Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.38
Liaison Careen Arsenault
Submission Date March 1, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Cornell University
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Robert Bland
Sr. Director
Energy & Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
No

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:
---

A copy of the strategic plan:
---

The website URL where the strategic plan is publicly available:
---

Does the institution have a published sustainability plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the sustainability plan:
---

The website URL where the sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published climate action plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the climate action plan:
---

The website URL where the climate action plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have other published plans that address sustainability or include measurable sustainability objectives (e.g. campus master plan, physical campus plan, diversity plan, human resources plan)? :
Yes

A list of other published plans that address sustainability, including public website URLs (if available):
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Ensure all students graduate with basic climate literacy.

Work with the college deans to develop a university-wide sustainability learning outcome.

Integrate sustainability literacy into the student Pulse survey

Sustainability is included in the senior Exit survey

New students participate in sustainability training and survey, and a sustainability fall club fest.

See the link to our Options report that was developed at a high senior level, as part of the Sr. Leadership Climate Action Group Committee. One of the objectives is to create a culture of sustainable behavior and advance climate literacy for all students, faculty and staff.
http://csc-production.s3.amazonaws.com/2016/10/31/18/53/34/ccb70786-90a6-4feb-b1b7-0ce9dc520c1f/Cornell%20University%20-%20Options%20for%20Achieving%20a%20Carbon%20Neutral%20Campus%20-%202016.pdf

Link to our webpage talking about Options for Achieving a Carbon Neutral Campus by 2035. http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/initiatives/options-for-achieving-a-carbon-neutral-campus-by-2035

Our 2013 Campus Sustainability Plan - http://csc-production.s3.amazonaws.com/2016/10/05/14/15/01/c2fea0a7-7632-43ea-a6bc-a70fd151447b/PSCC2013Sustainability_Today_Tomorrow_FINAL.pdf

Link to our Climate Action Plan - http://csc-production.s3.amazonaws.com/2014/04/15/02/46/38/230/CAPUpdate2013Roadmap2014_2015.pdf


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Research?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Research and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The university's Radical Collaboration Sustainability Initiative includes these four high level objectives:

1. Focus interdisciplinary research on SDGs, with an initial focus on the equitable
distribution of food, energy, and water for a growing human population as this focus
builds on existing Cornell strengths;

2. Fill critical intellectual gaps and enhance Cornell’s interdisciplinary intellectual
community with coordinated hires of senior faculty with experience in bridging
disciplines relevant to the system of systems approach necessary to achieve the SDGs;

3. Educate the next generation of sustainability professionals by creating a university-wide graduate program in sustainability administered by the Atkinson Center; and,

4. Create organizational structures in the Atkinson Center to support large, long-term
interdisciplinary research programs that are co-created with other universities and
especially non-academic organizations whose mission is to change sustainability
products, practices or policies.

One of the milestones for 2017 in the Atkinson Center Strategic Plan is to develop two or more enduring strategic collaborations with external partners for interdisciplinary research and practical application.

Focus areas in the Atkinson Center Strategic plan include research in energy transitions such as research in grid integration, energy efficiency, new materials, societal adaptation, economic markets, and policy frameworks, research in one health which emphasizes the connections between human health, animal health, and ecosystem health to promote, improve, and defend the health and well-being of all species, and research in new materials to find more sustainable materials.

In the first 5 years, the Atkinson Center backed 60-plus research teams some of which which produced the following ideas: Improved methods for locking carbon in soils to help farmers mitigate and adapt to climate change, Creative incentives to improve medical care for HIV-infected women and children in the poorest areas of sub-Saharan Africa, Crop pollination using native bees, Promoting sustainable agriculture as a market-friendly alternative to poaching, protected wildlife, A blueprint for building public-sector green jobs in a changing climate, A way to harvest energy from small-scale turbines on building surfaces, A strategy for converting algae into a sustainable fuel source and high-value enzymes, Architectural design tools for sustainable buildings.

Details on Cornell's plans to advance sustainability research can be found in the 2013-2017 Strategic Plan of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future
http://www.acsf.cornell.edu/Assets/ACSF/docs/attachments/ACSF-StrategicPlan-2013.pdf


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

90% of Freshman are engaged by the EcoReps program

10% of campus offices are certified Green Offices

The College Engagement Program expands to at least 2 more colleges

Sustainability is fully integrated into the annual performance management processes for all staff

New guidelines for performance management are developed and released

New sustainability tools for managers are developed and released

Achieve a 2-5% reduction in energy use by changing use behaviors


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future strategic plan includes these objectives:
1) Build strong, comprehensive, strategic collaborations with external organizations that have common aspirations and complementary capabilities in one or more of the Center’s new focus areas. 2) Develop two or more enduring strategic collaborations with external partners for interdisciplinary research and practical application. 3) One or more high-profile innovations associated with ACSF and a partner will significantly, measurably
improve sustainability and well-being for humans and the planet’s flora and fauna.

