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UC Expands Policy on Sustainable Practices

UC President Robert Dynes on Monday issued to the chancellors and the Board of Regents the long-anticipated Policy on Sustainable Practices (PDF), which expands on the original policies. The new policy replaces the policy on Building Design, Clean Energy Standards, and Sustainable Transportation Practices. The review of the old policy and development of new guildelines were conducted by the Sustainability Steering Committee, which consists of administrators from all campuses and the Office of the President, as well as faculty members with expertise in the areas addressed. The new policy expands sustainable practices in the following areas: * building renovations; * climate protection practices; * sustainable operations; * recycling and waste management; and * environmentally preferable procurement. The expansion of goals in these areas strengthens implementation procedures of evolving best practices on sustainability across the University. Many supporters of sustainability efforts across the 10-campus system are hailing the new policy as a testament to the ongoing efforts of faculty, staff and students who have been leading the way in committees on all campuses. In fact, the University was urged to consider ways to implement earth-friendly practices by students in fall 2001. "This comprehensive policy would not have been possible without the tremendous work all of you have been doing over the past several years to start developing a culture of sustainability on every campus and initiate best practices in each of these areas that can now serve as the baseline for every campus to achieve," says Matthew St. Clair, UC sustainability manager, who regularly attends the UCSF Sustainability Committee meetings. "It has been a pleasure working with you all to create this vision of a more sustainable university, and I look forward to now working with you all to make this vision a reality," he said via email on Monday. Meanwhile, work continues through the campus sustainability committees and the systemwide Sustainability Steering Committee. At UCSF, Steve Wiesenthal, associate vice chancellor of Capital Programs and Facilities Management, is the chair of the UCSF Environmental Sustainability Committee and is a member of the systemwide committee. The systemwide Sustainability Steering Committee has working groups to coordinate implementation of these forward-thinking policy goals in each area. Each of the working groups will likely be meeting in the coming months to start coordinating implementation of the new policy goals. Several of the working groups have already started this work, according to St. Clair. In the area of recycling and waste management, for example, UC voluntarily adopts the following waste diversion goals: 50 percent by June 30, 2008; 75 percent by June 30, 2012 and the ultimate goal of zero waste by 2020. All campuses will develop an integrated waste management plan and funding mechanism by June 30, 2007, according to the UC policy. The UC President will continue to provide an annual report to the Regents detailing the impact of the University's sustainability efforts on the overall capital program, operating costs, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, recycling and solid waste diversion, campus environmentally preferable purchasing and campus transportation practices. The policy guidelines will be reviewed at a minimum of every three years, with the intent of developing and strengthening implementation provisions. In related news, registration is open for the sixth annual sustainability conference. Representatives from UC, the California State University and California Community College systems are invited to participate in the conference to be held June 24 through 27 at UC Santa Barbara. Participants will learn about best practices in sustainability, build collaborations with other campuses, government, business, and nonprofit groups. Last year's conference brought nearly 600 participants and representatives from all over the state including all ten UC campuses.