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Sustainability

Sustainability and Climate Action Plan

Sustainability and Climate Action Vision

Bentley is a model for sustainability in higher education, developing organizational leaders committed to making their institutions, communities, and the world more sustainable.

Our operations and education reflect a commitment to sustainability and climate justice by students, faculty, and staff. Our community is equitable and resilient, promoting innovative thinking to solve the sustainability issues of today and tomorrow.

Process

Bentley's 2021 Sustainability and Climate Action Plan is the result of a twelve-month planning process that engaged over 300 Bentley students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The plan consists of five focus areas, each with five-year goals and strategies that align with the university's mission to "change the world with a transformative business education, integrated with arts and sciences, that inspires and prepares ethical leaders who will confront the challenges of today and shape the opportunities of tomorrow." 

Three of the five focus areas specifically address the university's greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) through sustainable campus operations and resource use. The remaining focus areas address Bentley's impact as an educational institution, with goals to develop organizational leaders who think critically about the broad range of sustainability issues in society and business, and support the Bentley community with resources and knowledge to engage in sustainability, climate justice and resiliency.

Goals and Strategies

Energy and Building Systems

Goal 1 - Decarbonize
  • Goal 1 - Decarbonize: By 2026, Bentley has continued to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, remaining on track to achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2030, using the following strategies:
    • Strategy 1 -- Procure: Purchase 100% renewable electricity to power Bentley's campus.
    • Strategy 2 -- Plan: Develop a utility energy and resiliency plan, including assessments of onsite renewable energy production potential and the electrification of campus energy systems.
    • Strategy 3 -- Pilot: Convert a system(s) within a building from fossil fuel to electricity as a standalone project or to supplement a capital building or major renovation project.  
    • Strategy 4 -- Install: Install renewable power generation infrastructure on campus.
    • Strategy 5 -- Target: Set a target date for the university to become fossil fuel free.
Goal 2 - Energy Use
  • Goal 2 - Energy Use: By 2026, Bentley has decreased its campus energy use intensity (energy use per square foot) using the following strategies: 
    • Strategy 1 -- Target: By the end of fiscal year 2022, set a target for a decrease in energy use intensity by building type.
    • Strategy 2 -- Standardize: Create construction standards for new buildings and major renovation projects focused on improved building efficiency to meet targeted energy use intensity goals and enhance climate resilience.
    • Strategy 3 -- Reduce: Implement targeted energy efficiency projects on campus with the goal of reducing usage, funded as standalone projects or supplementing the deferred maintenance plan.
Goal 3 - Water Use
  • Goal 3 - Water Use: By 2026, Bentley has improved water efficiency across its natural and built environments using the following strategies: 
    • Strategy 1 -- Plan: Create a 5-year indoor and outdoor water management and use reduction plan with a focus on efficiency and climate resiliency. 
    • Strategy 2 -- Target: By the end of fiscal year 2023, set a target for a decrease in campus water use.
    • Strategy 3 -- Upgrade: Upgrade the existing irrigation system to one that is higher efficiency and includes active monitoring.
    • Strategy 4 -- Update: Update existing plumbing fixtures that do not meet current low-flow standards.

Transportation and Mobility

Goal 1- Commuting
  • Goal 1- Commuting: By 2026, Bentley has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from commuting by 10% and increased use of sustainable (low carbon) modes of commuting to and from campus using the following strategies:
    • Strategy 1 -- Incentivize: Provide incentives and programs for students, faculty and staff to choose sustainable commuting modes (ex: subsidized MBTA passes and bike share memberships).
    • Strategy 2 -- Connect: Identify and increase reliable sustainable commuting access to key locations in the Waltham area (ex: Commuter Rail, Moody Street).
    • Strategy 3 -- Be Flexible: Maintain workplace flexibility and opportunities to work remotely as defined in the university's Flexible Work Arrangements policy. 
    • Strategy 4 -- Engage: Increase communications about sustainable commuting options to grow student, faculty and staff awareness and engagement in sustainable commuting programs.
Goal 2- Infrastructure
  • Goal 2- Infrastructure: By 2026, Bentley has improved infrastructure to support zero-carbon modes of transportation within and around campus using the following strategies:
    • Strategy 1 -- Achieve: Improve campus biking infrastructure per the League of American Bicyclists, Bicycle Friendly University guidelines.
    • Strategy 2 -- Improve: Improve walking infrastructure on campus. 
    • Strategy 3 -- Partner: Partner with the City of Waltham to encourage improved walking and biking infrastructure in surrounding neighborhoods.
Goal 3 - Travel
  • Goal 3 - Travel: By 2026, Bentley has reduced emissions from business and academic air travel using the following strategies:
    • Strategy 1 -- Guide: Create a low-emissions guide for air travel, including information on how Bentley offsets greenhouse gas emissions from travel and how to effectively self-manage efficient travel. 
    • Strategy 2 -- Publicize: Publicize annual greenhouse gas emissions from travel to increase awareness of the connection between air travel and climate change. 

