Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 85.72
Liaison Kira Stoll
Submission Date March 4, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of California, Berkeley
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Mikayla Tran
SDG & OS Engagement Fellow
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in curriculum and/or research?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to academics and the plan(s) in which they are published:
UC Berkeley’s 2018 Strategic Academic Plan outlines signature initiatives that analyze the critical issues and challenges facing our state, our nation, and our world that Berkeley is particularly well suited to address. One of the six signature initiatives is Environmental Change, Sustainability, and Justice.

The initiative states: Many of the greatest economic, societal, and political challenges of our century revolve around environmental issues, including energy, climate change, water, land use and scarcity, food production, resource extraction, biodiversity loss, diseases, and human health. This initiative proposes a wide coordination of units—stretching from the humanities and social sciences to STEM and the professional schools—to examine, predict, and mitigate these challenges, and in the process become an international leader in solution-based scholarship that fosters societal change.

The campus is activating this signature environmental initiative through its latest capital campaign, Light the Way. Leads for this initiative also share with potential contributors information on planning efforts for developing a zero-carbon campus energy system.

Example objectives include:

- By 2028, as measured by publications, citations, and awards, UC Berkeley is considered the global center for research and teaching combining the creation of Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Sensing (DAIRS) technologies with critical studies of the effects of DAIRS and related technologies on education, work, income inequality, health, justice, culture, and other aspects of society.
- By 2028, as measured by innovations in undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education curricula, UC Berkeley is recognized as a leader is applying DAIRS and related technologies to transform how students learn, what they learn, and how research is done—how human, collective, and artificial intelligence come together to support the world’s premier public university in the 21st century.




UC Berkeley's 2020 Sustainability Plan includes an introduction of support from the UC Berkeley Chancellor and has a section dedicated to Academics & Research. Goals in this section emphasize the integration of sustainability into learning opportunities to increase sustainability literacy amongst students and enhance visibility of relevant courses and activities.

Measurable objectives for the University of California & Berkeley campus include:
- Maintain a certified Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) report and achieve a Silver STARS rating and strive for Gold by 2023
- Maximize the points available in the Academics & Research categories of STARS


Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address student, employee, or community engagement for sustainability?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to engagement and the plan(s) in which they are published:
UC Berkeley’s Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC) adopted a 2017-2022 strategic plan that includes measurable objectives such as expanding access and opportunities for co-curricular learning opportunities and developing institutional pathways for clubs and student groups to increase intersectional engagement with SERC.

Strategic Goal 2: Community Engagement aims to strengthen programs and resources to deepen engagement in the sustainability community. The strategic plan lists three strategic objectives under this goal:
2.1: Develop institutional pathways for clubs and student groups to increase intersectional engagement at SERC
2.2: Foster a sense of unity within the community by providing recreational and professional activities
2.3: Strengthen SERC Alumni network

Strategic Goal 3.2 also aims to provide students a connection to off-campus sustainability endeavors and organizations.

The plan can be seen at: https://serc.berkeley.edu/strategic-plan/

About SERC: The resource center is an official functional unit of the student affairs administration. Among its duties is handing out Green Initiative Fund money raised from student fees.

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in operations?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to operations and the plan(s) in which they are published:
UC Berkeley's 2020 Sustainability Plan includes a section on Climate & Resiliency which outlines plans to "accelerate a just and equitable transition to a resilient, clean energy, and zero carbon campus." UC Berkeley has already set ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and identified multiple strategies for achieving the target.

Waste goals for UC:
- Achieve zero waste by prioritizing reduce, reuse, and then recycle and compost (or other forms of organic recycling) by the following:oReduce 25% per capita from FY 2015/16 levels by 2025
- Reduce 50% per capita from FY 2015/16 levels by 2030
- Divert 90% of municipal solid waste from the landfill
- By 2020, prohibit the sale, procurement or distribution of packaging foam, such as food containers and packaging material, other than that utilized for laboratory supply or medical packaging and products
- By end of calendar year 2020 eliminate plastic bags in retail and foodservice
- By 2023 eliminate single use plastic foodware and beverage bottles in food service. Phase out single use plastic beverage bottles in other venues/services at contract renewal (see UC Berkeley accelerated target dates)
- By 2023, update campus zero waste plans to identify next steps towards elimination of non-essential single use plastics by 2030

UC Berkeley-specific waste goals:
- By July 1, 2021 (accelerated goal): Replace single-use plastic foodware including accessory items with locally compostables or resusables; dine-in facilities to provide reusable foodware items with food consumed on-site
- Eliminate all non-essential single use plastic for which there is a viable alternative by end of calendar year 2030

UC goals for food & dining:
- By 2030, 25% of food spend will be on sustainable food* products while maintaining accessibility and affordability for all students
- Each campus and health location shall strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of their food purchases through globally-inspired, culturally-acceptable plant-forward menus. By 2020, establish a baseline and goal

Moreover, the Zero Carbon by 2050 or Sooner Pathway lists the following strategies:
- By 2023 set interim milestones for achieving carbon neutrality from UC Berkeley
expanded scope 3 sources (beyond UC defined) by 2050 or sooner. Scope 3 includes
commute, air travel, water and waste related emissions.
- Support the planning and efforts to update the main campus heating, cooling and
power system to operate primarily on clean electricity by 2030. This major capital
improvement can reduce campus emissions by 60-80%.
- Reduce short-lived climate pollutants including black carbon and methane.
- Support the phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 2030.
- Engage in efforts to increase telework options for employees and improve campus
space utilization.


