Our Commitment

Harvard Business School is committed to reducing the School's greenhouse gas emissions, including growth, as part of an effort to increase environmental stewardship at HBS while realizing cost savings through efficiency and waste reduction.

In CY19, as part of Harvard's University-wide goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, HBS achieved a 47% reduction in GHG emissions (including growth) along with a 26% reduction in energy consumption, from a 2006 baseline. HBS also made a 70% reduction in waste disposed per person, a 9% reduction in water and we have 16 LEED certified buildings.   

This offset has been accomplished through various energy conservation measures, improved operational strategies (i.e. tighter scheduling), fuel switching at Blackstone (which provides steam to the HBS campus for heating), and occupant engagement and awareness.

Our Initiatives

Sustainability initiatives at HBS focus on implementing energy conservation and waste reduction, establishing best practices such as LEED certification, and encouraging individual behavior change. The HBS Master Plan incorporates environmentally and financially sustainable practices throughout campus, and HBS Operations is committed to designing, constructing, and operating all campus building and grounds in a resource-efficient and environmentally responsible manner.

Student Leadership

Student Sustainability Associates

Harvard Business School's (HBS) Student Sustainability Associate (SSA) Program, founded in 2006, is the school’s peer-to-peer education program that promotes sustainable living and working on campus. Ten SSAs are hired each year to connect with their peers and engage them in conserving energy and water, reducing waste and promoting health and well-being through activities and information sharing. They also suggest and pursue infrastructure and policy improvements that would remove barriers to student conservation. The SSA Program is supported by HBS Operations.

Meet the Student Sustainability Associates 


The Energy & Environment Club seeks to represent and promote the energy, clean tech and environment-related industries at HBS; build a global energy & environment network for HBS students that bridges academia, government and industry; increase the number of energy-related full-time and summer employment opportunities and offers; develop the next generation of leaders in the energy industry; and increase connections between HBS and the energy innovation ecosystem.

The Club organizes an annual energy symposium that bring together experts and leaders in a meaningful dialogue on energy and environmental issue.


Food, Agriculture, & water CLUB

The Food, Agriculture, & Water Club supports HBS MBAs on their journey to become food system leaders. It creates a community for future food leaders to engage in addressing current challenges and shaping the food system of the future.

Sustainability CLUB

The Sustainability Club prepares MBA candidates to become better stewards of the natural and builtenvironment. It provides a focused community for students and partners to explore the complexities of global sustainability challenges, gain exposure to emerging business solutions, and pursue professional opportunities.

Faculty and Research

Business & Environment Initiative

The Business and Environment Initiative seeks to deepen our collective understanding of the urgent environmental challenges confronting business leaders and to help them use the tools of business to design effective solutions. The BEI aspires to help leaders create the economic and political institutions that will enable firms and societies to thrive while maintaining the physical and biological systems on which they depend.

The BEI is led by Michael Toffel, Faculty Chair and HBS Professor of Business Administration; Jennifer Nash, Director; and Marina I. Jokic, Coordinator.

Learn more about the environment-related research being done by HBS faculty


Employee Engagement 

GReen team

The mission of the HBS Green Team is to establish a sense of environmental awareness throughout the HBS community. The Green Team, comprised of staff representatives from each HBS department, works to influence behavioral change through communication and education so that HBS realizes a reduction in waste, water and energy consumption. The team is made up of representatives from each department within HBS. 

GreeN offices

Harvard's Green Office program, created in 2009, provides offices throughout Harvard’s 12 plus Schools and administrative units with the opportunity to receive recognition for their progress in meeting the University’s sustainability goals. The Program designates four levels of recognition: leaves one through four—the higher the leaf, the more environmentally sustainable the office.

Learn more


Executive Education Outreach

About the Program

In FY 2009, HBS rolled out an occupant engagement and outreach program in Executive Education. Projects include policy and operational changes such as providing occupants with reusable mugs and promoting filtered water stations, installing amenity dispensers in showers that reduce the need for plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles, and improving housekeeping's protocol for recycling and shutting off lights and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.


Greener, More Efficient Campus

Construction and Renovation

HBS has committed to following Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines for all new construction and major renovations with Gold Certification as the minimum goal. 

Energy Conservation and renewable energy

Energy Conservation: HBS has completed more than 250 energy ECMs aimed at offsetting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing annual operating costs. Projects include two cogen units, a state of the art irrigation system, energy efficient lighting upgrades, occupancy sensors that control temperature settings in Hamilton Hall bedrooms, daylight sensing, steam trap replacements, kitchen exhaust hood controls, and high-efficiency chillers.

Renewable Energy:  HBS has installed solar photovoltaic panels on the roofs of Baker Hall, Batten Hall, Chao Center, Morgan Hall, Shad Hall, Tata Hall, Teele Hall, Travis Hall, and Klarman generating 589,000 kWh/yr.

Continuous Commissioning: HBS has installed an innovative software into 19 buildings that continuously monitors our building heating and cooling systems in addition to energy meters to flag high usage in real time to reduce energy usage and improve comfort.

High-Performance Operations: Additional high-performance standards at HBS include the use of Green Cleaning products, a campus wide irrigation audit to reduce water use by at least 15%, offering preferred parking for low emitting vehicles, conducting energy audits and water conservation efforts (low flow shower heads, dual-flush toilets, ultra-low flow urinals, low flow faucets).​​​

Green Roofs: Green roofs at HBS are thriving on Batten Hall, Chao Hall, the Class of 1959 Memorial Chapel, Shad Hall, Tata Hall, McArthur Hall, McCollum Hall, Klarman Hall, and the Rock Center for Innovation. Not only are green roofs excellent for storm water management (absorbing up to 70% of rainfall and preventing runoff into the Charles River and sewer systems, thereby reducing concentrations of phosphorous and nitrogen from entering the water ways), but green roofs can also reduce Heat Island Effect and building energy consumption, by serving as an effective roof insulator.

Waste Management



As of FY17, HBS achieved a 70% reduction in waste per capita and one of the highest rates University-wide. This has been accomplished through various HBS waste reduction initiatives including back and front of house composting, single-stream recycling, food donations, increased awareness through peer-to-peer education programs, collection stations during move-out, and in summer 2015 switching to 100% compostable products campus-wide.

The waste management strategy at HBS is reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost. HBS believes the best form of waste management is source reduction, which means not creating waste in the first place. The benefits associated with source reduction and recycling and composting include saving energy, reducing greenhouse gases and conserving natural resources. Composting is an essential part of HBS’s commitment to sustainability and reducing waste. Our students, staff, and faculty play a big part in helping us reach these goals. By composting food scraps, coffee grounds, compostable products, and landscape waste the HBS community helps divert organic matter from the waste stream and return valuable nutrients to plants and soils.

Making the switch to 100% compostable products simplified the sorting process, as just about everything from the dining halls can go in the same compost bin, with the exception of recyclables like yogurt cups and soda cans provided by outside vendors. When in doubt, community members can refer to the bins and illustrative signage which have consistent color cues (green for compost, blue for recycling, black for trash).

Signage and waste reduction FAQs