Executive Policy 4.202 Executive Policy 4.202


    Executive Policy, EP 4.202
    System Sustainability


Executive Policy Chapter 4, Planning
Executive Policy 4.202, System Sustainability
Effective Date:  February 25, 2015
Prior Dates Amended:  N/A
Responsible Office:  Office of the Vice President for Administration
Governing Board of Regents Policy, RP 4.201, Mission and Purpose of the University, RP 4.208, Sustainability Policy
Review Date:  August 2018


The University of Hawai‘i (University or UH) has a rich history of research, teaching and curriculum development, service and stakeholder activism on issues of sustainability.  The University recognizes the rich foundation of indigenous Hawaiian cultural values and knowledge, and seeks to learn from this foundation to develop a uniquely strong response to climate change and sustainability challenges.

Hawai‘i is highly dependent on imported fossil fuel and endures among the highest electricity rates in the United States.  This jeopardizes the economy and the health of the physical environment.  Recognizing this problem, Hawai‘i is also one of few states that has adopted a climate change law (Act 234, 2007), has one of the most aggressive renewable energy policies in the country (Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative 2008) and has established ambitious state sustainability goals endorsed by the legislature in the Aloha + Challenge (Hawai‘i Green Growth Hawai‘i) and the Hawai‘i State Sustainability Plan.  The Board of Regents has embraced sustainability as a core aspect of the UH mission, and it is imperative that the UH System, one of the largest consumers of energy in the State, establishes an ambitious sustainability policy to ensure it continues to deliver world class educational and research opportunities for generations to come.

Every campus has the opportunity and obligation to embrace sustainability principles for all campus activities and to set data-based performance measures to improve resource use efficiencies, increase the generation and use of renewable energy, and conserve state social, cultural, economic and environmental resources.  Furthermore, the University is in a position to increase and transmit knowledge in all areas of sustainability, and this policy encourages faculty to research and study problems that directly affect campus and community sustainability, and to include hands-on problemsolving among other sustainability education initiatives in the curriculum.

I. Purpose

    A.    To establish a mechanism through which administrators, faculty, staff and students implement the sustainability goals in accordance with the policy established by the Board of Regents (BOR).

    B.    To further define goals in the areas of operations, curriculum, research and scholarship, campus and community engagement, and cultural connections.  These goals shall serve to guide the campus strategic planning efforts for all campuses.

    C.    To provide systemwide metrics and targets for improved efficiency and reduced resource waste for buildings, climate, dining, energy, grounds, purchasing, transportation, waste and water, along with timelines and a reporting framework.

    D.    To establish mechanisms to track and re-invest savings from sustainability initiatives in order to maximize efficiencies and reduce waste.

    E.    To establish a university-wide culture that integrates sustainability values in an island context with global impact.

II. Definitions

    As used in this policy, sustainability means serving the needs of the present without jeopardizing the needs of the future.

III. Executive Policy

The University of Hawai‘i System shall develop goals, metrics and plans that address five key areas of a comprehensive sustainability program.  The five areas include:

    A.    Operations

    The University is committed to continuous improvement in reducing its negative environmental impact and becoming ecologically restorative in buildings, climate, food systems, energy, grounds, purchasing, transportation, waste and water.

    Accordingly, the University shall:

    1.    Commit to minimize greenhouse emissions and become carbon neutral by 2050.

    2.    Reduce fossil fuel sourced energy through increased efficiency and use of renewable energy sources.  The University shall meet or exceed the following energy reduction and renewable targets relative to a 2008 baseline:

                          By 2020  By 2025  By 2030  By 2035
Energy efficiency    10%        20%        30%        40%
Renewables            10%        20%        30%        40%

    3.    Adopt building and design standards for new University construction and renovation that are grounded in energy and design principles consistent with Hawai‘i’s climate and conditions.

    4.    Ensure that all new construction and major renovations will achieve a minimum of LEED “Silver” designation and will strive for LEED “Gold.”

    5.    Develop an energy management system that will inform the University community on the progress toward the energy and carbon neutrality goals.

    6.    Establish metrics and reporting mechanisms to track total solid waste generated, waste source reduction, recycling, re-use of materials, green waste, food waste, electronic waste, use of single use plastics and bioconversion.

    7.    Establish metrics and reporting mechanisms to track water conservation, water efficiency and best management practices methods for rainwater/stormwater storage, recharge and re-use on the campus and wastewater management to reduce effluent discharge into local surface water supplies.

    8.    Establish metrics and reporting mechanisms to track fuel efficiency and sustainability for campus fleets.

    9.    Establish policies and programs to reduce single occupancy vehicle trips to campuses, including support for optional modes of transportation and bicycle and pedestrian friendly campuses and communities.

    10.    Support imparting a Hawaiian sense of place on all campuses through landscaping, signage and the creation of gathering spaces to enable social and cultural sustainability of campus communities.

    11.    Establish a tracking mechanism and establish targets and milestones for the implementation of sustainable food service practices, including where financially feasible, purchasing local and sustainable food products.

    12.    Establish a Green Purchasing Policy for all supplies, equipment and building materials (including computers, cleaning products, paper and other material goods) which strives to integrate sustainability criteria into vendor selection processes.

    B.    Curriculum

    The University will encourage, facilitate and support curriculum development that advances the principles of sustainability and enables cross-campus collaborations that integrate teaching and research with solutions at the campus and community levels.

    Specific goals include:

    1.    The development of appropriate new courses and programs related to sustainability that articulate across campuses.

    2.    The integration of sustainability principles into existing curricula where appropriate.

    3.    The development of campus and community based sites for laboratory or field-based learning related to sustainability, including engagement by students in the University’s operational improvements in sustainability.

