UW News

July 1, 2020

University of Washington releases finalized Sustainability Action Plan

UW Sustainability

person riding bike through quad

The University of Washington has finalized its new Sustainability Action Plan, which will guide the university’s efforts during the next five years.

The Sustainability Action Plan includes five guiding principles and 10 measurable targets along with annual actions to reach those targets. Each year, the UW will evaluate the immediate actions needed over the next fiscal year to respond to changing realities and needs across our campuses.

The Sustainability Action Plan represents the work of a cross-university planning team, with UW Facilities Vice President Lou Cariello as the plan’s executive sponsor.

“This Sustainability Action Plan establishes a framework to align the many sustainability actions of our staff, faculty and students,” Cariello said. “The targeted actions, along with measurable targets, provide a means for us to track our progress and ensure we are aligning the many ongoing stewardship actions to support the health of our planet, for the quality of our lives and for future generations.”

The Sustainability Action Plan spans all three UW campuses. The targets go beyond campus operations to include student experience, academic research and equity to address the many aspects of sustainability. The planning team considered equity and financial feasibility when drafting the targets and actions. Input from across the UW community was gathered through online surveys, direct outreach and events throughout the year.

An initial draft of the five-year Sustainability Strategy and proposed actions for the upcoming fiscal year was released on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22. This final Sustainability Action Plan reflects updates based on community input and revisions by the planning team.

The plan’s guiding principles are: ensure students achieve sustainability literacy; choose our research conscientiously; keep equity and inclusion at the center; use resources responsibly; and decarbonize.

The plan’s 10 measurable targets all work toward these principles, with actions to take toward those targets reviewed annually. Responsible parties across the UW will provide the Plan’s Executive Committee and the Environmental Stewardship Committee with updates on the status of the actions.

“Focusing on equity and inclusion is the central theme for implementing the Sustainability Action Plan this first year,” UW Sustainability Director Claudia Frere-Anderson said. “Student voices and diverse viewpoints from our campuses are paramount to advancing the University’s sustainability goals in an equitable manner. We are excited to continue collaborations with many UW groups who are leading the work on environmental and social justice.”

The full Sustainability Action Plan document is available on the plan website green.uw.edu/plan. Data and metrics on the UW’s sustainability efforts and status updates will be publicly available through a new Plan Dashboard on the UW Sustainability site.

Starting autumn quarter, UW Sustainability will begin outreach to the campus community to increase Plan awareness and engagement. Increasing participation with the plan will help shape the next set of annual actions. Details will be posted on the plan website and UW Sustainability’s Facebook page.