Cornell Outdoor Education was highlighted as a strong engagement-related partner with Cornell and focuses on promoting an ethic of land stewardship and conservation.

Cornell's overarching strategic plan to increase community based research and teaching, and broader public engagement, including sustainability topics, are detailed in the Engaged Cornell Plan.
https://www.giving.cornell.edu/docs/Engaged%20Cornell%20Abridged%20Proposal_1_15_15.pdf

In addition Cornell's Cooperative Extension has a long history of sustainability initiatives in communities all across New York State. These initiatives are detailed here:
http://cce.cornell.edu/Nutrition/Pages/SustainabilityandCCE.aspx

Goals are included for Climate Literacy Outreach and Climate Adaptation Planning which are focused on public engagement and community collaboration online at http://climateaction.cornell.edu.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Carbon neutral Ithaca main campus by 2035
http://climateaction.cornell.edu


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings and the published plans in which each objective is included:

1) All new buildings and major renovations create high performance buildings - 50/150 kbtu/sq ft for offices/labs http://climateaction.cornell.edu via https://ipp.cornell.edu/cornell-design-standards
2) Integrate space scheduling with HVAC scheduling software, revise the capital planning process and architect/engineer contracts to incorporate space planning http://climateaction.cornell.edu
3) Perform energy studies for 20% of campus buildings http://climateaction.cornell.edu


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Obtain 100% of the campus' energy needs from renewable sources by 2035

Additional details can be found in the Campus Sustainability Plan and the Climate Action Plan
http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/pages/ithaca-campus-sustainability-plan
http://climateaction.cornell.edu


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Decrease food waste through consumer education and food recovery partnerships with the food bank system.

Additional details can be found in the Campus Sustainability Plan and the Climate Action Plan
http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/pages/ithaca-campus-sustainability-plan
http://climateaction.cornell.edu


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds and the published plans in which each objective is included:

1) Integration of green infrastructure across campus
2) Use of the SITES sustainable landscape certification system for additional sites.

Additional details can be found in the Campus Sustainability Plan and the Climate Action Plan
http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/pages/ithaca-campus-sustainability-plan
http://climateaction.cornell.edu


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing and the published plans in which each objective is included:

1) Establish energy-efficient standards based upon Energy Star certification for new purchases and bids.
http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/initiatives/equipment-efficiency-standards-policy

2) Utilize “Fast Tracks” in Cornell’s online Procurement Gateway to facilitate purchasing of sustainable office equipment and supplies, recycled paper, remanufactured toner, EPEAT certified computers, etc., and to limit the availability of less sustainable products.
http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/initiatives/sustainable-products-procurement

3) Consider sustainability criteria, including locality and GHG emissions, in the vendor selection process to reduce the environmental footprint of Cornell’s supply chain.
http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/initiatives/green-suppliers

Additional details can be found in the Campus Sustainability Plan and the Climate Action Plan
http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/pages/ithaca-campus-sustainability-plan
http://climateaction.cornell.edu


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation and the published plans in which each objective is included:

1) Increase outreach and education about existing Transportation Demand Management programs.
2) Allocate financial resources and draft RFP for a Campus Bike/Pedestrian Master Plan.
4) Develop a deployment plan for EV-charging stations on campus and regionally.
5) Develop and launch an optimized strategy to convert the campus fleet to alternate fuel vehicles

Additional details can be found in the Campus Sustainability Plan and the Climate Action Plan
http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/pages/ithaca-campus-sustainability-plan
http://climateaction.cornell.edu


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste and the published plans in which each objective is included:

1) Develop a comprehensive university waste policy
2) Expand residential composting pilot program

Additional details can be found in the Campus Sustainability Plan and the Climate Action Plan
http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/pages/ithaca-campus-sustainability-plan
http://climateaction.cornell.edu


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Water?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Water and the published plans in which each objective is included:

1) Continue to support installations of water bottle filling stations on campus
2) Support energy-efficient water conservation projects

Additional details can be found in the Campus Sustainability Plan and the Climate Action Plan
http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/pages/ithaca-campus-sustainability-plan
http://climateaction.cornell.edu


