CSULB is a proud member of the Climate Leadership Network and a charter signatory to the Climate Commitment. The Climate Commitment is made up of two sub-commitments: the Carbon Commitment and the Resilience Commitment. The Climate Commitment integrates the goal of achieving climate neutrality (reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero) with the goal of climate resilience (building adaptive capacity to withstand inevitable climate impacts).
In 2011, CSULB's then President Alexander signed the Carbon Commitment, formerly known as the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The Carbon Commitment is a formal commitment to eliminate net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from specified campus operations, and to promote the research and educational efforts that will help to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.
As a Carbon Commitment signatory, CSULB is required to:
- Complete an annual greenhouse gas emissions inventory and make it publicly available
- Complete a Climate Action Plan and update it at least every 5 years (plan completed in 2014)
- Complete and submit annual progress reports on Climate Action Plan implementation
- Achieve climate neutrality by self-selected target year of 2030
- Integrate sustainability into the curriculum and make it part of the educational experience
Learn more about CSULB’s GHG Emissions Inventories and Climate Action Plan below.
In 2016, CSULB President Conoley signed the Climate Commitment, which essentially added pursuit of the goals outlined in the Resilience Commitment to the university's existing climate action efforts. The Resilience Commitment is focused on climate adaptation, as well as building community capacity to deal with a constantly changing climate and resulting extremes. Second Nature (the organization that coordinates reporting for the Climate Commitments) defines resilience as “increasing the ability to survive disruption and to anticipate, adapt, and flourish in the face of change.”
CSULB is responsible for:
- Creating an internal institutional structure to guide the development of a Plan to increase resilience
- Collaborating with community partners to form a joint campus-community Task Force to ensure alignment of resilience goals and facilitate joint action
- Complete a campus-community resilience assessment, including indicators and current vulnerabilities
- Update our Climate Action Plan to address resilience (including defining thresholds for resilience, target dates, strategies, and tracking mechanisms)
- Coordinate, manage, and track implementation of the updated Climate Action Plan and assess progress toward resiliency milestones and goals
In February 2018, the university held a Resilience Charette to engage key campus and community stakeholders in identifying climate risks, characterizing existing campus strengths and vulnerabilities, and determining short term and long term climate action priorities. The findings from the Charette will be used to inform climate adaptation planning going forward.
Climate Action Plan
By becoming a signatory to the Carbon Commitment, CSULB committed to conducting annual greenhouse gas emission inventories, developing a Climate Action Plan (CAP), and submitting regular progress reports on CAP goals.
Completed in 2014, our CAP provides a roadmap for achieving climate neutrality by 2030 by reducing GHG emissions associated with CSULB operations and activities while promoting curriculum and research related to climate change and sustainability.
Greenhouse Gas Inventories
In 2013, CSULB began conducting bi-annual inventories of campus greenhouse gas emissions. These inventories are conducted by the Energy and Sustainability team within Facilities Management with the assistance of dedicated student volunteers who gather and analyze data related to campus emissions sources. This analysis is used in the development and improvement of our Climate Action Plan.
Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System (STARS)
A program of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), STARS is an internationally recognized, rigorous self-assessment framework that helps institutions track and compare their sustainability progress, while highlighting opportunities for future steps towards long-term sustainability in five key areas: Academics, Engagement, Operations, Planning & Administration and Innovation & Leadership.
CSULB completed its first STARS report back in 2017 and updated its 2020 report in January 2021. Although the campus maintained the Silver rating it achieved in 2017, the 2020 overall score increased by 17%, with significant improvements in key areas including Academics, Operations, and Planning & Administration. With just 12 points to go to reach the Gold rating, the 2020 report will serve as a critical tool for identifying future opportunities to continue moving CSULB closer to its sustainability goals.
Water Action Plan
In response to California’s drought emergency, in 2014 the CSU Chancellor’s Office directed all of its 23 campuses to develop and implement a plan for reducing water usage in all possible areas. CSULB responded by developing a comprehensive Water Action Plan in 2014. Thereafter, students, staff, and faculty have worked together to update and improve the new 2017 Water Action Plan.
The Water Action Plan calls for the improvement of campus water use audits, adoption of existing best practices, identification of new opportunities to utilize reclaimed water, and more. By the year 2020, CSULB aims to reduce its water consumption by 20% below the 2013 water usage baseline.
Learn more about our Water Action Plan, which was recognized with an honorable mention at the 2015 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference.
Strategic Energy Plan
The Strategic Energy Plan (SEP) identifies potential energy efficiency retrofit projects for the campus. The projects primarily include lighting, HVAC and commissioning measures. A number of other measures are included that apply to all evaluated buildings, regardless of size. The SEP also addresses the potential for energy efficiency in new construction and renovated buildings.
Landscape Master Plan
The goal of the Landscape Master Plan is to bring together all parts of the campus through a series of initiatives and create “One Campus.” Initiatives include use of drought tolerant plantings, improved pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, enhanced open space, and general improvement of the overall campus environment.
CSULB’s sustainability efforts are guided by CSU system-wide and state directives, regulations, and policies, including the CSU Sustainability Policy. The campus aims to not only meet the mandated standards and targets but exceed them.