Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 85.74
Liaison Moira Hafer
Submission Date June 28, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Stanford University
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Moira Hafer
Sustainability Specialist
Office of 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 Sustainable Development Study, completed in 2009 as a condition of Stanford's General Use Permit, acts as the university's overarching growth plan, approved by the Board of Supervisors of Santa Clara County. Sustainability is integral to this plan.


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:
The website URL where the sustainability plan is publicly available:
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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):

1) R&DE Stanford Dining Sustainable Purchasing Standards - not published online but can be referenced in the Sustainable Dining credit
2) Habitat Conservation Plan - http://hcp.stanford.edu/
3) Water Conservation, Reuse and Recycling Master Plan - https://suwater.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/finalstanfordconservation_recommended_plan10_16_0331.pdf
4) Cardinal Service 2020-- https://haas.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/cs2020_milestones.pdf
5) Sustainable Purchasing—Responsibilities of Purchasing and Contracts Department https://web.stanford.edu/group/fms/fingate/staff/buypaying/policy_notes/sustainable_purchase.html#respn_purchasing
6) Retention Guidelines: https://facultydevelopment.stanford.edu/retention-guidelines
7) Statement on Investment Responsibility: https://irsr.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/apirl_mission_and_operational_guidelines_1.pdf


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:

Stanford currently offers over 1,000 sustainability courses and courses that include sustainability, but the Sustainability 3.0 Strategic Plan aims to increase that number further. It specifically states that one objective of the Provost's Committee on sustainability is to ensure that sustainability continues to be integrated into classes beyond environmental studies. The plan specifically calls for:

1) Sustainability 101 online class for incoming students
2) Interdisciplinary problem-solving courses on sustainability issues, from introductory “thinking matters” and freshman seminars to “helix” sets that are linked and coordinated across the university
3) “Sustainability challenges and impacts” classes that explicitly link education and problem solving within the university as well as with partners outside.
4) Expansion of incentives for faculty participation


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 original Sustainability 3.0 Strategic Plan lays out several objectives for its expansion of sustainability-focused and practical research activities. The specific actions are listed below:

1) Expand Stanford's solution-oriented research activities and link them firmly with decision-making in the university and beyond
2) Develop cross-university collaborations for research and teaching
3) Engage in sustainability research and problem solving around the world

For each of these actions, the plan also delineates specific tactics for achieving the actions, such as engaging the graduate community and linking research with operational decision-making.


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 original Sustainability 3.0 Strategic Plan lays out several objectives for its expansion of community engagement initiatives focused on sustainability. The specific actions are listed below:

1) Enhance annual sustainability publication
2) Integrate interdisciplinary approaches to student life in dorms
3) Engage the broader Stanford campus through new types of outreach
4) Develop and implement training efforts for Stanford residential lease holders
5) Develop and implement training programs for all employees
6) Develop and implement residence-based training programs
7) Enhance sustainability activities during New Student Orientation
8) Develop and implement "best practices" for events
9) Establish an annual sustainability event

For each of these actions, the plan also delineates specific tactics for achieving the actions, which have been pursued to date to varying extents. For instance, in 2017, the Office of Sustainability hosted the sixth annual Celebrating Sustainability event on Earth Day, an event that was derived from objective (9) above. Additionally, the Office of Sustainability developed a robust Green Events program, discussed in the Exemplary Practice portion of this report, to address objective (8) above. Lastly, Stanford now offers a series of sustainability trainings through both Stanford's STARS training program and the Health Improvement Program, as discussed in the Staff Professional Development credit to address objective (5) above.


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:

Sustainability offerings are integrated into each component of the new Cardinal Service offerings through the Haas Center for Public Service as described in the Cardinal Service 2020 plan listed above. These program offerings are: Cardinal Quarter, Cardinal Commitment, Cardinal Courses, and Cardinal Careers. Sustainability as an element of the Cardinal Service program is specifically described in the Pathways of Public Service and Civic Engagement section of this plan. The specific objectives for each of these Cardinal Service program components for the year 2020 are described in the 2020 Milestones section of this plan.


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:

Stanford's original Energy and Climate Plan was released in 2009, establishing the three key areas of focus for energy and emissions reductions: new construction, existing buildings, and the campus energy system. The plan was subsequently updated in 2013 and 2015 as state and national policies changed and Stanford adapted its policies and practices in these three key areas. A summary of the Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) project, which is the primary component of the Energy and Climate Plan that addresses Air & Climate, is provided below. Summaries of the other two components (new construction and existing buildings) are provided in the Buildings category.

