To further reduce environmental impacts, WPI joins Second Nature and signs the Principles for Responsible Investment | News

To celebrate Earth Month, WPI is announcing new partnerships to support its ongoing commitments to fight climate change. The University recently signed pledges with two leading organizations in the movement to accelerate climate action goals, highlighting WPI’s critical role in transforming knowledge into action to address global challenges such as climate change. climatic.

Carbon commitment with Second Nature. Second Nature is committed to accelerating climate action in and through higher education. This is accomplished by mobilizing a wide range of higher education institutions to act on bold climate commitments, to scale up campus climate initiatives, and to create innovative climate solutions. Second Nature aims to align, amplify and connect industry efforts with other global leaders to advance pressing climate priorities.

The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) are the world’s leading promoter of responsible investing, helping institutions across all sectors understand ways to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into their investment decisions. investment and property.

This announcement comes as WPI students, faculty and staff celebrate Take Actiona month of events, activities and dialogue around all aspects of global and local sustainability.

“The campus is buzzing with activity, in every corner and from so many different aspects of the university, which speaks to the commitment of the entire community to be the laboratory of life and learning envisioned in the plan of sustainability of WPI,” Leshin said. “WPI’s first sustainability plan was launched just months before I arrived here, and over the past eight years this community has made tremendous progress, from infrastructure initiatives to new programs and courses, including a new master’s program in community-based climate adaptation in The Global School. We have work to do, and these pledges will help hold the university accountable and keep that work on track.

After signing the PRI, WPI will integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into its investment analysis, decision-making, and ownership policies and practices. Reports on activities and progress towards implementing the principles are also required. Ultimately, this is an important step in the right direction towards sustainable investing.

Upon joining Second Nature, WPI must form a committee of faculty, staff, and students within the next two months to develop a plan with specific development guidelines and timelines to achieve carbon neutrality. Within one year of signing Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment, the University must complete an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and identify short-term opportunities to reduce greenhouse gases. The commitment will build on energy emission reductions already achieved in LEED-rated energy-efficient buildings that have been constructed over the past 7 years.

For both initiatives, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Michael Horan will conduct an annual review, and his team, primarily the Office of Sustainability, will be responsible for ensuring that pledges build on the holistic framework already in place. square.

“The University has made significant strides in recent years in making smart, sustainable decisions, including constructing LEED-certified buildings, limiting waste and unnecessary energy consumption, and finding alternatives to combustibles. fossils. These commitments support our planning to reduce our carbon footprint with the goal of becoming carbon neutral,” said Horan. “Going forward, WPI will aggressively pursue energy efficiency strategies in new and existing buildings, central utility improvements and renewable energy technologies where possible. Through strategic partnerships, with our faculty and students, we will continue to reduce energy-related emissions through strategies such as expanding LED lighting upgrades, optimizing building HVAC , improvement of the chilled water system, hot water conversion and solar energy on and off campus. Plans are also underway to divide the campus into microgrids, which will limit the risk of power outages.

“These initiatives will complement and enhance our sustainability efforts and programs on campus,” said Paul Mathisen, Director of Sustainability. “We regularly assess our energy consumption and greenhouse gas production in our reporting efforts, so that we can adjust these analyzes to align them with Second Nature’s requirements. In addition, within two years, We will complete a climate action plan that will include a target date for achieving carbon neutrality.The integration of climate change mitigation and adaptation into our academic programs and research will also be an important part of this plan. The initiative will help advance our sustainability plan and also increase engagement in sustainability – both on campus and off campus.”

WPI’s sustainability plan includes a set of goals, objectives and tasks to reduce our use of resources, including reducing water consumption, waste generation, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and other targets. First adopted in 2014 and updated in 2020, the plan includes a sustainability ecosystem focused on promoting sustainability in four areas: academics, research, campus operations and facilities, and community engagement. . The goals and targets align closely with many of the targets identified by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These new initiatives represent important steps to help address the critical global challenges that affect us all.

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