliance legislation and the development of cap and trade systems. At present, almost all carbon offset programs are optional.

While the University takes the carbon footprint issue seriously, there are concerns as it relates to University money being invested with 'Carbon Offset' organizations, and how this money is being directed to Carbon Neutral initiatives. As a University, we must evaluate and understand our carbon footprint and ensure that any University investment of money is applied appropriately. This being said, University funds are not to be used for the purchase of carbon offset credits. This is consistent with University's policy on not making donations to other external charitable organizations as described in Policy GOV-030-010 Donating to or Sponsoring External Groups and Causes.

Saskatchewan Waste Electronic Equipment Program - SWEEP

Since February 1, 2007 resellers of desktop computers, notebook computers, printers, and televisions, in or into the province of Saskatchewan are legally required to be part of a product management program (Waste Electronic Equipment Regulations under the Environmental Management and Protection Act) approved by the Saskatchewan Government.

SWEEP is the only approved product management program. SWEEP is a non-profit organization established by manufacturers, retailers, and other stakeholders to collect and recycle waste electronics in a responsible manner.

SWEEP is funded by an Environmental Handling Fee (EHF) that is remitted to SWEEP at the time of sale of desktop computers, notebook computers, printers, televisions, and other designated products in or into the province of Saskatchewan. It is intended that the purchase/end user pay the EHF at the time of purchase. This is a one-time fee and is not claimed back at the time of drop-off for recycling.

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