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UB earns kudos for engaging WNY business community in sustainability efforts

AASHE

Members of the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable discuss different sustainability strategies at the Sustainability, Management and Resource Tradeshow at UB.

Published October 26, 2016

UB has been highlighted in the 2016 Sustainable Campus Index in the Public Engagement section for its efforts in advancing sustainability in higher education.

The 2016 Sustainable Campus Index, a publication of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from colleges and universities that submitted a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) report in the 12 months prior to July 1, 2016.

UB was mentioned specifically for the partnership it created with Erie County and area business leaders to form the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable, a group of nearly 50 businesses that works to advance green practices among businesses in the region. It was formed in 2014 following a year’s worth of stakeholder engagement that included focus groups, interviews and other outreach to key business leaders.

Membership in the roundtable requires a signed pledge from the highest level of the organization and the creation of a plan appropriate for the business within 12 months of signing this pledge of support. Since the group launched, 21 sustainability plans have been posted on the website.

“The University at Buffalo’s participation in STARS and recent accomplishments in the area of public engagement demonstrate significant leadership and commitment to advancing sustainability,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “We are pleased to recognize UB for working to secure a thriving, equitable and ecologically healthy world by incorporating sustainability into campus operations, administration, engagement and academics.”

STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities around the world to measure their performance in sustainability. AASHE member institutions can submit reports that outline their sustainability achievements and goals. The reports are scored and assigned one of four ratings: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.

UB’s report, submitted in September 2015 and available on the STARS website, received a Gold rating.

The past 12 months have seen one success after another for UB’s sustainability efforts. Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized UB with one of three Green Power Partner of the Year awards, and The Princeton Review ranked UB among the nation’s Top 50 Green Colleges. In May, UB was named one of three winners of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Energy to Lead competition.