Colgate’s guiding principles for sustainability were adopted in the 2011 Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. Today, they continue to serve as an important guide for day-to-day decision-making. The integration of Colgate’s guiding principles into our campus culture and mindset will allow us to collectively advance sustainability on campus.
Colgate’s Guiding Principles for a Sustainable Future:
- Foster opportunities that link the curriculum with operations in a way that supports Colgate's liberal arts education and gives students the opportunity to put sustainability theory into practice.
- Cultivate learning opportunities that engage students with the long-term social, environmental, and economic sustainability of Central New York.
- Promote a campus community that values cultural and ecological diversity.
- Provide a safe, healthy, and engaging work and living environment that fosters interaction, recreation, and education.
- Consider long-term impacts, lifecycle analyses, and integrated systems thinking in all our sustainability initiatives so that they consider holistically the interdependent issues of economic vitality, environmental quality, and social equity.
- Support new policies and programs that prioritize the efficient use of, and reduced demand for, energy and natural resource extraction.
- Consider end-of-life disposal and recycling options when making purchasing decisions. Take necessary precautions to prevent environmental pollution and unnecessary landfill waste.
- Consider life-cycle cost analysis, including social and environmental impacts, for our contracts, investments, and purchasing decisions.
- Use university investments to support companies that are socially responsible and are good environmental stewards, all else being equal.
- Favor policy, purchasing, and operational decisions that exert a positive influence in our bioregion. This includes decisions that minimize environmental impacts, support healthy communities, maximize long- term value, and contribute to local and regional economic health.
As we continue our journey towards a sustainable future, it is important to remain flexible and open to emerging technologies and new opportunities. As these opportunities present themselves, they should be evaluated using the following criteria:
- Time horizon: how important is early success or is success over the long-term worth striving for?
- Achievability: how likely is it that this goal can be attained?
- Financial cost: what financial resources would be required to support the proposed initiative and where would potential sources of funding come from?
- Community readiness: will various stakeholders support the proposed initiative or will it be unpopular or overly burdensome?
- Impact: if achieved, will the goal have a significant influence or a marginal influence on Colgate’s overall sustainability profile?
- Ease of implementation: will the work require a considerable investment of institutional time and energy? How technically difficult would the initiative be to implement?