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Cornell's diversity goals include achieving a diverse demographic composition that matches the comparison population, for undergraduate students, graduate & professional students, postdoc & academic professionals, tenure-track faculty and administrative& non-academic staff. The engagement goals include the goal to nurture and expand a culture in which students of all identities and backgrounds experience the full range of dynamic and stimulating exchange across difference with others in all facets of their Cornell experience for undergraduate students, graduate & professional students, postdoc & academic professionals, tenure-track faculty, administrative& non-academic staff, off campus constituents, and extended community. The achievement goals include the goal to provide and extend a context in which students of all identities and backgrounds are represented equitably at the highest levels of academic, co-curricular, and extra-curricular accomplishment, and in honors and awards on and off campus for undergraduate students, graduate & professional students, postdoc & academic professionals, tenure-track faculty, administrative& non-academic staff, and off-campus constituents.The inclusion goals include the goal to Provide and cultivate an environment free of bias in which students of all identities and backgrounds feel welcomed, included, and at home in the full range of Cornell’s academic and co-curricular opportunities and services for undergraduate students, graduate & professional students, postdoc & academic professionals, tenure-track faculty, administrative& non-academic staff, off campus constituents, and extended community.

Measurable objectives are detailed in the Toward New Destinations website
Toward New Destinations Planning Document: Annual Initiatives 2016-2017
https://diversity.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/uploaded-files/All.B%202016-17%20Initiatives.pdf

Toward New Destinations Planning Document: Annual Initiatives Outcomes 2016-2017
http://diversity.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/uploaded-files/TND%202016%202017%20Outcomes.pdf


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance and the published plans in which each objective is included:

N/A


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Educational Wellness objectives for students include • Promote the health and well-being of students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional) as a foundation for academic and life success. • Strengthen efforts to attract and educate an excellent educational experience for Cornell undergraduates.

The faculty objectives include
1. Increase the size and quality of faculty in strategically important academic areas.
2.Significantly increase the diversity of faculty through new hires and enhanced retention efforts.
3. Ensure competitive faculty compensation.
4. Develop and implement policies to retain highly valued faculty.
5. Devise and implement new mechanisms or policies for rewarding outstanding faculty and for continually assessing faculty performance as scholars and teachers.
6. Foster an exciting intellectual environment by providing opportunities for more dialogue and engagement.
7. Develop ways to enable faculty to focus their time on being highly productive in their core academic activities (research, scholarship, and creativity; teaching; public engagement).

Staff Objectives include • Retain highly qualified staff in valued positions even as the university reorganizes to address budgetary constraints. • Attract a talented and diverse workforce. • Be an exemplary employer across the entire spectrum of staff. • Provide job skill training to staff in a variety of venues. • Sustain and, wherever possible, enhance
flexibility in the workplace and workforce. • Work with the local community to keep Ithaca and Tompkins County vibrant places to live and work.

Objectives for students are detailed under objective 5 on the following website
http://www.cornell.edu/strategicplan/objectives.cfm#education-more

Objectives for staff are detailed on the following website
http://www.cornell.edu/strategicplan/objectives.cfm#staff-more

Strategic Plan for staff
http://recreation.athletics.cornell.edu/wellness/strategic-plan-annual-report


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Cornell's Institute for Computation Sustainability is dedicated to the vision that Computer scientists can — and should — play a key role in increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the way we manage and allocate our natural resources, while enriching and transforming Computer Science.

The ICS goals include
To inject Computational Thinking into Sustainability that will provide:
new insights into sustainability questions;
new challenges and new methodologies in Computer Science (analogous to Computational Biology)

To establish a new field, Computational Sustainability:
Focused on computational methods for balancing environmental, economic, and societal needs for a sustainable future.

https://computational-sustainability.cis.cornell.edu/


Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body (e.g. a mission statement that specifically includes sustainability and is endorsed by the Board of Trustees)? :
No

The formal statement in support of sustainability:
---

The institution’s definition of sustainability (e.g. as included in a published statement or plan):

As a world leader in sustainability, Cornell University is a committed steward of the Earth and its people. From innovation to public engagement, Cornellians are balancing today’s economic, environmental, and social issues with related needs of the future.


Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter No
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) No
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter No
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment Yes
The Talloires Declaration (TD) No
UN Global Compact No
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) No

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:

Cornell is a signatory of the Second Nature Carbon Commitment with a goal of achieving carbon neutrality on its main Ithaca campus by 2035.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.