Attention: Pomona College is planning for a full return of students in fall. Learn More

Vision for Sustainability

We envision a carbon neutral campus by 2030.

 

Our Strategic Plan

SAVE: Sustainable Actions | Visible Effects

SAVE is Pomona College's guide for creating and managing a sustainable campus community. The plan outlines measurable strategies that lead the College to achieve ambitious sustainability goals and reach carbon neutrality by 2030. SAVE aligns the work and direction of The Board of Trustees, the President, the President's Advisory Committee on Sustainability, and the Pomona community.

Progress on SAVE goals and initiatives is published each October in the SAVE Annual Report. See below for a snapshot of our key categories and visit our Sustainability Dashboard for interactive highlights from this year's report.

View the Sustainability Dashboard

 

Key Categories

Vision, Goals & Performance

Toggle through the dropdowns below to see each category's vision, goals, and latest performance. For full highlights on achievements and progress, request a copy of the latest SAVE Annual Report by emailing sustainability@pomona.edu.

Climate Action

VISION

Achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

2020 SUMMARY

This year Pomona College reduced overall emissions by 29% from the 2014 baseline, exceeding our 2020 goal and positioning us on the path of carbon neutrality by 2030. The transportation sector saw the largest reduction, with a 47% reduction in commuting emissions and a 38% reduction in air travel emissions. Although this was largely due to the pandemic campus closure (mid-March through June— about one-quarter of our reporting time period), we will use this opportunity to educate the campus community about the effects of transportation emissions and utilizing alternative transportation, including telecommuting, whenever possible.

On Track

Usage has decreased 29% since FY14

Goal Progress

Climate Emissions

Reduce overall emissions:

25% by 2020

100% by 2030

On Track

Decreased 29% from the 2014 baseline

Energy

VISION

Create an environment supported by clean energy, data analytics, and efficiently operating buildings without sacrificing comfort, reliability, or resilience.

2020 SUMMARY

Pomona College continues to improve its energy efficiency, reaching two of our 2020 energy goals. The electricity savings reduced scope 2 emissions by 33% from the 2014 baseline, advancing us on the path to carbon neutrality by 2030. The Smith Campus Center, Mudd-Blaisdell-Gibson, and the Rains Center had the largest electricity reduction. Pomona also received two awards for promising work in autonomous building optimization. Funded by a California Energy Commission grant, the project uses real-time data analytics to decrease energy usage. In the next few years, Pomona plans to expand the project to all major campus buildings.

 
Goal Progress

Energy Efficiency

Reduce electricity and gas usage:

30% by 2020

40% by 2030

On Track

Usage decreased 32% since 2014

Managed Operations

Achieve a campus building energy use

intensity number of:

80 by 2020

60 by 2030

On Track

71 average campus building EUI

Renewable Energy

Increase renewable energy production

on- and off-campus:

4% by 2020

10% by 2030

Obstacle

1% of campus energy came from onsite renewables

Water

VISION

Reduce our water footprint while supporting a vibrant, diverse, abundant campus ecosystem and creating a culture of water awareness and action.

2020 SUMMARY

Campus water usage is on a positive downward trend with the first annual decrease since 2016 with a 22% decrease from the baseline. The campus closure helped reduce water consumption, and Pomona also decreased outdoor irrigation by injecting a highly-absorbent clay material in four turf areas. Although water usage decreased significantly, we still fell short of our 2020 goal. The Sustainability Office plans to increase WaterWise awareness in the residence halls, the largest influencer of campus water usage.

 
Goal Progress

Water Use

Reduce water use:

40% by 2020

60% by 2030

Obstacle

Usage has decreased 22% from 2014

Landscaping

New landscaping purchases are drought-tolerant:

25% by 2020

30% by 2030

On Track

99% of purchased landscaping plants

were drought tolerant

Water Meters

Major buildings and systems are metered

for real-time water use:

75% by 2020

100% by 2030

On Track

66% of major buildings and systems

are metered

 

Waste

VISION

Reduce, reuse, and divert our waste to create a responsible, healthy, Zero Waste campus.

2020 SUMMARY

In 2020, Pomona College reduced landfill trash by 15% and overall waste by 49% (600 tons!) compared to the 2014 baseline. Although we made progress toward our goals, the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily closed the regional recycling facility, sending 50 tons (an additional 13%) of recyclables into the landfill and diluting our diversion efforts. Moving forward, the Sustainability Office plans to increase diversion by upgrading outdoor and indoor waste signage and educating the community about low-waste efforts.

Goal Progress

Landfill

Reduce total waste sent to landfill:

50% by 2020

75% by 2030

Obstacle

15% decrease in landfill waste from 2014

Diversion

Increase waste diversion rate:

75% by 2020

90% by 2030 (Zero Waste)

Obstacle

31% of waste was diverted

Copy Paper

Increase percentage of copy paper

purchased that is sustainable:

25% by 2020

90% by 2030

Off Track 

6% of white copy paper purchased

is sustainable

Transportation

VISION

Support a clean environment and healthy community through accessible, low-emission transportation.

