Aerial view of Seattle and Mt. Rainier from the UW campus

The UW Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC) provides tri-campus institutional leadership coordination over the development of the university’s Sustainability Action Plan, climate and sustainability goals, and associated policies.

ESC Charter

Committee responsibilities

  • Advises the Provost, President, and Board of Regents on the development and implementation of UW sustainability goals, policies, and targets.
  • Updates the Cabinet and Board of Deans and Chancellors annually.
  • Recommends to the President and Provost tri-campus, institution-wide sustainability goals, targets and priorities that align with UW mission, strategies, and organizational initiatives.
  • Develops a UW sustainability strategy that aligns with environmental, equity, and economic goals of the university. 
  • Monitors progress of the development and implementation of a university-wide Sustainability Action Plan (SAP), which is updated every five years.
  • Monitors performance of the overall SAP to ensure progress on implementation. 
  • Facilitates collaboration among operations, academic and other UW groups and community stakeholders in pursuit of sustainability goals.
  • Facilitates broad communication and engagement across the university on sustainability initiatives to support transformation efforts and create a platform to sustain momentum. 

Historic timeline

December 2000: then-Executive Vice President Weldon Ihrig convened a 12-member task force to review the UW’s environmental policies and practices.

Academic year 2003-2004: formation of the Sustainable UW Alliance, to encourage focus on clean energy and green buildings.

August 2004: creation of the Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee (ESAC). Then-UW President Mark A. Emmert announced to the President's Cabinet and the Board of Deans that the UW was adopting a Policy of Environmental Stewardship, of which the ESAC was the overseeing body. The Policy reaffirmed the University's commitment to environmental stewardship and responsibility. ESAC was chartered to act as a guide, provide advice and help develop the University's sustainability goals and was formed through a grassroots effort of staff, faculty and students coordinated by the Program on the Environment.

January 2009: ESAC chartered a Climate Action Planning Oversight Team.

September 2009: the UW’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) was drafted, adopted, and submitted to the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment  (ACUPCC).

April 2012: ESAC was reorganized into the Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC), a University-wide committee that oversees the University's goals and development in relation to its commitment to sustainability. In collaboration with University units and stakeholders, the Committee identifies long-term goals and standards, as well as develops benchmark measures .

August 2012: President Michael Young signed UW Executive Order Number 13 on Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability. The effort was spearheaded by ESC and CAP policy sub-teams. The Order confirms the University's longstanding commitment to sustainability and serves as the guide for future sustainable policy development and pursuit of CAP objectives.

June 2016: The ESC voted to implement a new Statement of Purpose further defining the committee's role and function.

Fall 2023: An updated charter was adopted for the committee.

Contact information

For further information about the Environmental Stewardship Committee, contact:

UW Sustainability