Plan 2030


Plan 2030 is a ten-year strategic plan that outlines aggressive sustainability goals, grounded in climate science, for Columbia’s New York campuses to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Building on the goals achieved in its first sustainability plan, Columbia has developed this plan in conjunction with its own Earth Institute scientists and faculty, using guidance from the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to establish principles and measurable targets that will help ensure Columbia will achieve this goal. Achieving these targets requires an increased commitment across all areas of the University, and the ability to model sustainable values within every part of its culture – the way it educates, operates, designs, constructs, and manages resources.

"Green Campus" illustration: An imagining of what Columbia's Morningside Campus would look like from above with solar panels and wind turbines. Each of the buildings is green in color to represent Columbia's efforts to utilize green energy to power campus, with the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Commitment Areas

To achieve the targets outlined in the Climate Leadership and Trajectory to Net Zero sections, the University has set specific goals with detailed strategies in six key commitment areas below. The content in these areas was developed by sustainability planning working groups with faculty, student, and administrator participation.

Illustration of solar panels and wind turbines atop campus buildings with some trees in the colors of the Sustainable Columbia brand
Campus Energy

Achieve net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner, with an eye toward on-campus solutions.

Illustration of an intersection with a bus, a bicycle rider, and the subway overhead to represent transportation in the brand colors of Sustainable Columbia
Sustainable Transportation

Reduce emissions from on-campus fleet vehicles, commuters, and business travel.

Illustration of a construction vehicle, a crane, and a new building being built in the colors of the Sustainable Columbia brand
Responsible Design and Construction

Ensure the design, construction, and refresh processes at all campuses support the University’s long-term goal to both decarbonize and achieve zero waste.

Illustration of campus with Low Library in the background, a person presenting in front of a classroom, and students gardening on a lawn on campus in the brand colors of Sustainable Columbia
Culture Change and Campus as Living Lab

Commit to enhance student literacy and access to the campus as a living lab.

Illustration of three people each standing behind a recycling bin, and each of them are throwing away a piece of waste into the appropriate bin.
Responsible Materials Management

Send zero waste to landfill, host sustainable events, ensure retail tenant alignment, and practice sustainable procurement.

Illustration of a watershed with trees and a river in the background, with a water barrel, a water fountain, and a reusable water bottle in the foreground.
Water Conservation and Capture

Increase efforts toward water conservation, capture, and awareness.