Leading By Example
Over the last thirty years in towns, businesses, and governmental organizations around the globe, communities have begun to redefine what health, wealth, and success looks like.
As national leaders of the green campus movement UMASS Amherst encourages our students, faculty and staff to continually ask how each choice we make can create a better future for the people in our community, the planet we call our home, and the long term financial health & stability of the educational institution where we live and work every day.
To learn how sustainability became such a vital part of what we do here at UMass Amherst, see below:
Sustainability & the Triple Bottom Line
A Brief History
- In 1987, as mounting concerns over the dwindling long term health of the environment grew, the UN World Commission on Environment and Development (known as the Brundtland Commission) established the following definition of sustainable development (a definition now widely adopted around the globe): "Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
- Expanding on this concept in 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) adopted the Three-Dimension Concept, recognizing that sustainable development was a balance of three dimensions: Environmental Protection, Economic Growth, and Social Development
- In the years that followed organizations seeking to incorporate sustainability into their planning processes began to build upon the Three-Dimension Concept. In the mid-90's businessman John Elkington coined a term that quickly went into wide-spread use among sustainably-minded organizations: The Triple Bottom Line (an awareness of and accountability for impacts on people, planet, and profit), sometimes also refered to as The Three E's (Equity, Environment, and Economics)
- As part of this growing awareness at the start of the new millinium, schools and universities around the nation began to search for impactful ways they can get involved in the sustainability movement
- In 2007 UMass Amherst President Jack M. Wilson signs the five UMass campuses onto the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). In order to fulfill the requirements outlined in the ACUPCC, Chancellor Thomas Cole forms the Environmental Performance Advisory Committee (EPAC) later that year to write the University’s Climate Action Plan and to develop and implement projects that would help make the campus more sustainable
- In 2008-2009 UMass student Josh Stoffel launches the Eco-Rep Program as his senior thesis for Commonwealth College. Designed to promote student facilitated learning around issues of sustainability, the Eco-Rep Program focuses on peer-to-peer education
- In 2010 the UMass Amherst Climate Action Plan is compiled and published by EPAC
- In 2011, a collaborative team of UMass students, staff, and faculty submit the Sustainability Tracking Assessment Rating System (STARS) Report to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and receive a GOLD rating, one of only 24 college and university campuses nationwide to receive this rating at the time. In addition, Ezra Small is hired as the first Sustainability Manager for UMass Amherst
- In 2012 the Campus Sustainability Manager submits the first ACUPCC Progress Report for the University & the Chancellor's Sustainability Committee (formerly EPAC) publishes the 2012 Climate Action Plan 2.0: A Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality
- 2013-2014, UMass Amherst hires the university's first Sustainability Communications & Marketing Manager, Victoria Rosen, and makes it onto the Princeton Review's Green Honor Roll