Sustainability Roadmap 2025


The Sustainability Roadmap 2025 is ISB’s strategic pathway to evolve into a healthier, more sustainable place of learning.

The Roadmap establishes a holistic vision for our future with clear goals and priorities in the areas of learning + sharing, people, planet, and campus. 

It also encourages students and staff to continue investigating, planning, creating, and acting on sustainability opportunities by using learning experiences inside and outside the classroom to tackle real-world challenges on our campus.


Intro from Patrick on strategic vision behind why ISB would initiate this process and how the process / resulting outcomes can positively impact the school community

Text about the purpose and importance of creating a robust sustainability roadmap as a first step towards understanding what a sustainability school looks and feels like.

Define Targets, Commitments, Standards

Text about Sustainability Working Group, survey of alumni, staff, etc.

Aligning Harvard’s network of decentralized Schools and

Central Administration departments around shared goals and

policies for sustainable change requires extensive stakeholder

engagement with our diverse community of tens of thousands

of students, faculty, and staff.

University-wide committees involve senior administrators,

facilities and operations teams, student leaders, and faculty

advisors in policy development to ensure everyone has a voice

in decision-making and producing results. Adopted policies

reflect feedback from multiple stakeholders and can be tailored

to the individual culture of each School and department.

The governance structure and organizational framework

created and managed by the Office for Sustainability (OFS) to

achieve the University’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goal serves

as the foundation for this collaborative effort. As a result, the

Harvard Sustainability Plan is a true University-wide initiative

that our entire community is invested in making successful.

STEP 1 | Benchmarking Working Groups: Campus Services

and Central Administration working groups, representing

teams responsible for implementing sustainable

operations across campus, provided baseline reports

on current efforts, as well as drafted proposed goals,

strategies, and opportunities for improvement. (For a full

list of working groups and leaders see Appendix 2.)

STEP 2 | Faculty, Student, and School Engagement:

Faculty in over ten disciplines, 100 students representing

more than 12 student groups, and key stakeholders from

each School provided insight and comment on the draft

goals, based on their fields of expertise.

STEP 3 | OFS Drafts Plan: OFS created the draft

University-wide Sustainability Plan with goals, standards,

and commitments based on student, faculty, and staff

feedback, and the Campus Services working group


STEP 4 | Review Committee: OFS convened the

Sustainability Plan Review Committee composed of

senior-level School operational leaders, Central

Administration departments, and students who were

tasked with assessing the draft Plan, identifying

implementation barriers or School-specific concerns,

and making specific recommendations on the proposed

goals. (For a full list of Committee Members see Appendix

1.) OFS revised the Sustainability Plan based on Review

Committee recommendations.

STEP 5 | All Community Meeting: Harvard Kennedy School

Professor William Clark and the Office for Sustainability

hosted a broad community review meeting for facilities

leaders, Green Teams, Strategic Procurement, Human

Resources, and other key stakeholders.

STEP 6 | School Review and Sign Off: Individual meetings

were held with each School and Central Administration

department leadership to review and sign off on the final

draft of the Plan.



Intro background text..


Targets, Standards and Commitments related to this leaf are managed by the Office of Learning and may be shared publicly at a later date.


GOAL | Develop and introduce serving learning and sustainability guidelines for whole school co-curricular program with the intent of establishing holistic impact thinking and action by 2020.

COMMITMENT TO | Foster a new generation of environmental leaders by providing mentoring, networking, experiential learning opportunities that prepare students with the insight and foresight to safeguard our environment in the years and decades to come.

COMMITMENT TO | Support student entrepreneurship by facilitating sustainability-minded opportunities on campus.


GOAL | Establish a Sustainability Policy and develop a Sustainability Action Plan to support achievement of the Sustainability Roadmap 2025 by 2019.

GOAL | Develop and integrate a Social Cost of Carbon and Water* into purchasing processes by 2021.

* A Social Cost of Carbon and Water is the estimated societal cost associated with the negative impacts of emitting climate change greenhouse gases and consuming water, which are not included in the purchasing price of the good or service.

COMMITMENT TO | Facilitate strong governance structures to ensure integration of sustainability into all operational practices and participation of the ISB community.

COMMITMENT TO | Create, maintain and continuously improve programs that drive progress towards this Sustainability Roadmap.

COMMITMENT TO | Support UNSDG Target 13.3  Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.

