Harvard releases updated Sustainability Action Plan

Harvard University’s updated Sustainability Action Plan, launched in May, provides a holistic framework for Harvard to adopt best practices that not only protect the climate and environment but advance a more equitable society and promote the wellbeing of people on our campus and all over the world now and in the future. The interconnections of climate, equity and health shape this Plan and are essential to sustainability at Harvard.

This high-level vision commits Harvard to reimagining the day-to-day practices and operations at Harvard as we move toward Goal Zero – to be fossil fuel-free by 2050 – as well as our bridging goal to become fossil fuel-neutral by 2026. We are reimagining our energy systems, building standards, campus operations and purchases, and the vast research and teaching opportunities in order to create a sustainable future. Harvard has a responsibility and opportunity to leverage the organization’s resources to address past adverse impacts and accelerate positive action on sustainability.

Harvard is actively advancing sustainability research and piloting solutions on campus that can be scaled globally. Drawing on more than three decades of work to advance sustainability at Harvard, the University will engage its faculty, students, and staff across its Schools, Institutes and Business Units—more than 50,000 people—to continue to leverage Harvard’s campus as a living laboratory: inventing, testing, and validating new systems and practices. The University’s exceptional students and faculty are collaborating across disciplines, through initiatives like the Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability, Sustainability Living Lab projects, as well as in classrooms and co-curricular initiatives.

The Sustainability Action Plan was developed collaboratively with the Presidential Committee on Sustainability, the Council of Student Sustainability Leaders, the Office for Sustainability, and hundreds of other community members. The Plan is designed as a living document that will be strengthened over time as the world discovers new technologies, solutions, and strategies. Harvard will track and publicly share its sustainability progress annually, moving toward new goals and bolder timelines whenever possible.

Harvard recognizes its unique responsibility and opportunity to accelerate change. Together, we will reimagine and redefine how we power, how we build, how we operate, and how we lead. We hope you will join us in building a more resilient, sustainable, and equitable community on our campus and beyond.