In light of our mission as a Jesuit University and the evidence presented by our colleagues around the world working in the sciences, in 2010 Fr. John Schlegel signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which involves universities taking a leadership role on the climate change issue within the broader society. In 2015, the ACUPCC was renamed the Climate Commitment. More information about this change can be found here.
The full text is available here, but highlights of this commitment are below, with comments describing Creighton's actions so far.
A. Initiate the development of a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible.
- Within two months of signing this document, create institutional structures to guide the development and implementation of the plan (Sustainability Council established 2008).
- Within one year of signing this document, complete a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions (including emissions from electricity, heating, commuting, and air travel) and update the inventory every other year thereafter. (First greenhouse gas inventory completed January 2011 by the Brendle Group.)
- Within two years of signing this document, develop an institutional action plan for becoming climate neutral, which will include:
- A target date for achieving climate neutrality as soon as possible.
- Interim targets for goals and actions that will lead to climate neutrality.
- Actions to make climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experience for all students.
- Actions to expand research or other efforts necessary to achieve climate neutrality.
- Mechanisms for tracking progress on goals and actions.
B. Initiate two or more of the following tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gases while the more comprehensive plan is being developed (Creighton's actions bolded).
- Establish a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Councilís LEED Silver standard or equivalent.
- Adopt an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring purchase of ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which such ratings exist.
- Establish a policy of offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions generated by air travel paid for by our institution.
- Encourage use of and provide access to public transportation for all faculty, staff, students and visitors at our institution.
- Within one year of signing this document, begin purchasing or producing at least 15% of our institutionís electricity consumption from renewable sources.
- Establish a policy or a committee that supports climate and sustainability shareholder proposals at companies where our institutionís endowment is invested.
- Participate in the Waste Minimization component of the national RecycleMania competition, and adopt 3 or more associated measures to reduce waste.
C. Make the action plan, inventory, and periodic progress reports publicly available by providing them to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for posting and dissemination
The greenhouse gases for the university are calculated annually. Information is below.
Fiscal Year 2010 (baseline)
Fiscal Year 2011
Fiscal Year 2012
Fiscal Year 2013
Fiscal Year 2014
This chart summarizes Creightonís greenhouse gas emissions over the past four years. These numbers do not include the clinics or the hospital.
It is important to note that the greenhouse gas emissions from purchased goods and utilities (natural gas, propane, electricity, steam and chilled water) have steadily decreased. However, the emissions from transportation (fleet and university-financed travel) have increased.