STANFORD ENERGY SYSTEM INNOVATIONS (SESI)
Between 1987 and 2015, Stanford relied on a natural gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant for virtually all its energy demand. Although efficient, its fossil-fuel based source caused the CHP to produce 90% of Stanford’s GHG emissions and consume 25% of the campus’ potable water supply. As a result, Stanford’s GHG reduction strategy focused primarily on transforming the university’s energy supply through a new Central Energy Facility (CEF).

The new CEF, which came online in April 2015, includes three large water tanks for thermal energy storage and a high voltage substation that receives electricity from the grid. A key feature of the CEF is an innovative heat recovery system that takes advantage of Stanford’s overlap in heating and cooling needs. In addition to the CEF, the SESI project converted the heat supply of all buildings from steam to hot water. This new system is 70% more efficient than the CHP plant. The efficiencies gained from the new CEF and hot water conversion, along with the introduction of a 67 MW off-site solar plant and 4.5 MW of on-site solar, will reduce the university’s overall GHG emissions by approximately 68% between 2011 and 2017.


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:

As described in the Energy and Climate Plan, two of Stanford's key strategies for reducing campus energy consumption pertain to the construction of new high-performance buildings as the campus continues to grow and retrofits to existing buildings through a number of retrofit and recommissioning programs. Both are described in more detail below.


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:

All three key components of the Energy and Climate Plan (new construction, existing buildings, and the campus energy system) address reductions in energy use on campus. Refer to the summaries in the Air & Climate and Buildings categories for descriptions of the specific strategies and objectives that fall within each of these categories.


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 R&DE Stanford Dining Sustainable Purchasing Standards guide all purchases for Stanford dining halls and catering services. These are reviewed on an annual basis by the Sustainable Food Program Manager. The following strategic objectives are published for the Sustainable Food Program:

1) Develop additional food-related curricula with faculty that explore theoretical frameworks through the lens of meaningful, practical, and hands-on experiences
2) Continue to design awareness events and ongoing sustainability campaigns that align with and support the program’s strategic partners
3) Expand opportunities for students to design, implement, and manage Sustainable Food Program initiative
4) Establish an ongoing initiative with faculty, researchers and student groups to implement creative design solutions that promote and encourage healthy and sustainable eating habits and behaviors in dining halls
5) Fully integrate culinary standards and sustainable food purchasing metrics into internal reporting processes
6) Achieve 100 percent transparency for all food purchases, including origin, production method, ownership structure and labor practices.

Additionally, a master plan for campus restaurants, cafes, and retail food services at Stanford was developed in 2006 based on a study performed by a consultant on the current situation of campus restaurants, cafes, and retail food services at Stanford. The goals of the master plan were to:
1) Understand the impact of adding new retail locations as desired by various academic constituencies
2) Improve resource utilization (space & capital)
3) Provide a “level playing field” and platform for service provider success.

Key findings in performing market research for the master plan were that the campus community (especially faculty, staff, and graduate students) were looking for healthier and less expensive food options. Accordingly, the Advisory Committee, reporting to the Provost, was formed to provide outreach, education, management tools, and contract guidelines to the campus community. In 2014, the Provost’s Committee on Sustainability evaluated methods of integrating standardized recycling and composting protocols into these café contracts.


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:

Stanford's Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), completed in December 2011 and formally released with the final National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document in November 2012, establishes a comprehensive conservation program that protects, restores and enhances habitat areas; monitors and reports on covered species populations; and avoids and minimizes impacts on species and their habitats. The HCP also provides major new commitments of land protection, personnel, and resources dedicated to habitat conservation. The goals of the HCP include: (1) comply with the federal Endangered Species Act; (2) support Stanford's mission as a research and teaching institution; (3) coordinate multiple conservation actions; and (4) provide a 50-year framework to plan for future land use and to promote all phases of conservation. Stanford's habitat conservation strategies include: (1) concentrate conservation efforts in high-priority areas; (2) establish long-term habitat protection; (3) protect and restore riparian areas; (4) enhance habitat areas; (5) implement a conservation credit system; and (6) perform monitoring and adaptive management practices. http://hcp.stanford.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 R&DE Stanford Dining Sustainable Purchasing Standards guide all purchases for Stanford dining halls and catering services. These are reviewed on an annual basis by the Sustainable Food Program Manager and new purchasing objectives are added each year accordingly.

