Campus Sustainability Integrated Assessment Goals

In September 2011, President Mary Sue Coleman strengthened the university’s 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. More than two years later, the university continues its efforts to reduce its impact in all four areas.

22% the reduction in carbon intensity per passenger trip on U‑M transportation options since 2006

2013 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.

2013 Progress: Reducing the level of greenhouse gas emissions is one of our top challenges. Emission levels increased slightly in 2013; a 28% decrease is currently needed to meet our goal. Approximately 99% of emissions are associated with heating and cooling U-M buildings, with transportation being responsible for the remaining 1% to 2%. While our Planet Blue Operations Team reduced energy use in 137 buildings by 8.4% last year and we now have six LEED-certified buildings, we expect the biggest impact to come from investing in more new energy technology and using renewable energy sources.

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 has been reduced by 22% — the lowest since tracking began in 2006.

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.

Our waste levels have increased slightly this year; a 42% decrease is currently needed to meet our goal by 2025. Looking ahead we are exploring the reduction of food waste from our residence halls and dining facilities through composting, and reducing the amount of waste coming to campus on the front end from our prime vendors.

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. We are currently purchasing 19% of U-M food from local and sustainable sources — 1% away from our goal for 2025. Green and sustainable dining programs have contributed to this progress.

U-M is currently evaluating a more stringent sustainable food guideline which if adopted will change our current position related to goal completion.

GOAL 4 Purchase 19% 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 have been reduced by 26% — the 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.

Campus now has more than 1,300 Planet Blue Ambassadors who have undergone training directly linked to U-M’s sustainability goals in energy, food, waste, water and community. This past year they have completed nearly 20,000 individual sustainable actions, such as using reusable water bottles or turning off their computers at night. Our water bottle initiative has provided a free Planet Blue water bottle to more than 12,800 undergraduate students. The university has more than 110 water filling stations on campus for students, faculty and staff to fill up their bottles. More than 800 staff members are engaging in green operations through the Sustainable Workplace program.

Finally, several thousand students, faculty, and staff have completed the annual Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program survey. Survey results are being widely used to inform campus sustainability behavior and awareness initiatives.

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.