ASU reaffirms its commitment to sustainability

Arizona State University, one of the founding signatories to the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (AUCPCC), has reconfirmed its commitment to Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Commitments.

Second Nature, a nonprofit Boston-based organization, has created a network of more than 650 colleges and universities that are committed to neutralizing their greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating research and educational efforts to raise awareness of the need for a more sustainable future on Earth.

Second Nature recently launched a new set of commitments for higher education institutions. It now offers three commitments — the Carbon Commitment (formerly the AUCPCC), the Resilience Commitment (formerly the Alliance for Resilient Campuses) and the Climate Leadership Commitment, which is a combination of the Carbon and Resilience commitments.

ASU President Michael Crow signed the full Climate Leadership Commitment in October.

Together, these commitments automatically make the signatories part of the Climate Leadership Network.

Through their commitment, university presidents and chancellors pledge to improve their institutions’ practices to reduce the emission of harmful greenhouse gases as well as work to adapt to a constantly changing climate.

“All three commitments are designed to do more than just get a campus’ carbon emissions to zero, or increase a campus’ resilience in partnership with its community,” said Second Nature President Timothy Carter. “They are about positioning higher education to make more profound and dynamic changes in society.”

ASU is working to mitigate 100 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions from building energy, refrigerant and waste related sources by 2025, and 100 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by 2035. With the help of its solarization program, energy savings performance contracts and conservation work and improvement at ASU’s combined heat and power plant, ASU has cut more than 18 percent of its emissions, despite adding 24 percent more space and 26 percent more people.

“ASU is leading the way in sustainability so that our grandchildren can have the same lifestyle that we enjoy,” said John Riley, ASU associate vice president of University Business Services.

In October 2006, ASU hosted the inaugural conference of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. At the AASHE conference, 12 college and university presidents agreed to become the founding signatories of the AUCPCC. ASU President Michael Crow was the founding chair and its members launched the AUCPCC in December 2006 by sending a letter to nearly 400 of their peers inviting them to participate in the initiative.

Today, universities and colleges in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are signatories of the Second Nature commitments.