Planning History

Yale’s first Sustainability Strategic Plan was launched in 2010 with an ambitious set of goals intended to expand upon the University’s greenhouse gas emissions targets first established in 2005. The first plan aimed to ensure that Yale’s environmental citizenship would extend beyond the robust leadership present for over a century in our academic community, with operational policies and practices demonstrating similar leadership. With growing support and commitment from almost every sector of the campus, significant progress was made to advance sustainability on campus.

Major accomplishments achieved as a result of the first plan include:

• 16% reduction in campus greenhouse gas emissions

• 24% reduction in municipal solid waste

• 28% recycling rate

• 95% of dining hall food waste composted

• 37% of dining hall food meeting one of the four sustainable food criteria

• 100% of new on-campus construction and major renovations earning at least Leadership in Energy & Environmental (LEED) Gold certification

In addition to the quantitative goals, the following sustainability management plans were developed and are currently in implementation:

Green Purchasing Guidelines

Stormwater Management Plan (2013–2016)

Water Management Plan (2013–2016)

Water Management Plan Update (2017)

Sustainability Supplement to the Framework for Campus Planning

Yale’s Sustainability Strategic Plan 2013-2016 buildt on the successes of the first plan, addressed areas where additional effort was needed, and included a new model of cost effectiveness. The 25 goals in the Sustainability Strategic Plan 2013-2016 intended to engage all members of the Yale community in advancing a more environmentally friendly, healthier, and financially robust institution.

The Plan was developed with input from a steering committee and team of delegates, and sets goals and objectives in five major areas:

• Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

• Natural and Built Environment

• Materials Management

• Food and Well-Being

• Sustainability Leadership and Capacity Building

An internal companion document includes detailed descriptions of the approaches, projects, responsible departments, and incremental steps for each overall goal and its objectives.

Metrics were collected to determine progress toward meeting the goals, and published in annual Progress Reports

Our third plan to date, the Yale Sustainability Plan 2025, is the result of an 18-month process of reflection and input from the Yale community. The Sustainability Plan 2025 integrates Yale’s academic mission alongside operations, and uses a nine-year timeline which will allow us to be more ambitious.

The Plan’s Vision and nine Ambitions create opportunities to apply academic rigor to enhance our sustainability goals. Each ambition is supported by objectives, and measurable time-bound goals. Some of the more ambitious segments of the plan include:

  • Enriching and enhancing teaching, research, learning, and service that explore and contribute to sustainability solutions
  • Achieving carbon neutrality for Yale by or before 2050
  • Promoting material flow systems that employ use and disposal patterns to information purchasing decisions
  • Supporting diversity and inclusion in local efforts through education and collaboration