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Campus Sustainability Integrated Assessment Goals

In September 2011, President Mary Sue Coleman strengthened the university’s existing long standing commitment to sustainability by announcing ambitious goals to be achieved by 2025 in the following four main areas: climate action, waste prevention, healthy environments and community awareness. The goals serve as a guide for the future as the university continues to grow as a campus and explores innovative ways to create balance between operations and their impact on the environment. In just one year, the university has achieved notable accomplishments in all four areas.

22% the amount carbon intensity of passenger trips on U‑M transportation options have decreased since 2006

2012 Sustainability Goal Progress

Climate Action

We will pursue energy efficiency and fiscally-responsible energy sourcing strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions toward long-term carbon neutrality.

2012 Progress: While extensive growth and new construction challenged us on overall reduction in emissions, green house gas emissions were mitigated by a range of actions including our North Campus Chiller Plant expansion, which helped us avoid electricity purchases that would have added more than 1,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. We also added four LEED certified buildings; wind, thermal and solar energy projects; and undertook energy conservation measures that took another 1,000 metric tons per year.

GOAL 1 Reduce scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 25%.

Climate Action

We will pursue energy efficiency and fiscally-responsible energy sourcing strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions toward long-term carbon neutrality.

The carbon intensity of passenger trips on U‑M transportation options was reduced to its lowest since tracking began in 2006. We now need additional reductions of just 11% to reach our goal.

GOAL 2 Decrease carbon intensity of passenger trips on U‑M transportation options by 30%.

Waste Prevention

We will pursue purchasing, reuse, recycling, and composting strategies toward long-term waste eradication.

Student residence hall programs, zero waste events and composting are contributing to reduction and waste avoidance, which is challenging during times of campus growth and construction. More work needs to be done. The waste tonnage diverted to disposal facilities now needs to be reduced by 39% to reach our goal by 2025.

GOAL 3 Reduce waste tonnage diverted to disposal facilities by 40%.

Healthy Environments

We will pursue land and water management, built environment, and product sourcing strategies toward improving the health of ecosystems and communities.

U-M Sustainable Food Purchasing Guidelines were established to help define and promote sustainable food purchasing practices on campus. An estimated 10% of food purchases now meet the guidelines marking the halfway point to our goal for 2025. Green and sustainable dining program have contributed to this progress.

GOAL 4 Purchase 20% of U‑M food in accordance with U‑M Sustainable Food Purchasing Guidelines.

Healthy Environments

We will pursue land and water management, built environment, and product sourcing strategies toward improving the health of ecosystems and communities.

Land management chemicals used on campus now need to be reduced by an additional 19% to reach our goal. Current levels are at their lowest since tracking began in 2006.

GOAL 5 Protect Huron River water quality by reducing runoff from impervious surfaces and reducing the volume of land management chemicals used on campus by 40%.

Community Awareness

We will pursue stakeholder engagement, education, and evaluation strategies toward a campus-wide ethic of sustainability.

Several new programs were introduced in 2012, including the Planet Blue Ambassadors online certification program with training directly linked to U-M’s sustainability goals in energy, food, waste, water and community. A water bottle initiative was also launched providing a free Planet Blue water bottle to incoming first year undergraduates with behavior change surveys included in the project to track results. And, more than 4,000 University of Michigan students and 1,500 faculty and staff members have been surveyed about sustainability issues and their behaviors as part of Sustainability Cultural Indicators Project, a partnership led by U-M’s Graham Sustainability Institute and the Institute for Social Research.

GOAL 6 No formal goal adopted, but U‑M will invest in programs to educate our community, track behavior, and report progress over time.

Guiding Principle: Broad philosophy guiding long-range strategy through changing circumstances.
2025 Goal: Time-bound, quantifiable objective aligned with each guiding principle where progress is measured from a 2006 baseline.