    4.    The incorporation of sustainability practices and learning into student life and other co-curricular activities.

    5.    The development of professional development opportunities for faculty and students related to curriculum development and delivery in sustainability.

    C.    Research and Scholarship

    The University will encourage, facilitate and support basic and applied research initiatives that advance the principles of sustainability and enable cross-campus collaborations that integrate teaching and research with solutions at the campus, community and global levels.

    Specific goals include:

    1.    Establish metrics to monitor and promote increased research and scholarship in sustainability at all levels.

    2.    Professional development and collaboration opportunities for faculty and students in sustainability scholarship.

    D.    Campus and Community Engagement

    The University is committed to the engagement of students, faculty, staff and the local community across disciplines to prioritize and implement sustainable practices. The classroom, the campus and the community comprise an interconnected educational environment.

    Specific goals include:

    1.    The development of mutually beneficial partnerships with community organizations, non-profit organizations, the private sector, and other colleges and universities in Hawai‘i and beyond to advance sustainability initiatives.

    2.    The creation of internship opportunities for students with external partners and collaborators.

    3.    Supporting sustainability and related science education initiatives in Hawai‘i's public schools.

    4.    Incorporating sustainability initiatives into the priorities of the University of Hawai‘i and University of Hawai‘i Foundation for philanthropy.

    E.    Cultural Connections

    Recognizing the unique and respected Hawaiian host culture, the geographic remoteness of the islands and the rich diversity of cultures in Hawai‘i, the University will create a sustainable living and learning environment that honors its cultural foundation and addresses the challenges and opportunities of its location. The University will proactively form working relationships with external partners to understand community, workforce and business needs to bring higher education, research and service outreach value to the community, and to help shape economic structures, employment opportunities and integrated, 21st century sustainable solutions for Hawai‘i, the region and beyond. 

    These cultural connections shall:

    1.    Embrace the culture, wisdom and fundamental values of the indigenous people of Hawai‘i to advance sustainability.

    2.    Cultivate an inclusive University community with varied characteristics, ideas, cultures and world-views through which our students, faculty and staff celebrate difference and respect tradition and wisdom.

        F.    Planning, Coordination and Oversight

    1.    Office of Sustainability

        There shall be an Office of Sustainability within the Office of the Vice President for Administration to ensure that sustainability is incorporated into planning, budgeting and decision-making throughout the institution. The University will institutionalize sustainability by developing and dedicating resources to the coordination, staffing, measuring, monitoring and reporting of its sustainability initiatives.

    2.    Sustainability Council

        There shall be a formal, standing Sustainability Council that reports directly to the Vice President for Administration.  It shall provide guidance and advice on the implementation of this policy at the System and campus level.  It shall include, at a minimum, representation or designees from the following offices: 

    a.    Vice President for Administration
    b.    Vice President for Community Colleges
    c.    Office of the Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
    d.    Office of the Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i – West O‘ahu
    e.    Office of the Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo
    f.    The Sustainability Curriculum Council
    g.    All Campus Council of Faculty Senate Chairs
    h.    Student Caucus
    i.    Pūkoʻa Council

    3.    Sustainability Curriculum Council

        There shall be a formal, standing Sustainability Curriculum Council to provide coordination, support and advice to the campuses regarding scholarly, scientific and community-engaged research projects in sustainability; integrating sustainability into existing courses across the curriculum; developing new sustainability courses, programs, certificates and degrees; and supporting and assisting current sustainability degree programs to evolve, excel and flourish.  It shall report directly to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and include, at a minimum, representation from the following offices or their designees:

    a.    Vice President for Academic Affairs
    b.    Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
    c.    Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo
    d.    Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Hawai‘i – West Oʻahu
    e.    Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Community Colleges
    f.    The Sustainability Council
    g.    All Campus Council of Faculty Senate Chairs
    h.    Student Caucus
    i.    Pūkoʻa Council

    4.    Campus Sustainability Implementation Plans

        Each campus shall develop and adopt its own sustainability implementation plan. 

        The plans shall, at a minimum, include:

    a.    Plans to appropriately address the five areas addressed by this policy, outlined in Section III, A-E above (Operations, Curriculum, Research and Scholarship, Campus and Community Engagement, Cultural Connections), as they relate to the specific campus.

    b.    Mechanisms to collect, track and report data that empirically measures the advancements made in all of the five areas addressed by this policy.

        Each University Chancellor and the Vice President for Community Colleges shall report annually to the Board and the President regarding advancement made toward implementation and execution of this policy.

IV. Delegation of Authority

    The Vice President for Administration is delegated authority to develop specific procedures that carry out the intent of this Executive policy.  The Vice President or his/her designee shall report to the President annually on the progress in carrying out the University’s commitment to sustainability.

V. Contact Information

Office of the Vice President for Administration
Telephone: (808) 956-6405
Email:  vpadmin@hawaii.edu

VI. References

    A.    Board of Regents Policy RP 4.201, Mission and Purpose of the University, addressing sustainability:


    B.    The University of Hawai‘i Sustainability Working Group used the following local and global websites and documents to guide its policy development:

    1.    The Earth Charter uses “a universal expression of ethical principles to foster sustainable development.”


    2.    UNESCO is leading an international agenda for sustainable development with an emphasis on indigenous knowledge.

    a.    http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-sustainable-development/

    b.    http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-sustainable-development/indigenous-knowledge/

    3.    The mission of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is to inspire and catalyze higher education to lead the global sustainability transformation. AASHE has developed the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to transparently measure their sustainability performance and evaluate campus sustainability efforts.

    a.    https://aashe.org/
    b.    https://stars.aashe.org/

    4.    The goal of the Sustainable Communities network is “to establish local economies that are economically viable, environmentally sound and socially responsible.”


VII. Exhibits and Appendices

No exhibits and appendices.


    David Lassner    
    February 26, 2015