University of North Carolina Sustainability Policy

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted

Source File:


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recognizes that one of the great challenges of our time is to make decisions and investments that simultaneously advance economic vitality, ecological integrity, and social welfare.

In order to support the University community in addressing this challenge, the University is committed to fostering and demonstrating approaches to sustainability. University policies, practices, and curricula should, when possible, embody approaches that reduce life cycle costs, restore or maintain the functioning of natural systems, and enhance human well-being.

Carolina seeks continuous improvement in the planning, construction, and operation of capital facilities; providing transportation systems that support alternatives to single occupancy vehicles; procuring and managing energy, water, and materials; stewarding natural resources; and researching and teaching sustainability principles and approaches. Budget planning, staffing, metrics of success, and performance reviews reflect these University priorities.

Strategies for achieving sustainability include:

  • Developing and implementing policies and practices that preserve natural resources; conserve energy, water, and materials; reduce waste and emissions; and lessen overall environmental impact;
  • Promoting human health and well-being (e.g., by providing safe and healthy workspaces and residences and developing new bike and walking routes);
  • Developing an understanding of the local, regional, and global impacts of the University’s activities on the health of the planet and the well-being of its current and future inhabitants;
  • Fostering linkages among and within campus departments, both operational and academic;
  • Developing and monitoring indicators of progress toward sustainability;
  • Promoting awareness of sustainability goals and fostering sustainability literacy among the entire campus community;
  • Collaborating with off-campus organizations, including local governments, businesses, citizen groups, agencies, and schools in cooperative efforts to provide a healthy regional environment;
  • Advocating for policy change that will allow the support of environmentally and socially responsible companies;
  • Promoting and celebrating accomplishments.

As a leading research university, UNC will influence generations of students and a range of communities from local to global. Campus operations and course offerings that incorporate sustainability will help maintain our competitive edge in recruitment, funded research, and development.