Penn Presents Progress in Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 FY21 Annual Report

Penn's Locust Walk
November 8, 2021

Contact:  Heidi Wunder, Assistant Communications Director, Penn Facilities & Real Estate Services; (T) 215.746.0123, hwunder@upenn.edu

November 08, 2021

Increases in local and plant-based food sourcing, broad community engagement, and continued reductions in carbon emissions are areas of significant achievement against the goals of the University of Pennsylvania’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0, says the Penn Sustainability Office.

The Penn Sustainability Office has just released the Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 FY21 Annual Report, based on data and metrics from fiscal year 2021 gathered from across many academic and administrative units at the University. The Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 FY21 Annual Report documents Penn’s progress towards the goals of the 2019 Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 (CSAP3.0), tracking metrics in Academics, Utilities & Operations, Physical Environment, Waste Minimization & Recycling, Purchasing, Transportation, and Outreach & Engagement.

“With this sustainability report, Penn is tracking progress on our Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 goals, and providing public, transparent reporting of our sustainability initiatives,” explained Anne Papageorge, vice president of Penn’s Division of Facilities & Real Estate Services.

This report offers an annual, comprehensive, graphic, and concise presentation of progress in key metrics during the previous fiscal year. Some FY21 highlights include:

Academics

CSAP 3.0 Goal:

Help advance the City’s regional sustainability objectives and provide professional development and real-world learning opportunities to Penn students.

FY21 Progress:

Three Civic Sustainability Fellows were hired to work with three different organizations across the City of Philadelphia during the summer of 2021. Organizations included the Philadelphia Office of Sustainability, Philadelphia Energy Authority, and University City Green.

Utilities & Operations

CSAP3.0 Goal:

Reduce Penn’s overall carbon footprint towards our 2042 carbon neutrality goal.

FY21 Progress:

In FY21, Penn reduced overall emissions by 44.3% and building-related emissions by 41% as compared to the 2009 baseline year. These building emissions were achieved through energy efficiency, recommissioning, offsets, and a cleaner electricity grid. The overall greenhouse gas emissions reductions are partly due to lack of air travel during the COVID-19 pandemic and energy reductions.

Physical Environment

CSAP3.0 Goal:

Improve Penn’s Landscape Ecology Practices

FY21 Progress:

Bird-friendly guidelines and a Bird-Friendly Design website have been developed in an effort to reduce the number of bird strikes on campus and increase awareness of local bird species. Eight buildings on Penn’s campus have had either the bird-friendly film applied to the windows, or an external design element installed, increasing visibility for birds and reducing bird strikes. These buildings include Lauder College House, Hill Pavilion, Johnson Building, Singh Center, Levin Building, Left Bank Building, Ringe Building, and New College House (West).

Waste Minimization & Recycling

CSAP3.0 Goal:

Increase Penn's Overall Waste Diversion and Minimize Waste Sent to Landfill

FY21 Progress:

The ESAC Waste and Recycling Subcommittee has developed a comprehensive plan to regularly audit waste and recycling for a sample building in six key areas: dining, academics, research, athletics, residential, and student union/event space.

Purchasing

CSAP3.0 Goal:

Increase Procurement of Sustainable Food Products

FY21 Progress:

Approximately 20% of the food used in Penn Dining facilities that are managed by Bon Appetit is sourced from local vendors, while 62% of the food meets STARS requirements for sustainability or ethically produced, and 30% is plant-based.

Transportation

CSAP3.0 Goal:

Improved energy efficiency of parking and transportation facilities and fleet composition

FY21 Progress:

A low-emission vehicle purchase guide has been developed that includes recommendations for e-assist bicycles, low-speed vehicles, passenger vehicles, passenger vans, cargo vans, pickup trucks, busses, medium- and heavy-duty chassis and equipment, and public safety vehicles.

Outreach & Engagement

CSAP3.0 Goal:

Expand and Strengthen Existing Outreach Programs

FY20 Progress:

Students, faculty, and staff collaborated to host the first Climate Week at Penn, with 28 Penn organizations offering 46 events, primarily virtual panels, presentations, and networking opportunities, to nearly 3,000 participants.

A PDF of the Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 FY21 Annual Report is available on the Penn Sustainability website, along with colorful infographics based on this year's information.