Penn announces Climate Action Plan

Climate Action Plan slideshow Photo credit: Stuart Watson


Penn President Amy Gutmann unveiled the University’s groundbreaking Climate Action Plan before an enthusiastic gathering of faculty, students, staff and community partners on Wednesday, Sept. 16, urging them to embrace Penn’s pledge to put the University at the vanguard of environmental sustainability.

The Climate Action Plan lays out detailed steps the University will take over the next few years to serve as an institutional role model in the daily application of green practices.

“I pledge to you as President that I and my team will take this most seriously, and we will lead Penn forward, but only with your help,” Gutmann said. “This is a mission that is both educationally important and absolutely critical for our planet. We will continue working together as one extended, environmentally friendly Penn family. We will make Penn the greenest campus in the country.”

The Climate Action plan focuses on five areas of action: education, energy conservation, waste reduction, emissions control and green design. Penn’s goals in those areas include:

·      Achieving a 5 percent reduction of energy across campus by 2010, and a 17 percent reduction by 2014.     
·      Reaching a 100 percent increase in recycling across campus by 2014, to a 40 percent diversion rate of paper, cardboard and commingled recyclables, up from the current rate of 20 percent.
·       Reducing emissions by motivating more than half of the University population to walk, bike, and carpool or use public transit for their commute.
·      Designing and building LEED-certified buildings and landscapes as part of the University’s 30-year Penn Connects master plan, and adding 20 percent more green space to campus through projects such as Penn Park.
·       Ensuring that  issues of sustainability remain an integral part of Penn’s academic curriculum and the Penn experience.

In 2007, Penn was the first Ivy League Institution to embrace the national sustainability initiative, with Gutmann signing the Presidential Climate Commitment.  Since then, the number of educational institutions participating in the project has grown to more than 600.

To develop Penn’s plan, a special Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee made up of more than 40 students, faculty and staff, worked for two years assessing Penn’s carbon footprint and developing long-range sustainability goals. 

By announcing the plan, Gutmann said, Penn is “putting our knowledge to work and leading the sustainability revolution that will help preserve and transform the world for generations to come.”

Click here to watch the launch of the Climate Action Plan.

Learn more about the Climate Action Plan at        

Originally published Sept. 15, 2009

Originally published on September 15, 2009