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Canadian law programs rate high on sustainability

Wednesday, July 2nd 2008 12:17:22pm

Canadian law programs rate high on sustainability

Social justice, human rights and professional ethics essential components in analysis

(Toronto, Canada, July 2, 2008) Today, Corporate Knights Magazine unveils the fifth-annual Knight Schools ranking. The ranking analyzes how Canadian universities fare in integrating sustainability into the school experience.  

In reviewing law programs, the researchers adopted a broad definition of sustainability that encompassed environmental and social concerns. Issues of social justice, human rights, professional ethics, cultural diversity, climate change, and conservation were considered.

The survey, modelled after the US-based Beyond Grey Pinstripes Survey, scored the programs in the areas of institutional support, student initiatives, and course work.

The law schools had a vast array of electives. Students were offered courses in Green Legal Theory, International Humanitarian Law, Aboriginal Law, and Restorative Justice. In fact, all top 5 law schools scored 100% for their sustainability electives.

Of the 21 schools surveyed, 14 (66.7%) had at least one core course entirely dedicated to sustainability.

Each of the top 3 law schools scored 75% and over in regards to implementing sustainability into their curriculum. The University of Toronto achieved the highest mark for course work, with a score of 81%. Their law program was the highest ranking in the 21 schools studied with exceptionable scores in all three categories of the survey. The University of Toronto attracted a variety of interesting guest speakers that discussed climate change, Aboriginal issues, and rights and freedoms. Their students were also active in both the social and environmental areas of sustainability, organizing groups in Environmental Law, Global Anti-Trafficking, International Human Rights, and Public Interest Law.

Corporate Knights found that law students were well informed and eager to speak about sustainability issues.

“We noticed a lot of changes in how schools are treating sustainability,” says Monika Warzecha, Chief Researcher of the Knight Schools ranking. “New programs are springing up in many different fields. Students are demanding these courses and starting their own projects outside the classroom.”

The full results and methodology of the Ranking are available at http://www.corporateknights.ca/special-reports/68-knight-school-guide.html and are summarized in the Best 50/Eduction issue (Vol. 7.1) of Corporate Knights, distributed in the Globe and Mail on June 30 in Eastern Canada and July 7 in Western Canada.

(out of 21 schools)
1. University of Toronto: 91.0%
2. University of Victoria: 86.8%
3. Dalhousie University: 83.5%
4. Osgoode Hall, York University: 81.8%
5. University of Ottawa – Common Law: 79.7%


To schedule interviews contact: Jonathan Laderoute, e|c|o, 416-972-7401, laderoutej(a)huffstrategy.com

Founded in 2002, Corporate Knights Inc. is an independent Canadian-based media company focused on promoting and reinforcing sustainable development in Canada.