Sustainability

At Harvard, we believe universities have a special role and responsibility to confront the global challenges of climate change and sustainable development.

On campus, we’re accomplishing this by modeling an institutional pathway to a healthier, fossil fuel-free community. It is a conscious choice to put into practice what our students, faculty, and staff are learning through research that occurs across disciplines and throughout the world. Employees can implement changes in their workplaces that have impact, and also have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty and students to use the campus as a living lab to pilot and prove promising new solutions.

The Office for Sustainability partners with Schools and departments across the University to set and achieve goals for a more sustainable campus, and provides tools and resources that help fuel discovery, research, and action.

Harvard’s Commitment

Harvard’s Sustainability Plan, adopted in 2014, aligns Harvard’s decentralized campus around a holistic vision of enhancing well-being and sets clear University-wide goals and priorities in the areas of emissions and energy, campus operations, nature and ecosystems, health and well-being, and culture and learning.

In 2018, President Faust announced our most ambitious commitment to date – climate action goals to be fossil fuel-free by 2050 and fossil fuel-neutral by 2026. These goals build on our past progress of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions 30% from 2006–2016. Tackling climate change on campus has resulted in an unprecedented level of “One Harvard” collaboration, bringing together students, faculty, and staff, and allowing for significant progress against our goals:

The Essential Role of Employees

Employees find that they can play an especially important role in generating solutions that lead to real results, and many find that becoming involved in sustainability provides them with leadership and professional development opportunities.

Sustainability champions are highlighted and recognized annually at various community-building events, through the Harvard Heroes program as well as at events hosted by the Office for Sustainability.

Ways to get involved

  1. Sign up for the monthly sustainability email newsletter featuring tips, news, and events.
  2. Join a Green Team. These groups are dedicated to finding innovative ways to make their department, School, or office more sustainable.
  3. Green your office. The Green Office Program is a step-by-step, points-based program for creating a more sustainable workplace.
  4. Explore tools and resources on green.harvard.edu for ideas on how to create local change.