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About

History

Since its inception in 2000, the Viessmann European Research Centre has devoted itself to fostering and disseminating important research about Europe. Starting in 2016, the centre shifted its orientation toward research and knowledge related to environmental sustainability and community resilience.

In 2018, this transition moved into its next phase with a new director, board, name, brand and home to complement the Centre’s new focus. The newly named Viessmann Centre for Engagement and Research in Sustainability (VERiS) maintains its connection to Europe and through our international networks, aims to build upon ground-breaking examples of sustainability in Germany and other European countries. In 2018, VERiS also became part of EvolvGREEN, a new innovation hub for sustainability and the advancement of the ‘Green Economy’ in Canada and beyond.

In January 2019, VERiS and our EvolvGREEN partners moved into the iconic and award winning evolv1 building. evolv1, the development of which was initiated by the environmental NGO Sustainable Waterloo Region, was developed and is owned by the Cora Group (both organizations are VERiS partners). evolv1 is Canada’s first commercial, carbon neutral and net-positive energy, multi-tenant office building and is the result of an elaborate collaboration of multiple partners and significant community support (a VERiS report profiling this unique project will be available on our website soon).

The Viessmann family provided the original endowment in support of the Viessmann centre. The Viessmann corporation and family have shown significant leadership in addressing climate change and promoting sustainability. Dr. Hans Viessmann, for example, served on the advisory committee for the German Energy Transition plan, working directly with the German chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel. You can learn more about their commitment to become carbon-neutral and their sustainability initiatives at Viessmann.ca.

It is important to note that the evolv1 building is located on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to Haudenosaunee, also known as the Six Nations, in compensation for their alliance with the British forces during the American Revolution. From early on, however, the Crown disputed the full title of the Haudenosaunee to that land and these disputes continue to this day in what has become one of the longest and most violent land-claim disputes in Ontario history. The Haudenosaunee, like many other First Nations communities, lived on this land sustainably until they were violently forced to adopt European-Canadian culture and the land was then exploited for industrial production. Our work is grounded in this history and we are committed to take active steps to work with Indigenous groups in reducing this historical injustice.

Vision, Focus and Approach

The Viessmann Centre for Engagement and Research in Sustainability (VERiS) is an interdisciplinary and community-engaged research centre striving to be a catalyst and nexus for the transition of organizations, communities, and societies toward cultures of sustainabilities. Cultures of sustainabilities are present when there are shared values, norms, language, and practices focused on making individual and societal choices that foster environmental sustainability, social justice, and equitable economies.

We strive to be a centre of excellence in the psychological, social, and cultural science of sustainability as well as a hub for key decision- and change makers. Together, we aim to co-create and identify practical evidence-based approaches to key sustainability challenges that relate to engaging people, organizations, and communities in shifting mindsets and values, changing practices, and creating symbols that represent cultures of sustainability. We work alongside equity-seeking groups and in close collaboration with key stakeholders in co-creating climate action and sustainability solutions that promote community resilience and wellbeing and are equitable and accessible.

As a centre, VERiS promotes research excellence, enables meaningful collaborations and partnerships, fosters engagement, and mobilizes knowledge that enables transitioning to cultures of sustainabilities. Driven by the needs of the communities and organizations we are working with and the interests and passion of our members, students, and staff, we take both a visionary strategic and an organic approach to the Centre’s development.

Structure

As an organizational member of Wilfrid Laurier University, we are governed by a diverse board of community and university leaders, led by the Centre’s Director Dr. Manuel Riemer. There are three research streams operating under the VERiS umbrella: the European Research Stream, the Flourishing Enterprise Stream, and the Wellbeing Stream. Each of these streams is led by one of VERiS’ associate directors and includes university and community fellows, students, collaborators, and partner organizations. The Centre’s operation is supported by our Administrative Manager E. Desmarchelier, Laurier’s Offices of Research Services and Research Finance, and multiple research assistants and associates.

Contact Us:

E: veris@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x2982
Office Location: Evolv1 Building 420 Wes Graham Way Suite #102 Waterloo, ON N2L 0J6

Office Hours:

We are currently working remotely.