Columbia University Hosts Sustainability Leaders at NYC Carbon Challenge Meeting 2023

Leaders from New York City private and public sectors gathered on Columbia University’s campus to reaffirm their commitment to addressing climate change and to the ambitious goals set as part of the NYC Carbon Challenge.  

December 05, 2023

In partnership, Columbia University Commits to New York City Plant-Powered Carbon Challenge 

The NYC Carbon Challenge is a voluntary leadership initiative and public-private partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice (MOCEJ) and leaders in the private, institutional, and non-profit sectors who have committed to decarbonizing their properties. 

Meera Joshi, Deputy Mayor of Operations and Elijah Hutchinson from the MOCEJ kicked off the meeting by highlighting the action underway in New York City. Joshi noted that NYC and its partners in the room are doing challenging, creative, and collaborative work that will help realize the full potential for New York City and a climate friendly future.  

Jessica Prata, Assistant Vice President for Columbia University’s Office of Sustainability welcomed attendees and shared updates on Columbia’s own progress towards decarbonization through its Plan 2030. Highlights of Columbia’s work include a comprehensive approach to electrifying Columbia’s real estate portfolio and scope 3 emissions analysis to identify opportunities within business travel, procurement, waste and embodied carbon.  

Columbia University Commits to New York City Plant-Powered Carbon Challenge 

As the University’s food service operator, Columbia Dining is the first signatory to the Mayor’s challenge. Read related story

Together with Vicki Dunn, Assistant Vice President for Columbia Dining, Prata also announced Columbia’s commitment to the Mayor’s Plant-Powered Carbon Challenge. Columbia is the first signatory to the initiative which is designed to limit scope 3 emissions 25% by 2030 through food procurement. 

Updates were also provided by the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) on decarbonization assistance programs and by the NYC Department of Buildings on the new rules and next round of requirements as part of the Local Law 97 (LL97) building emissions limits. The meeting included breakout sessions where attendees shared opportunities, successes, and challenges around Local Law 97, workforce training, and Carbon Challenge implementation.  

The meeting was organized by the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice and hosted at Faculty House by the Columbia University Office of Sustainability. 

About Sustainable Columbia 

Columbia University’s 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. The plan uses the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to establish principles and measurable targets that will help ensure Columbia will achieve this goal. 

Photos by Eileen Barroso for Columbia University