As the world emerges from the dark clouds of the past two years, it is important to recognize the future opportunities the University has to move forward into a brighter future. This future, especially the amplified focus on centering climate change and sustainability in academics, research, operations, community connections and external engagement, will strongly influence the breadth and depth of climate and sustainability efforts at Duke.
Over the coming years, Duke will develop its next-level sustainability goals that look beyond the 2024 carbon neutrality commitment and the original campus Sustainability Strategic Plan. These goals will not only look past campus boundaries to enhance community engagement but will also strive to ensure the principles of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion are centered throughout planning and implementation of this entire strategy.
The Board of Trustees Task Force on Climate Change and Sustainability also identified several priority focus areas for Duke’s future operational and community sustainability efforts including procurement, food, waste, transportation and renewable energy. Key next steps in this effort include:
- The Campus Sustainability Committee and Procurement department consideration of new goals for sustainable supply chain management as it relates to environmentally preferable purchasing, local businesses, and supplier diversity
- Development of a sustainable fleet and electric vehicle charging plan for the University and Health System
- Creation of a next generation sustainability report that highlights Duke’s current baseline efforts, showcases opportunities for community integration and can evolve to share progress on future explicit goals and targets
These efforts build on Duke’s existing institutional strengths in sustainability and amplify the deep and long-standing commitment to transform knowledge into practice that yields strong and positive societal impact. These expanding sustainability efforts will connect even more in the coming years to the broader University-wide commitment to elevate existing climate-related work, while also creating new efforts across Duke’s research, teaching, engagement, operations and community partnership portfolio.