Additionally, Stanford’s Procurement Department made the following commitments towards sustainability in 2011:

1. Implement Campus Wide Programs (CWA)
2. Review all contracts for Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP)
3. Consult with all departments and communicate industry changes
4. Require the use of recycled materials and products in RFP’s where applicable
5. Purchase from suppliers that provide EPP products and services
6. Seek new suppliers and work with existing suppliers to reduce waste in packaging
7. Use cost/benefit analysis and life cycle cost when sourcing
8. Make suppliers aware of our commitments
9. Develop tools to track and measure our effort
10. Utilize the sustainable Procurement checklist
11. Participate in training to increase campus awareness

These commitments are outlined on the Sustainable Purchasing website in the “Responsibilities of Purchasing and Contracts Department” section. A major component of the Procurement Department’s plan for enforcing these commitments has been to conduct a robust spend analysis of all Stanford purchases that benchmarks the sustainability components, among many other benefits. Some specific examples include benchmarking sustainable office supply purchases and lab supply purchases. The benchmarking initiatives in these categories then further inform Stanford’s sustainable purchasing guidelines and ensure that the guidelines remain relevant and data-driven.


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 Development Study, in conjunction with Stanford's General Use Permit, puts forth a plan for "no net new trips" to and from Stanford's campus during peak commuting hours in order to reduce congestion on campus and within the surrounding area. To accomplish this major objective, Stanford's Parking & Transportation program has established a robust Transportation Demand Management program that focuses on implementation of bike programs, promotion of alternative transportation, and the ongoing Commute Club for employees who do not drive alone to work. These programs are described in more detail in the Support for Sustainable Transportation credit.


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:

Stanford has set the goal of 75% waste diversion by 2020 in conjunction with California's state-wide goal. There are many programs currently in place to support this goal, as discussed in the Waste Minimization and Diversion credit.

The Sustainability 3.0 Strategic Plan presents several objectives to help Stanford achieve its diversion goal, such as:
1) Create a deliberate waste and sustainability plan and implementation programs for the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation
2) Develop and implement Green Event practices and guidelines
3) Develop and implement sustainability training programs

For each of these actions, the plan also delineates specific tactics for achieving the actions, which have been pursued to date to varying extents. For instance, the Office of Sustainability launched the Green Events program in 2014, which was derived specifically to address objective (2) above, and the Cardinal Green Athletics program in 2015 to address objective (1) above. Lastly, Stanford now offers a series of sustainability trainings through both Stanford's STARS training program and the Health Improvement Program. The most popular of these is a waste training that is now offered on demand to various groups on campus, as discussed in the Staff Professional Development credit and thus addressing objective number (3) above.


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:

The Water Conservation, Reuse and Recycling Master Plan was developed in 2003 based on a comprehensive study of Stanford’s water use trends. It considers domestic water from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Stanford’s Lake Water System, and reclaimed water availability, and it considers both existing water conservation programs at the time and projected water use trends both campus-wide and by department to determine appropriate future water conservation, reuse, and recycling measures. The master plan lays out a total of 14 feasible water efficiency measures, many of which have been implemented to date. For instance, ultra-low flush toilet replacement, showerhead retrofits and urinal replacement were the top three recommendations, all of which have been implemented by Stanford and have contributed to the 47% decrease in potable water consumption since 2000. Additional steps in the master plan include Faculty/Staff Housing Water Audits and converting the football practice fields to lake (non-potable) water irrigation, a measure that is currently being considered.


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:

In 2017, Stanford submitted a strategic growth plan to Santa Clara County for an updated General Use Permit to authorize the next phase of campus land use in the coming years. The process of compiling the General Use Permit application involves internal examination of the university’s academic and space needs as well as formal consultation with neighbors and community partners. The General Use Permit includes specific conditions to minimize impacts of Stanford’s development through methods such as sustainable growth and contributing to regional affordability. In the area of affordability specifically, this new plan includes several new on-campus housing developments for Stanford undergraduates, graduates, faculty and staff. This allows the university to both contribute to housing affordability in the region by providing additional supply and reduce traffic congestion since more Stanford community members will have the opportunity to live on or near campus. Stanford's specific proposed objective is to construct 3,150 net new on-campus housing units for students, faculty, and staff between 2018 and 2035. Stanford discusses more thoroughly how these initiatives will directly address affordability in the document linked above.

