In 2007, Emerson College (alongside 700 other higher education institutions) signed the carbon commitment, in which Emerson agreed to work toward carbon neutrality by 2030. In 2016, President Lee Pelton signed the resilience commitment, in which the College agreed to prepare for challenges caused by climate change. Together, these two commitments constitute the Climate Commitment, overseen by Second Nature, a third-party organization.
Since 2007, Emerson has made significant strides toward its climate commitment. It has reduced its net carbon emissions by 27%, despite increasing its square footage by 60%. Four out of five residential halls are LEED-certified. Campus buildings have decreased their carbon emissions by 80%. Emerson purchases enough wind energy to cover 100% of its electricity needs, which has allowed the College to become an EPA Green Power Partner. Bon Appétit Management Co. sources at least 20% of its food from small, owner-operated farms and ranches within a 150-mile radius of campus, and the Dining Center offers a reusable clamshell food container and tumbler program. These are just a few successes highlighting the College’s commitment to sustainability.