Sustainability Plan Status Updates

Updated July 2020

These programs and strategies foster sustainable behavior and decision-making by providing educational resources, generating excitement, and raising awareness around issues of sustainability in our living, learning, and working environment.

Completed

Developed a sustainability passport program that allows staff to succeed at fulfilling the sustainability behavioral competency that is a part of every job description

Significant Progress

  • Better integrate sustainability within first-year orientation to emphasize its importance from a student’s first day on campus
  • Link student academic experience to on-campus operational practices

Next Steps

  • Institute optional graduation pledge
  • Develop and implement a sustainable purchasing policy
  • Develop plan to become a plastic-free campus

These initiatives provide an exceptional liberal arts education through the lens of sustainability and climate action and preparedness.

Significant Progress

  • Increase faculty awareness of teaching to sustainability
  • Enhance co-curricular education/experiential learning that foregrounds sustainability

Next Steps

  • Identify and encourage courses on sustainability and climate change in the curriculum

How we go about our day-to-day business has large ramifications for our ecological and carbon impacts. Energy and buildings, transportation, waste, and water use strategies are specified in this section.

Completed

  • Integrated Colgate’s green building standards into the University’s construction and design standards
  • Completed the Energy Master Plan
  • Expanded natural gas along Broad Street and other campus buildings to replace fuel oil #2
  • Completed efficiency and material handling upgrades to our biomass energy system

Next Steps

  • Continue collaborating with First Transit, Inc. (cruiser and on-demand service) and Wade Tours and Hale Transportation (charter service) to emphasize low-carbon operations that reduce our environmental and carbon impacts
  • Replace Colgate’s current vehicle fleet with zero-emission or low-emission vehicles on a rolling basis
  • Implement an air travel carbon footprint report card by division in order to raise awareness
  • Complete an employee commuter plan that advances sustainable transportation options for Colgate commuters
  • Reduce landfill waste by an additional 100 tons from about 750 tons in 2015 to 650 tons in 2019 with an aspirational goal of becoming a zero-waste campus by 2025
  • Reduce water consumption by an additional 10 million gallons from about 60 million gallons in 2015 to about 50 million gallons
  • Develop plan to become a zero landfill-waste campus

Respecting and protecting our natural heritage and physical resources are vital to both our academic mission and attachment to place. How is Colgate caring for its land?

Completed

  • Completed a comprehensive update of Colgate’s Forest and Open Lands Stewardship Plan
  • Completed a full carbon inventory of our forested lands and received certification for their long-term sustainable management

These strategies promote environmentally sound dining operations and procurement of local and sustainable foods while supporting our local economy.

Next Steps

  • Complete a full assessment of our local, community-based, and third-party certified food purchases by July 1, 2017, and establish an institutional goal for increasing the purchase of sustainable foods on campus
  • Complete an initial sustainability audit of dining services that includes waste production as well as water and energy consumption
  • Complete an action plan for advancing overall sustainability in dining operations, emphasizing sustainable food procurement and waste, water, and energy reduction

Sustainability at Colgate is a good investment. While many projects have short paybacks, some may be capital intensive and require creative financing strategies.

Completed

  • Funded and implemented the Green Revolving Loan Fund (GRLF)

Significant Progress

  • Investigate federal, state, and local funding opportunities on an ongoing basis​​​​​

Resilience and Adaptation. Is Colgate prepared for climate change? These strategies will help us evaluate risks and build resiliency for the future.

Completed

  • Completed an initial vulnerability assessment

Next Steps

  • Complete an initial climate adaptation plan

Achieving carbon neutrality by 2019 required investments in carbon offsets.

Completed

  • Developed a plan to implement and finance offsets that result in carbon neutrality
  • Formed a Carbon Offset Working Group to evaluate and recommend offset options
  • By December 31 of each year, Colgate will formally update the faculty, students, and staff on our progress through presentations at staff and faculty meetings, our annual greenhouse gas inventory, and an annual sustainability report. During these engagements, sustainability leaders will prioritize feedback and create vehicles for continued input.