Stanford University also maintains several diversity plans. Each diversity office at Stanford has its own mission and objectives that complement one another. As one example, Stanford has released Retention Guidelines that act as a formal plan for retaining faculty members who bring excellence and add diversity (broadly defined) and list Stanford’s strategies and objectives for retention of said faculty. Stanford recognizes that the commitment to increasing faculty diversity does not end upon the appointment of a new faculty member. Advancing and retaining our current faculty, including those who add diversity to our campus, is just as important to enhancing the quality and diversity of our faculty as is recruiting them. The measurable objectives include:

1) Continually evaluate gender and race/ethnicity in faculty appointments, promotions, and resignations and address apparent race/ethnicity or gender-associated disparities.
2) Consistently assess faculty quality of life through surveys
3) Monitor and identify potential retention risks
4) Show sensitivity to the varied and potentially overwhelming experiences of faculty from underrepresented groups
5) Provide recognition for outstanding performance
6) Conduct periodic salary reviews and evaluation of non-salary forms of compensation
7) Give all faculty the opportunity to voice concerns through feedback forums


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

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

Considering the views of the campus community has long been part of Stanford's approach to considering questions relating to the responsible investment of the university's endowment. Stanford has had an investment responsibility policy - the Statement on Investment Responsibility - since 1971, which has been amended several times since. Thus, the Statement on Investment Responsibility acts as a formal plan for sustainable investment on campus, with each amendment adjusting the strategies and objectives of Stanford's overarching sustainable investment initiatives. In that same year, the University formed a committee consisting of members from the Stanford community to discuss and provide input on investment responsibility issues at Stanford. The committee is known as the Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility (APIRL) and implements the Statement on Investment Responsibility.

In 2015, Stanford's Board of Trustees began a strategic planning process to increase the clarity and responsiveness of Stanford's sustainable investment policies and committees. In September 2015, Stanford made its most recent amendment to the Statement on Investment Responsibility, saying in a Stanford News article that "the previous statement had become too cluttered with procedural details instead of serving as an overarching statement of principles. In addition, they said the statement needed to provide greater clarity about the board’s thinking on investment responsibility questions and the conditions under which trustees would consider divestment to be an appropriate action."

With the updated statement, the trustees delegated responsibility to the president for establishing a new university office and the advisory panel to deliberate on investment responsibility issues. The new structure continued to include the Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility, but it also established a new staff position that would help serve as a central coordinating point for everyone involved in these important discussions.The updated statement is linked above.

The new Office of Investment Responsibility Stakeholder Relations (IRSR) was the result of this strategic planning process conducted by Stanford's Board of Trustees. IRSR's mission is to enhance Stanford's ability to manage and engage with the campus community on issues of investment responsibility. Reporting to the President's Office, IRSR serves as a single point of contact for the campus community and a liaison to university leadership, while leading strategic planning initiatives related to investment, such as the Annual Investment Responsibility Town Hall Meeting. IRSR's own measurable objectives include:

1) Streamlining the process for community members to submit requests for consideration. To accomplish this goal, IRSR has set up an online system for submitting Requests for Review. IRSR then fields those requests and passes them on to the APIRL, once complete, for evaluation.

2) Meeting with student groups who have submitted or are interested in submitting requests in order to increase the clarity and transparency of the process.

3) Educating students about investment responsibility policies and practices at Stanford

4) Hosting an annual Town Hall to give Stanford community members the opportunity to discuss investment responsibility issues with APIRL

More information about IRSR is available at https://irsr.stanford.edu/


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:

Stanford's Health Improvement Program provides Stanford employees, families, retirees, and surrounding communities with tools to improve their health. The Health Improvement Program plan can be found online here: http://med.stanford.edu/hip/about/mission.html.

The measurable objectives of the Health Improvement Program include:

1) Serve as an organizational role model in the field of health promotion.
2) With a strong foundation in science, use best practices to develop and deliver program offerings
3) Promote self-efficacy as the key to achieving health goals.
4) Support a holistic view of wellness.
5) Believe that program participants can serve as effective “agents of change.”
6) Respect the diversity of the individuals served.
7) Encourage participants to accept their current levels of wellness and lifestyle behaviors as they work along a continuum of readiness towards optimal health.
8) Approach health from a non-judgmental viewpoint.
9) Advocate a gradual approach to support sustainable behavior change.
10) Be a collaborative organization.
11) Remove barriers to wellness.
12) Empower individuals to make educated choices concerning their lifestyle behaviors and their use of the medical system.
13) Demonstrate the impact of health promotion programs.
14) Support the missions of the Stanford Prevention Research Center (SPRC), Stanford Department of Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine, and Stanford University.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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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)? :
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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):
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Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter ---
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) ---
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter ---
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment ---
The Talloires Declaration (TD) ---
UN Global Compact ---
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) ---

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Currently, Stanford is engaging in a new long-range planning process launched in Spring 2017 by Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell. The new planning process invites campus collaboration in creating a shared vision for the university for the next 10 to 15 years and beyond by soliciting proposals and ideas from all Stanford community members, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The ideas may address the areas of education, research, our community, and/or beyond Stanford. The process will not be complete until early 2018, but new ideas and plans will likely arise from this process that address many aspects of the university, including sustainability.

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.