UBC MFRE Sustainability Scholar Joins Vancouver Fraser Port Authority for Summer Internship

by Nathan Ruff

Recent MFRE alumna, Yuki Zhang, completed her graduating project with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) under the UBC Sustainability Initiative. During her internship, Yuki completed a scan of strategic benchmarks concerning Indigenous relations and developed measures to assess the port’s current performance.

The VFPA oversees the Port of Vancouver, Canada’s largest port by cargo volume and one of the largest in North America. To further progress towards the VFPA’s vision to be the world’s most sustainable port, they have partnered with the UBC Sustainability Initiative, which offers current UBC graduate students the opportunity to work on funded sustainability internship projects.


Yuki Zhang

This particular project by then MFRE Student Yuki Zhang, focused on the sustainability theme of Indigenous relationships. Yuki was responsible for identifying best practices for strengthening relationships with Indigenous communities and relevant indicators for assessing and tracking performance. She completed an initial scan of standard practices for strengthening port (and, more broadly, industry) relations with Indigenous communities to satisfy these objectives. Yuki then narrowed down these findings to four key relevant sustainability benchmarks. She then identified a list of prevailing practices, namely Indigenous-focused hiring and support, community investment, scholarships and bursaries, and certification program participation. She then researched and identified indicators that would allow the VFPA to assess their current performance and track future progress in each of the relevant areas.

The results of this work provided the VFPA with a more concise framework for planning and executing relevant sustainability goals, which will ultimately support future development based on the mutual interest of the VFPA and Indigenous communities.


Photo credits: Port of Vancouver Container Terminal [CC BY-SA 2.0] by Jeff Parr.