Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.63
Liaison Melissa Maigler
Submission Date July 30, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Stanford University
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Moira Hafer
Sustainability Specialist
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for national, state/provincial, or local public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

Stanford University participates in public policy through its institutes, faculty and graduate student researchers, and general planning. Some of the best examples include:

(1) In May 2013, 48 Stanford scientists joined in presenting California Governor Jerry Brown with a consensus statement urging immediate and drastic action to address climate change. The document was signed by 520 scientists from 44 countries. The statement was delivered at Sustainable Silicon Valley’s Water, Energy, and Smart Technology Summit at the NASA Ames Research Center.

(2) During the Stanford-MIT Game-Changers Workshop on March 7, 2013, energy researchers from Stanford and MIT met with members of Congress and the Obama administration to discuss game-changing energy technologies that will boost America’s long term economic growth and address serious energy challenges, including climate change and reliability of supplies. Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, chair of the Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, also advocated for implementation of a revenue-neutral carbon tax in the U.S. to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

(3) In the 2012-2013 academic year, former U.S. senator and Stanford Law School alumnus Jeff Bingaman joined the Steyer-Taylor Center at Stanford (jointly run by the Law School and Graduate School of Business) as a distinguished fellow to develop policies to assist states and local communities in promoting increased use of clean energy.

(4) In the 2012-2013 academic year, students in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources joint master’s program presented final capstone projects, including presenting an amicus brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to argue that California’s AB 32 should include life cycle analysis for ethanol.

(5) The Precourt Institute for Energy (PIE) runs several centers and programs based around policy advocacy, such as the Bay Area Photovoltaic Consortium, the Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy, and the Stanford Environmental and Energy Policy Analysis Center. These entities participate in ongoing work in sustainability policy advocacy.

(6) Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment is helping leaders from the public and private sectors address sustainability challenges through a series of dialogues and workshops focused on key public policy issues. As a trusted and neutral source of research and information, Woods brings business, government and NGO leaders together with experts from Stanford and other academic institutions to create practical solutions to the world's most pressing environmental challenges. Through these “uncommon dialogues”, the Woods Institute creates a two-way flow of information to help inform Stanford's environmental research. For more information, visit: https://woods.stanford.edu/news-events/dialogues-workshops

(7) The Woods Institute’s Water in the West Program is assisting the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in the development of its western water conservation strategy, which will help determine the foundation’s investment priorities in seven critical ecoregions.

(8) Stanford Law School’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy Program along with the Woods Institute’s Center for Ocean Solutions, organized an international symposium on adaptive marine reserves in the 2012-2013 academic year.

(9) In 2010, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved a "Green Building Ordinance" for unincorporated Santa Clara County (a second phase of the 2008 ordinance of the same name, which only addressed single-family homes). Stanford lies in unincorporated Santa Clara county and is the source of most non-residential and multi-family new construction in this area. Building on its track record of environmental stewardship with respect to water use and sustainable design and construction, Stanford has worked actively with the county since the approval of the Green Building Ordinance to develop alternate means compliance paths for the ordinance. Alternate means allow inclusion of innovative practices and methods that go beyond either CAL Green or LEED to be included in demonstration of building performance equivalent with the county ordinance.

A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years:


A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):

Stanford does not make political donations.

The website URL where information about the institution’s advocacy efforts is available:

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.