The University of Washington is committed to sustainability. Here are a few of the institutional commitments we have made as a University.
Sustainability Mission & Vision
We envision a UW where sustainability is interwoven in everything we do - including scholarship, service, operations, public health, and community. With sustainability deeply embedded in our culture, we will take bold action and lead with urgency for a just, resilient, and healthy planet.
We consistently acknowledge environmental harm and inequity, both past and present, in order to make meaningful progress. We develop leaders and innovative solutions to address our global climate crisis and urgent sustainability challenges. We do this by using teaching, research, service and operations as a foundation to translate learning into action, by creating livings labs, and by dedicating resources to follow through on our commitments.
Definition of Sustainability
The UW's official definition of sustainability was adopted in 2022 after a process that included faculty, students and staff from all three campuses.
UW Executive Order Number 13, Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, was approved in 2012 and confirms the UW’s longstanding commitment to sustainability,
In 2004, the UW issued a policy statement committing to promoting the sustainable use of our resources.
More sustainability commitments
Fossil Fuel Divestment
In 2022, the UW Board of Regents voted to exit direct fossil fuel investments by 2027, with the intention of achieving net-zero emissions in the UW's Combined Endowment Fund by Fiscal Year 2050.
News story Read the resolution
This followed a 2015 Board of Regents decision to divest and prohibit investment in coal companies.
We are still in
In 2017 the UW signed the "We Are Still In" petition along with hundreds of other universities, governors, mayors and others. The petition stated that in the absence of leadership from the federal government, UW remains in solidarity with those around the world committed to a transition to clean energy and to holding global warming to well below 2°C.
Presidents' Climate Commitment
In 2007 we became a member of the Leadership Circle of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), “by which the University agrees to adopt policies that minimize global warming emissions and integrate sustainability more firmly into the curriculum, and also to provide leadership in encouraging other universities and colleges to join in the effort to address global climate change." Then-UW President UW President Mark Emmert as well as chancellors at both UW Bothell and UW Tacoma signed the commitment.
To fulfill the obligations of the Climate Commitment, the UW published a Climate Action Plan in 2009. In the Climate Action Plan, the UW stated its intention "to achieve zero GHG emissions by, or as soon after 2050 as technology will allow."