Impactful Sharing

COMMITMENT TO | Transparent and open sharing of ISB’s progress to this Roadmap via ISB’s public website on an annual basis starting in 2019.

COMMITMENT TO | Communicate ISB’s ‘People, Planet, Purpose’ sustainability story to educate, engage, and motivate the ISB community.

COMMITMENT TO | Recognize individuals providing significant contributions to ISB’s sustainability accomplishments.

COMMITMENT TO | Cultivate external partnerships within the wider community, that help inform ISB’s efforts and amplify our local and global impact.


People are


STANDARD | Develop Sustainable + Healthful Food Standard (w/consideration towards nutrition, labeling, sourcing, and impact) by 2020.

COMMITMENT TO | Education and empower the ISB community to make sustainable food choices and form healthy eating habits.

COMMITMENT TO | Promote drinking water on campus to support healthy choices and hydration.


TARGET | Reduce waste per student by 60% by 2025 from a 2017 baseline. Where waste is defined as ‘no longer wanted materials leaving the campus not managed by one of the 5Rs’.

COMMITMENT TO | Improve awareness and education of the ISB community on the 5Rs (refuse, reduce, reuse, recycling, rot) and the impacts of the waste we generate.

COMMITMENT TO | Become a zero-waste school.

COMMITMENT TO | Support UNSDG Target 12.5 By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.


TARGET | Reduce water withdrawal by [percent to be determined in 2020] by 2025 from a 2018 baseline.

COMMITMENT TO | Review water withdrawal campus-wide with the intent of establishing a water reduction target on a per occupant basis by 2020.

COMMITMENT TO | Minimizing additional stress on the Beijing water system from new site water needs through focus on reuse and efficiency.

COMMITMENT TO | Support UNSDG Target 6.4  By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.

Wellness + Safety

COMMITMENT TO | Review staff and student injury rates with the intent of establishing a target by 2020.

COMMITMENT TO | Assessing compensation of all on-site workers with comparison to the Beijing-specific living wage.

COMMITMENT TO | Promote healthy lifestyles via existing wellness + safety programs and positive campus nudges.

COMMITMENT TO | Assess and communicate results of community satisfaction with indoor environmental biannually.


People are


TARGET | 100% of electricity from renewable sources starting in 2020.

TARGET | Carbon Neutral School* starting in 2020. 

* Carbon Neutral School means ISB would emit net zero greenhouse gases associated with its operations via purchasing an equal amount of carbon offsets compared to the emissions it generates. 

TARGET | Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by [percent to be determined by 2020] by 2025 from a 2018 baseline.

COMMITMENT TO | Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the maximum practical rate, aligned with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's recommendation to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050.

COMMITMENT TO | Expand tracking and reporting of relevant Scope (indirect) greenhouse gas emissions such as travel and commuting.

COMMITMENT TO | Evaluate the phase out of HCFC-22 and other climate impacting refrigerants to accelerate compliance with the Montreal Protocol.

COMMITMENT TO | Support UNSDG Target 7.2 By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.


TARGET | Achieve an ENERGY STAR* building score of [score and achievement year to be determined by 2020].

* ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a benchmarking program developed by the USEPA to provide building owners with an understanding on how their building compares to similar buildings with consideration of size, no. of occupants, and climate. 

COMMITMENT TO | Assess energy use by building and space type to inform ENERGY STAR goal setting by 2020. 

COMMITMENT TO | Engaging campus in energy conservation 

COMMITMENT TO | Conduct on-site renewable energy study to inform goal setting.

COMMITMENT TO | Assess feasibility, timeline and develop initial action steps for the transition into a fossil-free campus. 


TARGET | [Percent to be determined by 2020] of procurement spend meeting sustainability purchasing standard by 2025, 100% by 2030.

STANDARD | Develop sustainable purchasing standard for paper, lighting, electronics, and cleaning by 2020, other relevant items by 2022.

COMMITMENT TO | Purchasing in an environmental, social, and financially sustainable manner.

COMMITMENT TO | Creating a culture of sustainable purchasing across the community.

COMMITMENT TO | Including environmental and social criteria as part of major partner procurement and require major partners to support the achievement of and provide reporting for relevant ISB targets and commitments.

Resilience + Adaptation

GOAL | Develop a Climate Preparedness and Campus Resilience Plan by 2021.


