Governance

Students speaking during a forum

UB students ask questions about the Climate Action Plan at a forum on climate neutrality.

The sustainability efforts at UB are guided by a collection of plans and assessment systems. The Climate Action Plan is our pathway towards climate neutrality. The Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) helps us to monitor our progress every two years. And finally, the American Colleges and Universities Presidents' Climate Commitment holds us to attaining our 2030 goal. 

In 2015, countries around the world adopted a set of goals that would help end poverty, mitigate climate changes, and promote economic growth and prosperity for everyone as part of a sustainable development agenda. These seventeen goals have specific targets to meet over the next fifteen years. 

The University at Buffalo uses these comprehensive goals as a framework for how we look at sustainability on campus. Sustainability is more than just responsible consumption and production, or affordable and clean energy. It's the synergistic impact of all of these goals that leads to resilient communities. 

Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System

The Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

STARS was developed by our higher education colleagues and is administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

Through a course, UB student researchers assist in gathering information from across the university to inform the STARS process and establish the State of UB’s Sustainability.

Faculty and staff involved in the process are being engaged throughout the year to ensure clear communication of our efforts.

The STARS report will indicate a number of our strengths, but also areas where we can improve and continue to reduce our environmental footprint on the future.

Climate Action Plan

The Environmental Stewardship Committee created a climate action plan that defines a path toward climate neutrality for the university.

The plan calls for specific action in areas such as energy, transportation, information technology, materials use and human resources.

The Climate Action Plan guides the work of the Environmental Stewardship Committee in creating one-, three- and five-year plans of action and an overall business case for carbon neutrality at UB.

UB is the size of a small city, with hundreds of buildings and miles of road. We use electricity, fuel and countless other resources to keep our campuses running. Thousands of students, faculty and staff travel here every day.

Our environmental footprint is significant.

But crucially, as an early signatory of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, UB and locally based Ecology and Environment has developed a comprehensive strategic plan to minimize our adverse impact on the environment.

Our Climate Action Plan calls for UB to become climate neutral by 2030.

Second Nature is committed to accelerating climate action in, and through, higher education. They do this by mobilizing a diverse array of higher education institutions to act on bold climate commitments, to scale campus climate initiatives, and to create innovative climate solutions. They align, amplify, and bridge the sector’s efforts with other global leaders to advance urgent climate priorities. As a signatory, UB has used their carbon reporting platform to track progress is becoming carbon neutral. 

American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment

The American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment calls upon its signatories to become climate neutral by an established date. In early 2007, former UB President John B. Simpson signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), adding UB to the list of now more than 670 institutions of higher education nationwide leading society’s response to global climate change.

New York State Executive Order 166

On June 2nd, 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted Executive Order (EO) 166. This states that New York will continue to strive to meet the goals set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by forty percent by 2030 and eighty percent by 2050 from 1990 levels. 

Declaration on University Global Engagement

As universities from around the world, we are committed to educating students who can successfully live and work in our globally connected world and change it for the better. We are also committed to discovering, producing, and sharing new solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. These missions require of universities an openness to—and engagement with—ideas, knowledge, and people from all parts of the world.

Knowledge and innovation is not bound by national borders. This has always been true, but the scope and complexity of today’s challenges make the necessity for global engagement even more critical.

These challenges have come into focus through the United Nations’ adoption of a new global development agenda known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs comprise 17 transformative objectives concerning the most pressing economic, social, and environmental challenges facing the world today. The SDGs set interdependent development priorities that apply to low-, middle-, and high-income countries alike. The SDGs are globally shared objectives that can only be achieved through international cooperation and multi-stakeholder engagement.

HESI Logo

The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative aims to get institutions of higher education to commit to teach sustainable development concepts, encourage research on sustainable development issues, green their campuses, and support sustainability efforts in their communities

UB Sustainability Strategic Plan

In the fall of 2011, UB made a key strategic decision to create a university-wide approach to sustainability by integrating curriculum, operations, research and engagement efforts.  The strategy known as CORE was based on the successful work across many of our peer AAU publics and perhaps best exemplified by the University of New Hampshire.  During the past six years, the university has formed a comprehensive sustainability strategy that works to integrate the very core elements of the public research university including UB’s curriculum, operations, research and engagement.