Confronting the global challenges of climate change and sustainability requires a response across disciplines and across sectors.
In addition to collaborating with other higher education institutions, Harvard is partnering with government, non-profit organizations, and private business to identify solutions and shared opportunities that will lead to lasting change.
Boston Green Ribbon Commission
The Boston Green Ribbon Commission (GRC) was established to provide advice and counsel to the City of Boston on the design and implementation of its Climate Action Plan. Commission members are also working to align the resources of the key sectors, serving as advocates and showing their peers what progress looks like by adopting and promoting leading efficiency and clean energy practices.
Harvard Executive Vice President Katie Lapp serves as Chair of the GRC's Higher Education Working Group. The Harvard Office for Sustainability coordinates the working group activities.
On March 27, 2014, the Boston Green Ribbon Commission Higher Education and Health Care Working Groups hosted the Green Labs Symposium at Harvard, which brought together lab experts from the higher education, health care, and biotech sectors to explore shared challenges and solutions to making our labs more sustainable.
On May 31, 2014, Harvard joined Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh's Mayor's Carbon Cup, along with three other large institutions, by committing one million square feet of building space to a 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 2020.
Cambridge Community Compact for a Sustainable Future
Harvard was a founding signatory of the City of Cambridge’s Community Compact for a Sustainable Future created to leverage the intellectual and entrepreneurial capacity of the public-private sectors in Cambridge to build a healthy, livable, and sustainable future. The compact lays out a clear framework for how Harvard, MIT, and Cambridge, along with other partners, will collectively improve the health and well-being of the Cambridge community by addressing nine key areas of collaboration, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, climate mitigation and adaptation, storm water management, and green tech incubation.
EcoAmerica MomentUS Initiative
Harvard is a member of the EcoAmerica MomentUS, a new strategic organizing and communications initiative designed to build a game-changing increase in personal and institutional support for climate change solutions by using local and regional impacts and preparedness to engage the breadth of the American public in mitigation.
On September 16, 2014, MomentUS launched Solution Generation, a national coalition of higher education partners committed to leading by example and engaging our campus communities on climate solutions. The Director of Harvard’s Office for Sustainability, Heather Henriksen, serves on the Solution Generation Executive Committee. The Committee, comprised of 20 higher education leaders from around the country, believes that colleges and universities have the power to lead society on climate change today. Harvard's efforts to model an institutional pathway to a more sustainable campus was also a featured success story on the coalition’s website. Read more
International Sustainable Campus Network
Harvard is a charter signatory to the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN). The mission of the ISCN is to provide a global forum to support leading colleges, universities, and corporate campuses in the exchange of information, ideas, and best practices for achieving sustainable campus operations and integrating sustainability in research and teaching. Heather Henriksen, Director of the Office for Sustainability, co-chairs the ISCN’s Campus-wide planning and target-setting sustainability working group. In June 2014, Harvard co-hosted the ISCN's annual conference.
Sustainability Working Group, Council of Ivy Presidents
Harvard actively participates in the Sustainability Working Group for the Council of Ivy Presidents and the Harvard Office for Sustainability regularly meets with peers at other institutions as part of the Ivy Plus Sustainability Working Group to share best practices and seek common solutions to sustainability challenges.
Northeast Campus Sustainability Consortium
The Northeast Campus Sustainability Consortium (NECSC) was established in October 2004 to advance education and action for sustainable development on university campuses in the northeast and maritime region. Organized around the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, the NECSC members have committed to an annual meeting that advances campus sustainability by providing close networking opportunities, professional development, and access to the areas' vibrant and growing college and university sustainability practitioner community.
The NECSC represents more than forty institutions of higher education from the northeast United States and Eastern Canadian Provinces. NECSC steering committee members have committed to a decade of annual gatherings. The steering committee consists of representatives from nine states and five provinces (Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland.)