Our Vision

Now released! The Emory Sustainability Vision and Strategic Plan for 2015-2025

Emory defines sustainability as relating to quality of life: a community is sustainable if economic, social, and environmental systems provide a healthy, productive, and meaningful life for all community residents, present and future. Sustainability supports and incorporates many aspects of Emory’s mission—educational, healthcare, and operational. Sustainability provides a multi-disciplinary framework for broadening student and employee perspectives on the economic, social, and environmental factors shaping our lives and our world, our interdependence as a local and global community, and the impact of our actions on future generations. Pursuing sustainability allows Emory to more fully enact our principles and provide equitable opportunities for satisfying livelihoods and study through a safe, healthy, and high quality of life for current and future generations.

As part of its commitment to positive transformation in the world, Emory has identified sustainability as a top priority of the University. Since 2005, Emory has worked to implement the 2005-2015 Strategic Plan and has made many strides advancing energy efficiency, water conservation, alternative transportation, sustainable food, waste reduction and sustainability education and outreach, amongst several other goals. Building on the success and accomplishments of the last 10 years, a new vision was crafted through the participation of the Emory community – including students, staff and faculty—resulting in the Emory Sustainability Vision and Strategic Plan for 2015-2025.

Emory's newest vision calls on the Office of Sustainability Initiatives to continue restoring our global ecosystem, fostering healthy living and reducing the University's impact on the local environment. Other areas of focus include supporting culture change to enhance sustainable behavior in the Emory community, expanding the network of sustainability champions, using Emory landscape, buildings and operations to model sustainable choices, and creating strategic partnerships with local, national and international institutions to build flourishing and resilient communities. Progress will be assessed using the environmental, economic, and social "triple bottom line" of sustainability.

When applying the triple bottom line of sustainability, the decisions and choices made by Emory must pass a new set of filters: What is the social impact of this decision? The environmental impact? The economic impact? What will be the local impact? The global impact? The impact to future generations?

Emory's vision is to develop a model for healthy living on campus that can translate to communities around the globe. As a catalyst for sustainability in our immediate community, for the region and beyond, Emory's sustainability initiatives on campus hope to set an example for an ethical approach to creating a healthy and productive place to live, learn and work.

Awards and Acknowledgements

Emory's work in achieving this overall vision has received a variety of awards and recognition. Acknowledgements include:

  • Emory recognized as top performer in 2016 Sustainable Campus Index, 2016
  • Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge 2016- WaterHub awarded Game Changer Award, 52 buildings recognized as top performers for water and energy reduction
  • US Water Prize for WaterHub, 2016
  • Emory Ranks #9 in EPA Battle of the Buildings Competition
  • ACEC Engineering Excellence Award for the WaterHub, 2016
  • #8 on the "Greenest Universities" List on BestColleges.com, 2015
  • US Green Building Council, ranked best higher education institution on the "Best of Green Schools 2013" list
  • Keep Georgia Beautiful Award in Waste Reduction, 2013
  • Sierra Club, No. 16 among "Cool Schools" list of greenest U.S. colleges and universities, 2013
  • American Physical Plant Association (APPA) Award – Sustainability Award in Facilities Management, 2012
  • National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) – Sustainability Award in Procurement, 2012
  • American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) -Emory Conference Center Hotel – “Good Earthkeeping” award, 2012
  • Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, “Gold" rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System for leadership and innovation, 2011
  • Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Peggy Barlett, Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology and Sustainable Food Committee chair, receives inaugural Faculty Sustainability Leadership award, 2011
  • League of American Bicyclists, Bike Friendly Campus, 2011- present
  • Arbor Day Foundation, Tree Campus USA, in honor of our commitment to effective community forestry management, 2011-present
  • Metro Atlanta Landscape & Turf Association (MALTA), Professional Landscape Awards Recognition for Educational Garden Project, 2010
  • Atlanta Business Chronicle, Sustainable Development Award, 2010
  • EARTH University and EARTH University Foundation, Pillars of EARTH Sustainable Leadership Award, 2010
  • Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, #1 in South Ranking of College and University Sustainability Programs, 2010
  • Emory Healthcare Quality Conference, “Best Aim Statement,” 2010
  • Creative Loafing, “Green Team” award, 2009
  • Urban Land Institute, Sustainable Development Award, 2009
  • Princeton Review, Top 11 Most Sustainable Campuses, 2009
  • Georgia Conservancy, “Conservationist of the Year” to Emory
  • University for its sustainability initiatives, 2008
  • Georgia Water Wise Council, Fox McCarthy Certificate of Achievement, 2007

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