2020 SUMMARY

Reduced air travel and increased telecommuting because of the COVID-19 campus closure yielded a 41% reduction in overall transportation emissions from the baseline, the first decrease in four years. During the campus closure, 79% of faculty and staff telecommuted, compared to less than 1% normally. Faculty and staff air travel mileage also fell by half. Although these results are influenced by the campus closure, COVID-19 has shown how individual choices can significantly reduce carbon emissions. As the College continues to grow, a key priority will be reducing emissions while still providing premier, globally-minded learning opportunities to the campus community.

 

Goal Progress

SOV Commuting

Reduce Single Occupancy Vehicle

commuting miles:

15% by 2020

30% by 2030

Off Track

SOV miles increased 46% from 2014

Commuting Emissions

Reduce commuting emissions:

15% by 2020

100% by 2030 (Carbon Neutral)

Off Track

Commuting emissions decreased 2% from 2014

 

Food

VISION

Increase sustainable food purchases to support a healthy community and minimize environmental impact.

2020 SUMMARY

Through student engagement and data collection, Dining Services and the SO advanced food sustainability on campus. Dining hosted cooking classes and themed events that promoted plant-based meals and sustainable practices. Pomona also joined the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative, which develops solutions to move consumers toward healthier and sustainable food options. Using purchasing data and collaborating with food vendors, the College also achieved its 2020 seafood and sustainable purchasing goals!

 

Goal Progress

Purchases

Increase the number of sustainable

foods purchased:

30% by 2020

Completed

31% of food purchases were sustainable

Organic

Increase the number of organic

food purchased:

10% by 2020

Obstacle

3% of all food was certified organic

Seafood

Increase the number of sustainable

seafood purchased: 

75% by 2020

Off Track

83% of seafood purchased was sustainable

 

Buildings & Outdoor Venues

VISION

Construct, operate, and maintain efficient buildings and outdoor venues to create healthy spaces and minimize environmental impact.

2020 SUMMARY

This year, Pomona has advanced its efforts in sustainable buildings significantly. With 10 LEED-certified buildings, the campus continues to expand its resources while decreasing the environmental impact. Pomona also exceeded its 2020 green cleaning goals by purchasing recycled toilet paper, recycled paper towels, and green cleaning products. Last year, the Grounds department sampled organic herbicides and fertilizers that failed to work effectively. The SO will continue to work with Grounds to source landscaping products that balance sustainability and performance.

 

Goal Progress

Paper Products

Paper cleaning products are sustainable:

75% by 2020

100% by 2030

On Track

95% of paper cleaning products

were sustainable

Cleaning Products

Chemical cleaning products are sustainable:

50% by 2020

90% by 2030

On Track 

55% of chemical cleaning products

were sustainable

Organic Landscaping

Landscaped acres are landscaped organically:

75% by 2020

100% by 2030

Obstacle

30% of herbicides and pesticides

purchased were organic

 

Education

VISION

Incorporate sustainability principles into campus curriculum and activities to inspire the next generation of environmental leaders and innovators.

2020 SUMMARY

Through course projects and remote research, students and faculty demonstrated a commitment to identify and respond to real-world intersectional sustainability issues. During the COVID-19 campus closure, students and faculty focused their academic work on the effect of the pandemic on vulnerable communities. Using a more stringent definition from STARS 2.2, the Sustainability Office identified 5% of FY20 courses as sustainability-related, a decrease from last year because of the updated criteria. To increase sustainability in the curriculum, the SO plans to work with the EA department to identify faculty who can incorporate more sustainability concepts into their courses.

 

Goal Progress

Courses

Increase the number of courses that

include a sustainability component

10% by 2020

50% by 2030

Obstacle

5% of courses were sustainability-related

Departments

Increase the number of departments

that offer at least one course with a

sustainability component

50% by 2020

100% by 2030

Obstacle

33% of departments offered at least

one sustainability-related course

 

Administration

VISION

Educate and empower the next generation of environmental leaders.

2020 SUMMARY

Pomona continued to show strong support and enthusiasm for sustainability, from students to top administration. The President’s Sustainability fund provided $7,000 for student campus sustainability projects, including new supplies for the popular Greenware program, free collapsible silicone cups for pick-up at the Sustainability Office, and a Farm re-irrigation project (which was put on hold due to the campus closure). The Greenware checkout program, which allows students and staff to borrow reusable tableware for their events in place of single-use items, was highly popular this year. Even with the early campus closure, the program saw a 45% increase in orders! The Draper Center, the Asian American Resource Center, and the Asian American Mentorship Program were the clubs with the most orders. This year was also a highly collaborative year with the launch of the 5C Regenerative Coalition, a group where environmental leaders across The Claremont Colleges meet to share resources and plan coordinated events, like the 5C Earth Day.