About Sustainability at UC Davis
Sustainability at UC Davis has a long history connected to our academic and public service work. Dedicated staff at UC Davis and UC Davis Health have helped expand campus sustainability through long-term planning, implementation, assessment and engagement work.
What do we mean by sustainability?
UC Davis' Blueprint for a Green Future explains our holistic philosophy:
"Sustainable practices support ecological, human, social and economic vitality for both our campus and the global community. Sustainable actions meet present needs while enhancing the environment and the ability of future generations to thrive."
Sustainability is about people, collaboration and community. The entire UC Davis community can tackle the challenge of making our campus more sustainable. Participating actively fosters an increased sense of personal stewardship of the campus and can help community members learn more about the complex relationships that characterize sustainability.
UC Davis Sustainability is the lead office for campuswide sustainability efforts.
Our role is to:
Demonstrate leadership. We provide vision, direction and support for sustainability in all its dimensions, which range from the physical environment to fair, sustainable business practices. And, we lead campus sustainability planning efforts, including the UC Davis Climate Action Plan.
Foster connections. We coordinate across campus departments, build relationships and institutional capacity for sustainability with external partners, and help link research efforts to campus operations.
Create a culture of sustainability. We conduct assessments of campus progress toward sustainability goals, and engage and inspire collective and individual actions to accelerate progress toward a sustainable campus and a sustainable world.
How we think…
It’s a system
As a campus, we approach sustainability as a holistic, systems-thinking endeavor. We are guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and recognize that we cannot have a healthy planet without healthy and equitably served people, and we cannot have equity and human health without a healthy planet. Our immediate focus is on our campus, yet our vision and the impact of our programs extend to the global community.
UC Davis Sustainability represents and supports the larger university community who work together to achieve sustainability goals, advance our scientific understanding of sustainability challenges, and educate for a sustainable future. Together, we continually refine efforts to set and achieve increasingly ambitious objectives. We advocate for every member of the campus community to take sustainability personally and become an active steward of the many aspects of sustainability they can directly influence.
The University of California and UC Davis set well-defined goals to measure progress. UC Davis Sustainability is responsible for performance assessment and reporting to campus and university leadership as well as external governing agencies. UC Davis participates in several voluntary assessment and ratings programs and we handle that, too.
What are our success indicators?
- Sustainability is making a difference on campus and externally
- our campus is a visible example
- others want to learn from what we are doing
- others want to join with us for shared outcomes
- our campus’ sustainability performance is continuously improving
- Sustainability is enhancing the academic mission and enterprise
- successful and innovative collaborations happen in teaching, research, and co-curricular programming
- the campus experience for all students is enriched by sustainability
- students are literate in sustainability and climate change in order to be effective and active citizens and leaders
- Sustainability is adding strategic benefits to the campus
- public engagement at all scales, from local to international
- positive and supportive donor and alumni relations
- resiliency to financial and climate change disruptions
- competitive advantage in attracting the best students, faculty and staff
UC Davis Health Sustainability Vision:
Creating a resilient and sustainable healthcare model that celebrates the intersection between human and planetary health through mindful actions, engagement, and education that improves the lives of all for generations to come.
UC Davis Health sustainability practices give health and patient care the highest priority. The goal is to reduce the environmental footprint of the health system by identifying sustainable business practices that meet the needs of patients and employees while preserving the quality and continuity of care. In addition to addressing University of California systemwide goals for responsible resource stewardship, its programs include health care sustainability solutions developed by Practice Greenhealth, the Health Care Climate Council and the California Health Care Climate Alliance.
Areas of Focus
Sustainability efforts at UC Davis Health focus on:
- Procurement. Identifying procurement processes that address the economic, environmental and social impacts of health system spending
- Resource conservation. Improving water and energy conservation
- Transportation. Promoting use of active transportation options to reduce sedentary lifestyles
- Creating culture of sustainability. Expanding outreach and education aimed at increasing participation in sustainability efforts
- Waste reduction. Increasing convenient recycling and other waste-reduction options
- Accountability. Our Sustainability Committee, which includes representatives from each of these areas, helps ensure we are on track for achieving our goals.