As the Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 enters its final year, the Penn Sustainability Office released the report for fiscal year 2023 documenting the University's progress toward the goals outlined in the plan.
CSAP 3.0, which is set to conclude in 2024, launched in 2019 with the purpose of outlining strategies to advance sustainability across various areas of the University. According to this year's report, Penn made notable progress in all seven of its key performance areas: Utilities & Operations, Transportation, Physical Environment, Outreach & Engagement, Academics, Procurement, and Strategic Waste.
“There are many people across Penn working on sustainability, applying knowledge, and bringing together solutions for the community,” Anne Papageorge, senior vice president of Penn’s Facilities & Real Estate Services division, told Penn Sustainability.
The report called for the completion of each initiative's goals by the end of fiscal year 2024. It added that planning for Penn's next action plan will formally begin next year, bringing in "hundreds" of stakeholders from across the University.
CSAP 3.0 continues Penn's efforts toward its stated goal of achieving 100% carbon neutrality by 2042. According to the report, the University reduced its carbon footprint in utilities and operations in 2023, advancing two energy projects that are now supplying renewable electricity to the campus.
The University made a similar effort in the transportation category, purchasing four new electric vans — the first of the University’s fleet — which have already begun operating on campus grounds. Penn also began recording the carbon footprint of its real estate properties for the first time — an achievement highlighted in the physical environment category of the annual report.
Penn hosted Earth Week in April and launched its fourth annual Climate Week in September, aiming to raise climate awareness in the Penn community. The annual report highlighted that the goal of increasing climate literacy involved working with the leaders of Penn’s 12 schools to release Academic Climate Commitments, which detail how their respective schools would address the climate crisis.
In November 2023, Nina Morris told Penn Today that Penn would be narrowing in on procurement goals, as efforts in the other six areas had either been underway or completed.
The procurement metrics noted in the report included the results of the Climate Impact Offset charge program, which first launched in November 2022. Penn collected $191,454 in charges over the fiscal year 2023 and will offset the 53,732,321 domestic and international miles flown on University business.
The report marks strategic waste as the only category out of the seven that has not yet completed progress on its goals. As a result, Penn enlisted a new waste hauler and audit partner to help in achieving its strategic waste objectives in the upcoming year.