Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 85.05
Liaison Careen Arsenault
Submission Date March 5, 2020
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? :
Yes

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

The provost is responsible for strategic planning and budgeting, tenure and promotion, academic and research initiatives, and general academic supervision of the Ithaca campus.

The provost acts as the university’s chief academic officer and chief operations officer, and serves as the president’s first deputy officer. The provost oversees all academic programs and units of the university, other than those reporting to the provost for medical affairs.

In carrying out these responsibilities, the provost works directly with the deans of the colleges, schools, and faculties and with the vice provosts as well as other members of the provost’s executive staff.

Among the provost's 11 key academic initiatives is Radical Collaboration. The focus areas target and elevate strategic, radically collaborative discipline areas that point the way toward the discoveries and solutions of tomorrow: nanoscale science and molecular engineering; genome biology; data science; sustainability; the social sciences; infection biology; and the humanities and arts.

The Sustainability Radical Collaboration charge: Sustainability scholarship embodies the belief that human thriving requires social systems, economic systems, and biodiverse ecosystems that equitably serve humanity now and in the future. It is committed to the idea that satisfying the needs of humans today should not come at the expense of satisfying the needs of future human generations. Transformational societal change at all scales is required, and is as dependent on imagination and changes in attitudes, policies, and institutions as on technological discoveries.

Sustainability scholarship is inherently applied and interdisciplinary, requiring interactions of researchers from the social sciences, natural sciences, humanities, the arts, law, and business. It occupies the intersection of intellectual grand challenges and application—the realm of research often described as Pasteur’s Quadrant. Research questions may often come from public and private decision-makers who desire research-based guidance.

With creative deployment of additional resources and enhanced institutional practices and programs, Cornell can achieve preeminence as the originator of breakthrough sustainability scholarship, and the leading university in contributing to local to global sustainability solutions in practice.

More information on the Radical Collaboration initiative: http://provost.cornell.edu/academic-initiatives/radical-collaboration/


A copy of the strategic plan:
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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:
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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:
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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):

Sustainable Cornell Council Priorities, Working Groups, and key partner initiatives: https://cornell.app.box.com/file/571787503447 slides 45-61 as presented at the annual Cornell Sustainability Leadership Summit and endorsed by the provost in accordance with the SCC charge.

Cornell Master Plan: https://masterplan.cornell.edu/
Diversity Initiatives & Planning Framework
https://diversity.cornell.edu/institutional-initiatives
https://diversity.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/uploaded-files/TND%202016-17%20FINAL%20May%20revision.pdf
Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future Strategic Plan https://www.atkinson.cornell.edu/Assets/ACSF/docs/attachments/ACSF-StrategicPlan-2013.pdf
Engaged Cornell https://engaged.cornell.edu/about/


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:

The Sustainable Cornell Council Education & Engagement Steering Committee priorities and working groups: https://cornell.app.box.com/file/571787503447 slides 51-55

The Climate Action Plan 2016 update report, Options for Achieving a Carbon Neutral Campus by 2035, includes objectives for creating a culture of sustainable behavior and advancing climate literacy for all students, faculty and staff, and ensuring that all students graduate with a basic understanding of climate literacy
https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/options-carbon-neutral-campus
2013 Campus Sustainability Plan - https://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/pages/ithaca-campus-sustainability-plan

Climate Action Plan - http://climateaction.cornell.edu


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, more information is available online at http://provost.cornell.edu/academic-initiatives/radical-collaboration/sustainability/

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 was to develop two or more enduring strategic collaborations with external partners for interdisciplinary research and practical application. By 2020, partnerships have been established with 1) The Sustainability Consortium 2) Oxfam 3) The Nature Conservancy and 4) the Environmental Defense Fund.

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.

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:

The Sustainable Cornell Council Education & Engagement Steering Committee priorities and working groups: https://cornell.app.box.com/file/571787503447 slides 51-55

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

Campus Sustainability Plan - https://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/pages/ithaca-campus-sustainability-plan

Climate Action Plan - http://climateaction.cornell.edu


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 that 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 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://engaged.cornell.edu

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:
https://cce.cornell.edu/about/strategic-plan

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

The Sustainable Cornell Council Carbon Neutral Campus Steering Committee priorities and working groups: https://cornell.app.box.com/file/571787503447 slides 47-50


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, and achieve at least LEED Silver http://climateaction.cornell.edu via https://fcs.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:

The Sustainable Cornell Council Carbon Neutral Campus Steering Committee priorities and working groups: https://cornell.app.box.com/file/571787503447 slides 47-50

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:

The Sustainable Cornell Council Campus Operations Steering Committee priorities and working groups: https://cornell.app.box.com/file/571787503447 slides 57-60

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:

The Sustainable Cornell Council Campus Operations Steering Committee priorities and working groups: https://cornell.app.box.com/file/571787503447 slides 57-60

1) Establish energy-efficient standards based upon Energy Star certification for new purchases and bids.
https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/campus-initiatives/buildings-energy/building-standards

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.
https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/about/connect/news/cornell-purchasing-advance-b-corp-sustainable-purchase-tracking

3) Consider sustainability criteria, including locality and GHG emissions, in the vendor selection process to reduce the environmental footprint of Cornell’s supply chain.
https://sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/campus-initiatives/materials-management/sustainable-purchasing

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:

The Sustainable Cornell Council Campus Operations Steering Committee priorities and working groups: https://cornell.app.box.com/file/571787503447 slides 57-60

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
3) Support development of the SWEEP standard

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 and Inclusion initiatives include
-Build a culture that values transparency, accountability, and communication around issues of diversity and inclusion.
-Develop visible institutional statements and symbols of our priorities, and policies that are well-aligned with them.
-Provide diversity education to all stakeholders.
-Increase faculty diversity and foster faculty commitment to diversity.
-Enhance the student experience to support social belonging and wellness
-Create more opportunities for intergroup interaction
-Recruit and retain a diverse staff workforce
-Partner with the surrounding community on issues of diversity and inclusion
More information online at http://diversity.cornell.edu/institutional-initiatives

Unit level 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:

Cornell's Human Resources team strives to care for all the dimensions of wellbeing to enable employees to be their best at work and beyond. Wellbeing is a multifaceted and continually changing process. Many resources are available to the Cornell community that support all the dimensions of wellbeing defined as Mental > Relationships > Physical > Cultural > Environmental > Occupational > Financial
More information online at https://hr.cornell.edu/wellbeing-perks/seven-dimensions-wellbeing

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/

The Cornell Botanic Gardens strategic plan focuses on connecting plants and peoples. Objectives are to engage with communities and peoples to save plants and their habitats by raising awareness, inspiring action, and sowing messages of hope.

https://www.cornellbotanicgardens.org/strategicplan


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:
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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:
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