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How does Carolina set sustainability goals for campus? The University will publish the Three Zeros Roadmap later this spring, which will serve as a guide for faculty, staff and students to help identify high-potential projects and programs, evaluate and report results, and achieve campus sustainability goals. Currently, Carolina is at the beginning of a five-year cycle, which includes:

Action Plan - Year 1: GHG Focus, Year 3: Water Focus, Year 5: Waste Focus
The Three Zeros Roadmap is updated and published on a five-year cycle to reflect the changes in campus culture, technology, market influences, climate trends and research and how they impact our progress towards the Three Zeros goals of net zero greenhouse gases, net zero water usage and zero waste to landfills.
  • Reporting progress against interim targets
  • Revised pan-campus strategies for each zero goal
  • Adjusted long-range objectives for achieving neutrality

The Roadmap will be updated and published on a five-year cycle to reflect the changes in campus culture, technology, market influences, climate trends, and research and how they impact our progress towards the Three Zeros goals of net zero greenhouse gases, net zero water usage and zero waste to landfills. The 2020 Three Zeros Roadmap includes the implementation of a new University Sustainability Council, which will be instrumental in prioritizing projects, evaluating their outcome and guiding the Chancellor on campus-wide sustainability recommendations.

The Three Zeros Roadmap will include action plans and a dedicated reporting section for each zero. The action plans will be refreshed and published every two years on a rotating basis to reflect progress, changes in campus culture, technology, market influences, climate trends and research. For the first two years of this cycle (2020-2021), the focus is on greenhouse gas emissions and publication of The Climate Action Plan (CAP) for campus review and feedback.

“The University has worked over the last several years to develop and begin implementation of plans that incorporate campus feedback, research, and actions,” says Lew Kellogg, executive director of UNC Energy Services and Sustainability, “Previously, that work has gone on largely behind the scenes, but sharing the Three Zeros Roadmap and regularly updating its action plans is the first step to making this process more transparent.”

Since planning transparency is so important for the success of the action plans, the 2020 Three Zeros Roadmap will:

  • Contain interim goals.
  • Monitor progress against commitments and targets.
  • Inform stakeholders when projects or activities fail.

“The Three Zeros are our lofty goals. The Roadmap is our process for how to share and invite input on incremental and achievable steps toward our goals. And the action plans are how we achieve and communicate progress on those goals,” says Kellogg. “One example of this is the Climate Action Plan, which addresses, among other things, the University’s goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions. By promoting the roadmap and action plans — and reporting on our success to date — we are inviting our campus partners to help us achieve these important goals together.”

Three Zeros Environmental Initiative
Launched in fall 2016, the Three Zeros Environmental Initiative is Carolina’s integrated approach to reducing its environmental footprint through three sustainability goals: net zero water, zero waste to landfills and net zero greenhouse gases.
Three Zeros Roadmap
The five-year strategic plan guiding the Campus’ stewardship of three key environmental resources: Climate, Materials, and Water. In addition to lessons learned, the roadmap contains the action plan for achieving each of the three Initiative goals.
Action Plan
The strategy, targets, projects, and programs targeting improvement for each resource. Every other year beginning in 2020, one of the action plans will be refreshed to reflect progress, changes in campus culture, technology, market influences, climate trends, and research. The progress and success of each action plan will be measured against interim and long-term goals for each resource:

  • Climate – Net zero greenhouse gas
  • Materials – Zero waste to landfills
  • Water – Net zero water use.
University Sustainability Council
A senior level advisory group who guides the Chancellor on campus-wide sustainability recommendations, and regularly reports to the Chancellor and Cabinet on progress against sustainability goals.
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