Materials Management

Goal 1 - Material Disposal
  • Goal 1 - Material Disposal: By 2026, Bentley has reduced the total volume of materials disposed of across campus operations by 10% as compared to fiscal year 2019 using the following strategies:
    • Strategy 1 -- Create: Create a materials management policy for Bentley using the Zero Waste Alliance's Zero-Waste Hierarchy as a guide.
    • Strategy 2 -- Reduce: Create a waste reduction plan for dining service operations including: The 921, the LaCava Café, the Dana Center Food Court, Einstein's Bros Bagels and campus-wide catering operations.
    • Strategy 3 -- Engage: Increase student, faculty and staff engagement in reuse, recycling and compost programs across campus operations.
Goal 2 - Sustainable Purchasing
  • Goal 2 - Sustainable Purchasing: By 2026, Bentley has increased sustainable purchasing and contracting at Bentley using the following strategies:
    • Strategy 1 -- Baseline: Create a baseline assessment of key products purchased using sustainability and diversity criteria for purchased goods and services.
    • Strategy 2 -- Collaborate: Collaborate with other institutions through consortiums and membership organizations to improve sustainable purchasing practices. 
    • Strategy 3 -- Guide: Create sustainable purchasing guidelines that incorporate sustainability reporting requirements into service and vendor contracts when appropriate, including greenhouse gas emissions and sustainability metrics for products and services.
    • Strategy 4 -- Vendor Support: Support and promote the sustainability work of vendors and partners.

Lifelong Learning and Engagement

Goal 1- Students
  • Goal 1- Students: By 2026, all interested students are presented with guidance for integrating sustainability, climate action, climate justice and/or climate resiliency into their careers using the following strategies:
    • Strategy 1 -- Support: Map opportunities for integrating sustainability, climate action, climate justice and/or climate resiliency into career paths by major.
    • Strategy 2 -- Build Capacity: Provide professional development in sustainability, climate action, climate justice and/or climate resiliency by increasing experiential learning and co-curricular education programs. 
    • Strategy 3 -- Connect: Increase university recruitment connections with organizations, nonprofits and public sector functions that are institutionalizing sustainability.
Goal 2 - Alumni
  • Goal 2 - Alumni: By 2026, at least 50 Bentley alumni are engaged and connected to sustainability at Bentley using the following strategies:
    • Strategy 1 -- Track: Create a process for tracking alumni who are working in sustainability, climate action, climate justice and/or climate resiliency fields.
    • Strategy 2 -- Engage: Hold alumni-specific programs on sustainability topics to both provide educational opportunities and to connect alumni to campus.
    • Strategy 3 -- Mentor: Expand the Alumni in Residence program to provide students with connections to alumni working in sustainability, climate action, climate justice and/or climate resiliency fields.
Goal 3 - Waltham Community
  • Goal 3 - Waltham Community: By 2026, Bentley is supporting sustainability, climate action, climate justice and/or climate resiliency work in the Waltham community using the following strategies:
    • Strategy 1 -- Expand: Expand our partnership with the City of Waltham on sustainability, climate action, climate justice and climate resiliency efforts by meeting with the City of Waltham's Director of Planning four times per year to identify opportunities for collaboration.
    • Strategy 2 -- Support: Partner with two or more organizations focusing on sustainability, climate action, climate justice and/or climate resiliency, supporting traditionally underserved populations in the City of Waltham.
Goal 4 - Faculty and Staff
  • Goal 4 - Faculty and Staff: By 2026, Bentley faculty and staff are engaged in sustainability, climate action, climate justice and/or climate resiliency education and action using the following strategies:
    • Strategy 1 -- Institutionalize: Outline sustainability, climate action, climate justice and/or climate resiliency alignment with each Bentley division, encourage measurable divisional commitments to the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan.
    • Strategy 2 -- Engage: Create a sustainability working group, that oversees and hosts a bi-annual workshop to educate and inspire faculty and staff to take action on sustainability, climate action, climate justice and/or climate resiliency.
    • Strategy 3 -- Research and Teaching: Support interdisciplinary sustainability research and teaching by creating sustainability research networking opportunities for Bentley faculty.

Outreach and Education

Goal 1 - Inform
  • Goal 1 - Inform: By 2026, the Bentley community is consistently informed about the university's sustainability efforts and achievements.    
    • Strategy 1 -- Define: Define sustainability, climate justice, and climate resiliency as a university.
    • Strategy 2 -- Kick Off: Create a first-year student communications and engagement program to support an affirmative approach to sustainable and inclusive behavior and culture at Bentley.
    • Strategy 3 -- Measure: Measure, publish and promote sustainability metrics at an institutional level, annually.
    • Strategy 4 -- Create: Create an annual communications strategy targeting both internal and external audiences.
    • Strategy 5 -- Celebrate: Coordinate an annual event to celebrate community-wide sustainability accomplishments.
Goal 2 - Global Context
  • Goal 2 - Global Context: By 2026, the Bentley community understands the university's sustainability efforts in a global context
    • Strategy 1 -- Assess: Annually assess student, faculty and staff awareness of global sustainability issues.
    • Strategy 2 -- Address: Create co-curricular and faculty/staff education programs to address gaps in knowledge.