Sustainability Goals

Strategic Vision

Ohio State is a recognized leader in developing durable solutions to the pressing challenges of sustainability and in evolving a culture of sustainability through collaborative teaching, pioneering research, comprehensive outreach, and innovative operations, practices, and policies.

As a university, our goal is to foster campus-to-community, students-to-alumni culture of sustainability oriented practices and educational and research experiences that students and alumni transfer into local and global communities. Through our initiatives we catalyze engagement, ownership and buy-in to sustainability via engaged and inclusive partnerships, on and off campus, which support the long term economic, social and environmental welfare of the campus, surrounding neighborhoods and the global community.

As progress is made toward realizing institutional sustainability aspirations, four overarching, foundational principles of the university must take hold to ensure that accountability and a culture of sustainability becomes pervasive throughout Ohio State’s culture, practices and programs:

— Ensure a transformational approach by establishing a generational timeline to consider the impacts and trade-offs of decisions and economic, environmental, and social outcomes over many years and decades, instead of only the perspective of short-term economic returns.

— Utilize a council of internal and external stakeholders (i.e., students, staff, faculty, alumni/ae, companies, non-governmental organizations, agencies) to serve in an advisory capacity for the ongoing formulation, development, implementation, and assessment of goals, initiatives, and outcomes.

— Conduct research on our progress by developing and/or adapting research methodology to review and assess operational goals, and evaluate and publish the results with the aim of developing best practices and innovation for sustainability measurement.

— Incorporate relevant elements of sustainability into all college and support units’ strategic plans, physical plans, and other university guiding documents.

Teaching and Learning

— Deliver a Curriculum that provides Ohio State students at all stages of instruction – from General Education to professional and technical programs – with opportunities to understand sustainability holistically, framed by the environment, science, technology, society, the economy, history, culture, and politics.
— Address the Complexities of Sustainability through a variety of learning formats, strategies, and occasions.

Research and Innovation

— Reward Sustainability Scholarship, including the scholarship of engagement, by providing incentives for students, faculty and staff to make discoveries and stimulate creative efforts that promote and achieve sustainability.
— Magnify Sustainability Scholarly Output and Impact to create new knowledge, solve real world problems, including for our own operations, and increase Ohio State’s national/international reputation as a sustainability research leader.

Outreach and Engagement

— Foster Campus-to-Community, Students-to-Alumni Culture of sustainability-oriented practices and educational and research experiences that students and alumni transfer into local and global communities.
— Catalyze Engagement, Ownership, and Buy-In to Sustainability via engaged and inclusive partnerships, on and off campus, that support the long-term economic, social and environmental welfare of the campus, surrounding neighborhoods and the global community.

Resource Stewardship

— Implement specific, “world-leading” university-wide operational goals to reduce resource consumption, neutralize carbon emissions and minimize waste, including:
—— Achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 per Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitment;
—— Increase the energy efficiency of the university per building square foot by 25% by 2025;
—— Reduce potable water consumption by 10% per capita every five years, resetting baseline every five years;
—— Increase Ecosystem Services Index score to 85% by 2025;
—— Reduce carbon footprint of university fleet per thousand miles traveled by 25% by 2025;
—— Achieve zero waste by 2025 by diverting 90% of waste away from landfills;
—— Increase production and purchase of locally and sustainably sourced food to 40% by 2025; and
—— Develop university-wide standards for targeted environmentally preferred products and fully implement preferable products and services by 2025.

Detailed Explanations

Carbon Neutrality: No net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, to be achieved by minimizing net GHG emissions and using carbon offsets or other measures to mitigate the remaining emissions.

Energy Use Intensity (EUI): Energy use per square foot as measurement. The university target is to reach for an EUI of 150.

Potable Water: Water treated to safe drinking levels.

Ecosystem Services are benefits to people from the natural environment. Ecosystem services are grouped into four categories: provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural.

University Fleet Carbon Footprint: Carbon equivalent emissions due to consumption of fuels by university owned vehicles.

Zero waste: Diversion of 90% of waste materials being reused recycled, refurbished and/or composted.

Environmentally Preferred Products and Services: Products and services with reduced negative effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services serving the same purpose.