The University of Oregon established a comprehensive environmental policy in 1997 that identified key areas for advancing environmental stewardship. Among these are a commitment to responsible purchasing, efficient resource usage, minimizing solid and hazardous waste production, and sustainable campus planning and design. In 2011 the Office of Sustainability, with input from the Environmental Issues Committee, took the initiative to review and recommend major updates to the policy. We then worked with unit heads, UO Legal Counsel, Vice President for Finance and Administration, and faculty senate on further refinements. The updated environmental policy, signed by President Gottredson in April 2014, establishes the following seven guiding principles:
1. PLANNING & DESIGN The University will endeavor to minimize environmental impacts associated with the construction and operation of campus buildings and grounds through careful attention to environmental performance standards in design and construction.
2. OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE The University will implement conservation and efficiency strategies that reduce consumption of energy, water, and other resources without compromising high quality learning environments.
3. GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS The University will monitor, report, and strive to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
4. TRANSPORTATION The University will support alternatives to commuting by single occupancy vehicles and encourage students, employees and guests to use alternatives that minimize environmental impact.
5. PURCHASING The University will strive to obtain “best value” by balancing, as both appropriate and permissible, life cycle costs and social and environmental impacts when purchasing goods and services. Where both appropriate and permissible, the University will write specific purchasing policies to guide decision-making on frequently purchased items.
6. MATERIALS MANAGEMENT The University will establish and maintain programs that minimize solid waste (including food waste) through reduction, reuse, and recycling.
7. HAZARDOUS MATERIALS MANAGEMENT The University will minimize the use of hazardous materials when possible while recognizing the necessity of some hazardous materials for research, teaching, and operations. The University supports environmentally responsible management and disposal of hazardous material.
The Vice President of Finance and Administration and CFO will delegate responsibility for drafting plans responding to these guidelines to the appropriate units in her portfolio. The Office of Sustainability will support this important work, report on progress, and conduct future reviews of the policy as needed.