The 2020 Green Labs Action Plan identifies near-term initiatives and responsibilities as well as longer-range ideas for Green Labs. The Green Labs Program was created to improve sustainable practices within research and teaching labs on campus with the goal to incorporate the use of water reduction, waste elimination and energy saving technology, along with actions and procurement strategies for researchers, instructors, and lab spaces.

Every year Green Labs will focus on manageable projects within key areas identified by the program to aid the larger theme of sustainability that accomplishes water, energy or waste reduction in campus labs. Key actions & targets for 2020-2022 are outlined in the Green Labs Action Plan, for example:
- Certify five new labs annually
- Standardize bin municipal solid waste infrastructure and signage, including hazardous waste in labs and add to Campus Design Standards by 2021
- Develop initial lab specific strategies to phase-out non-essential single use plastics by 2022


The 2019 Zero Waste Plan outlines a variety of different strategies and approaches to achieve zero waste. The University of California’s Zero Waste by 2020 goal set forward the goal of a 50% diversion rate by 2008, 75% by 2012, and zero waste by 2020 (which is currently defined as a minimum of a 90% diversion rate of municipal solid waste).

Cal Zero Waste intends to expand and grow the current portfolio of programs to incorporate beyond what is included now as we move beyond 2020. For example, the Refreshing Refills Program will include refillable items beyond coffee mugs and water bottles; Zero Waste October will include more interactive and engagement elements; Cal Zero Waste will facilitate more conversations with Capital Projects to increase the number of TRUE Zero Waste Certification projects. Cal Zero Waste will also facilitate more conversations between procurement and also Green Labs to work on zero waste in laboratories and research spaces on campus. The program expansions will continue UC Berkeley’s efforts towards the zero waste by 2020 goal and beyond.


The 2020 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) describes a framework for land use and investment to meet the academic goals and objectives of the University. The companion Environmental Impact Report provides information on the environmental implications of the LRDP and includes an extended treatment of potential impacts and mitigation best practices. Importantly, the LRDP delineates a comprehensive approach for achieving a sustainable campus.

Goal: Plan every new project to serve as a model of resource conservation and environmental stewardship (LRDP)

Key Strategies:
- Implement an ongoing program of investment to restore and renew the campus park landscape; implement a program of strategic investment in new and enhanced campus open park spaces. (LRDP)
- Continue to manage runoff into storm drain systems such that the aggregate effect of projects implementing the 2020 LRDP is no net increase in runoff over existing conditions. (LRDP EIR)
- Continue to revise and implement the Strawberry Creek Management Plan (SCMP) to include recommendations for habitat restoration and enhancement along specific segments of the creek. (LRDP EIR)
- Continue implementing an urban runoff management program as published in the Strawberry Creek Management Plan. (LRDP EIR)
- Manage the natural preserves based on ecological principles, including replacing invasive exotic plants with native plants suited to this biotic zone, replacing unhealthy plants and plants at the ends of their natural lives, and preserving and enhancing the habitat value of the zone. (LRDP)


University of California sustainable purchasing requirements, as found in the UC Sustainable Practices Policy, are included below. UC Berkeley's Sustainability Plan requires the campus follow these larger UC-wide purchasing guidelines.

- 100% compliance with Required Level Green Spend criteria within three(3) fiscal years of the addition of those products and/or product categories to the Guidelines.
- 25% Green Spend as a total percentage of spend per product category; target to be reached within three (3) fiscal years after a category is added to the Guidelines.
- 25% Economically and Socially Responsible Spend as a total percentage of addressable spend; target to be reached within five (5) fiscal years of adoption of this section in the Guidelines.

Each University’s Procurement department will integrate sustainability into its processes and practices, including competitive solicitations, in order to satisfy the sustainable purchasing goals outlined above for products, as well as for the procurement of services.

The University will do so by:
a. Allocating a minimum of 15% of the points utilized in solicitation evaluations to sustainability criteria. Criteria may include, but is not limited to, sustainable product attributes, supplier diversity, supplier practices, contributions to health and wellbeing, and materials safety.


Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address diversity, equity, and inclusion; sustainable investment/finance; or wellbeing?:

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to administration and the plan(s) in which they are published:
UC Berkeley's 2020 Sustainability Plan includes a section on Health & Sustainability, which aims to "promote well-being and enhance access to sustainable and healthy options for all." A key wellness strategy under this section includes: Identify and implement additional mental health practices and healing resources for climate and environmental related anxiety and concerns.

The Culture & Learning section of the 2020 Sustainability Plan aims to "create a diverse and inclusive campus culture of sustainability that celebrates all narratives and nurtures and empowers problem solving, interdisciplinarity, and leadership.” The section reads:

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: UC Berkeley is committed to “removing barriers to belonging” at all levels of the university. Similarly, goals in this section aim to situate environmental and social justice as central pillars of campus sustainability efforts while cultivating an authentic sense of belonging to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion in sustainability spaces for all at UC Berkeley.

Key DEI strategies include:
- Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability (CACS) and its Working Group on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Sustainability (WGDEIS) will help expand policies, practices and programs to elevate and integrate an intersectional and multi-pronged approach to diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) in campus sustainability initiatives.
- Develop coordinated partnerships with the Division of Equity and Inclusion, Students of Color Environmental Collective (SCEC) and other stakeholders on and beyond campus to advance collective missions.
- Engage with the UC Berkeley Strategic Plan signature initiative efforts on Environmental Sustainability and Justice.
- Advocate for the implementation of the UC Berkeley Strategic Plan recommendation to officially adopt a set of Native American land acknowledgment statements to be a foundational fabric of university life and read at official university events.
- Advance DEI and environmental and social justice through the goals and strategies in each category identified in the UC Berkeley Sustainability Plan and the UC Sustainable Practices Policy.
- Participate in the planning efforts and implementation of DEI related sustainable and carbon reduction strategies of the new campus Long Range Development Plan/Environmental Impact Report and Campus Master Plan (expected 2021).

UC Berkeley’s 2018 Strategic Academic Plan outlines signature initiatives that analyze the critical issues and challenges facing our state, our nation, and our world that Berkeley is particularly well suited to address.

Measurable objectives in the area of Diversity and Inclusion are stated below:

- UC Berkeley should become an Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) within ten years.
- Berkeley should take on as a long-term challenge eliminating lack of equal access and success in STEM fields for students, faculty, and researchers from historically underrepresented groups.
- The makeup of UC Berkeley’s faculty and staff should reflect the diverse population of California by integrating evidence-based practices on inclusive and equitable hiring, tenure, and promotion across departments.
- Berkeley should reclaim and expand its position of leadership in providing access to higher education for students with disabilities.



Berkeley's IT professionals work together to provide the tools, data, and infrastructure the campus community needs to continue to grow as the world's greatest public research university.

UC Berkeley's IT Strategic Plan identifies 15 top IT Priority Initiatives for the campus and, equally important, lists for 23 critical campus IT Departments what each department’s top 10 operational and project priorities now are for FY 21. Below is a description of the IT priorities focused on One IT Goal 1: Provide all students the essential tools and data they need to be engaged thinkers and global citizens.

Student Technology Equity: Increase equity in student access to technology needed for the remote educational experience, by providing technology such as laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots, and other peripherals to undergraduate and graduate students with financial need (STEP); and installing wireless coverage in campus family student housing (UVA Wi-Fi Enhancement Project). (Lead: Student Affairs IT with IST-Telecom)


Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :

The institution’s highest guiding document (upload):

Website URL where the institution’s highest guiding document is publicly available:
Which of the following best describes the inclusion of sustainability in the highest guiding document?:
Major theme

The institution's sustainability plan (upload):

Website URL where the institution's sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body?:

The formal statement in support of sustainability:
"The University of California (“University”) is committed to responsible stewardship of resources and to demonstrating leadership in sustainable business practices. The University’s locations should be living laboratories for sustainability, contributing to the research and educational mission of the University, consistent with available funding and safe operational practices. Policy goals are presented below in nine areas of sustainable practices..."

This is the statement from the UC Sustainable Practices Policy. The statement and the policy are endorsed by the UC Regents.


UC Berkeley intends to be a leader on environmental issues and to promote action and awareness through educational and research activities. This commitment is formalized in the “Statement of Our Commitment to the Environment” published in 2007.


The institution’s definition of sustainability:
UC Berkeley defines sustainability as "the ability to meet the needs of the present while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems and without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."


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
Pan-Canadian Protocol for Sustainability No
SDG Accord Yes
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) Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:
The University of California is a signatory of We Are Still In (https://www.wearestillin.com/) & member of the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) (https://secondnature.org/initiative/uc3-coalition/).

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
In February 2021, the campus released its draft 2021 Long Range Development Plan: https://lrdp.berkeley.edu/documents

Information in this field was provided by the UC Berkeley Office of 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.