The campus is where we learn, where we play, where we spend nearly a third of our time every year. As a result how we design and operate the buildings and spaces within the campus have not only play a significant role on how we see the world, but also the impact we have on it.


COMMITMENT TO | Evaluate potential key performance metrics related to sustainable campus design to enable creation of a meaningful target or goal. 

COMMITMENT TO | Responsible campus design that minimizes negative impacts on the local community. 

COMMITMENT TO | Enhance student and staff well-being and productivity through incorporation of biophilia* into campus design and subsequent ISB strategic planning processes.

* Biophilia refers to the inherent need to experience and love nature. In terms of building design this means to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment directly via plants, green walls, waterfalls or indirectly via natural colors and shapes. ISB's new facade is an example of biophilia with the wood paneling and natural color highlights. This type of design has been shown to improve student and employee performance and well-being. 


TARGET | Electrify 75% of maintenance equipment by 2025; 100% by 2030.

STANDARD | Develop Sustainable Landscape Guidelines to outline methods to review, discuss, and decide how best to maintain or improve campus landscape space from an ecological, functional, and aesthetic perspective.

COMMITMENT TO | Reduce the negative impacts of landscape design and maintenance practices towards the wellness of the ISB community and ecosystem.


STANDARD | Develop ISB Green Building Standards by 2020, reviewed and revised every four years. 

COMMITMENT TO | All significant standalone new construction to achieve LEED* certification at Silver level or higher.

* The United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the most widely adopted green building framework globally. LEED is not a standard, but a set of credits to strive for - based on the number of credits achieved a building with receive certification at one of four levels (e.g. certified, silver, gold, or platinum). 

COMMITMENT TO | Prioritizing sustainable design elements determined by research to have a positive impact on student and staff wellness and academic learning and performance. 

COMMITMENT TO | Support UNSDG Target 4.A Build and upgrade education facilities that are child disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.


GOAL | Achieve LEED Operation + Maintenance certification by [year to be determined by 2020] at Silver level or higher.

STANDARD | Develop ISB Green Cleaning Standard by 2022.

COMMITMENT TO | Develop best practice guidelines for managing and operating buildings and capital goods in excess of 500,000 RMB in a sustainable and energy-efficient manner in order to assist in achievement of sustainability-related targets, standards, and commitments. 


TARGET | Electrify 75% of bus and taxi fleet by 2025; 100% by 2030.

COMMITMENT TO | Reduce emissions of harmful vehicle-related air pollutants within the community and particularly on campus.

COMMITMENT TO | Support UNSDG Target 11.6 By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management. 

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Harvard’s institutional sustainability initiatives are overseen by an Executive

Committee co-chaired by the Executive Vice President Katie Lapp and two senior

faculty members: Professor Jeremy Bloxham, Dean of Science in the Faculty of

Arts and Sciences, and Robert S. Kaplan, Senior Associate Dean and Professor of

Management Practice at Harvard Business School. The Harvard Office for Sustainability

(OFS), under the oversight of the Executive Vice President and the Vice

President for Campus Services, leads the development and the implementation of

Harvard’s sustainability goals and initiatives.

OFS is responsible for developing and managing the University-wide implementation

strategy and reporting for the Harvard Sustainability Plan, working in close

collaboration with Campus Services, Central Administration, and the Schools. Implementation

of the goals, standards, and commitments in this Plan will take place

through Fiscal Year 2020. This Plan should be viewed as a living document: it will

evolve and change over time, with a formal process to review, update, or establish

new goals, standards, and commitments every five years.

Harvard’s Schools and Central Administration departments that oversee specific

operational or administrative areas will be responsible for managing implementation

of specific portions of the Plan that relate to their individual area of expertise.

Guidance on how to reach each goal, standard, or commitment will be provided

by OFS, but local implementation strategies remain with the individual Schools.

Schools will be supported with resources from OFS, Campus Services, and other

Central Administration departments, including, but not limited to, tracking methods,

case studies, resource guides, and communications strategies.

The Harvard Sustainability Plan applies to the entirety of Harvard’s campus in

North America, spanning all Schools, administrative departments, and properties

(mirroring the scope of the University’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory).

However, due to limited resources, the initial phase of data collection and reporting

on the Sustainability Plan will be limited to the Longwood, Allston, and Cambridge

campuses. OFS will release an annual University-wide report and update on the

Sustainability Plan progress via the online Sustainability Impact Report