Our Commitment

Harvard Business School (HBS) endeavors to build a healthier, more sustainable, and inclusive community. We are committed to internalizing justice and equity in our sustainability work. HBS is committed to reducing the School's greenhouse gas emissions, including growth, as part of an effort to increase environmental stewardship 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 reduction 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, integrating environmental justice into our campaigns, encouraging individual behavior change, and supporting the health of our community - including our work to avoid chemical classes of concern in building materials.

Student Leadership

Student Sustainability Associates

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. A minimum of ten SSAs (one per RC section) are hired each year to connect with their peers and engage them in them in topics such as environmental justice, conserving energy and water, reducing waste, sustainable food and travel, and promoting health and well-being through activities and information sharing.

Meet the Student Sustainability Associates 

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT CLUB

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 (BEI) 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, and Lynn Schenk, Director.

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 help educate and engage their colleagues and the wider HBS community on sustainability topics such as climate change, social equity, and health. The Green Team, comprised of staff volunteers from across HBS departments, runs campaigns with the goals of creating a more sustainable campus and inspiring community members to integrate new sustainability practices into their broader lives.

GreeN offices

Harvard's Green Office program was created in 2009 to provide 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 Harvard Green Office Program is currently on hold as we work on refreshing the program which will be called the Sustainable Office Program moving forward. If your office is interested in helping OFS pilot the new program or have feedback on the old program if you participated please contact rachel_martinez@harvard.edu.

 

 

Executive Education Outreach

About the Program

In FY 2009, HBS rolled out an occupant engagement and outreach program in Executive Education. Projects include policy, operational, and infrastructural changes such as installing sensors that adjust the lighting and HVAC based on room occupancy and windows being opened, 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.

Tree Canopy

Harvard Business School’s mature and dynamic tree canopy consists of more than 1,100 trees. In addition to affording lasting spatial beauty for the campus, the canopy accrues important resiliency and ecological benefits for the HBS community: shade and cooling, rainfall capture and storm water management, carbon sequestration, oxygen production, and more. HBS Campus Tree Guide includes details about our tree canopy and the route for a lovely campus tree walk.

Download the HBS Campus Tree Guide

Waste Management

Strategy

As of 2021*, HBS achieved an 86% reduction in waste per capita - higher than the University’s average. This has been accomplished through various HBS waste reduction initiatives including food donations, donations from construction and renovation projects, increased awareness through peer-to-peer education programs, collection stations during move-out, single-stream recycling, collecting back and front of house food waste for anaerobic digestion, and utilizing 100% compostable to-go products whenever possible.

The waste management strategy at HBS is reduce, reuse, recycle, and repurpose food waste. We understand that the best form of waste management is source reduction, which means not creating waste in the first place. The benefits associated with source reduction, recycling, and anerobic digestion include saving energy, reducing greenhouse gases and conserving natural resources. Our students, staff, and faculty play a big part in helping us reach these goals. By putting food scraps, coffee grounds, compostable products into the “compost” bins on campus, the HBS community helps to divert organic matter from landfills and generate energy in the form of methane gas. 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).

*Campus occupancy was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and remains below our pre-pandemic levels. Reductions from our baseline year of 2006 currently represent both the impacts of our intentional reduction measures and this coinciding reduction in campus occupancy. Fiscal year 2019, our last year with pre-COVID-impacted data, had the following reductions from our 2006 baseline:

  • GHG Emissions = 47% (location-based)
  • Energy = 25%
  • Water = 7%
  • Waste = 61%

 

Signage and waste reduction FAQs