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As part of the Long-Range Vision, Stanford set ambitious goals for reducing emissions and waste on campus and announced a school focused on climate and sustainability. These commitments are an extension of Stanford’s history of research, education and campus efforts relating to sustainability.

Climate and sustainability school

The concept for the school arose through two faculty-led committees exploring how Stanford could rise to the challenges posed by increasingly urgent threats to our planet. The Long-Range Vision Design Team identified initiatives to deepen and broaden Stanford’s academic strengths in sustainability research and education and to accelerate solutions that emerge from those endeavors. The President’s Faculty Committee on the Organizational Structure for Stanford’s Sustainability Initiative then proposed organizational structures to implement the design team’s sweeping vision. Based on the structural committee’s work, Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne identified a school as the best way to elevate Stanford’s contributions toward a more sustainable future. 

Initiative updates

Campus sustainability goals


Stanford has set a goal of generating 100 percent of campus electricity needs from renewable sources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below peak levels by 2025 – both of which will be met in 2021 when a second solar energy plant goes online. 

The remaining emissions are mostly from fleet vehicles and shuttle buses in addition to natural gas-powered equipment such as heat pumps, and appliances in laundry facilities or labs. See the Office of Sustainability’s 2019-20 year in review for more information about emissions goals and next steps.

Emission reduction updates:


Stanford has also set a goal of being waste-free by 2030, which involves diverting 90 percent of waste from landfill. In 2018 Stanford diverted 64 percent of waste from landfill through recycling and composting, and by providing responsible purchasing guidelines to the campus community. Reaching the Long-Range Vision will require upgrades to the recycling program, expanded waste stations, and other efficiencies. 

See the Office of Sustainability’s 2019-20 year in review for more information about waste reduction goals and next steps.

Waste reduction updates