Priorities and Initiatives

UNC Charlotte has developed a framework for priorities and initiatives based on compliance with the University of North Carolina Sustainability Policy 600.6.1. Most progress comes from the work of university departments responsible for the underlying activities. The Chancellor’s Executive Sustainability Committee is briefed on progress and approves budget requests for specific initiatives that can be carried out by the Office of Sustainability.

The UNC Sustainability Policy requires UNC Charlotte to improve eight practices (underlined below). Following an assessment in 2017, the University grouped these practices into two priorities, three initiatives and one commitment.


Priorities are defined as areas of success in complying with the UNC Sustainability Policy.

Academic Priority

Systematic Integration of Sustainability Principles: Systematically incorporate sustainability throughout the institution by integrating the policy goals into the institution’s processes, administration, teaching, research and engagement.

Operations Priority
  • Master Planning: Sustainability principles related to infrastructure, natural resources, site development and community impact shall be incorporated into comprehensive master plans.
  • Design and Construction: Capital project planning and construction processes shall meet statutory energy and water efficiency requirements and deliver energy, water and materials efficient buildings and grounds that minimize the impact on and/or enhance the site and provide good indoor environmental quality for occupants.
  • Operations and Maintenance: The operation and maintenance of buildings and grounds shall meet or exceed statutory requirements to reduce energy and water use, provide excellent air quality and comfort, improve productivity of faculty, staff and students, and minimize materials use. Further, priority shall be given to the purchase and installation of high-efficiency equipment and facilities as part of an ongoing sustainability action plan following life cycle cost guidelines where applicable.


Initiatives were defined for three practices where compliance is not being achieved:

Transportation Planning

“The University shall develop and implement a comprehensive, multimodal transportation plan designed to reduce carbon emissions and dependency on single occupant vehicles.”

Zero Waste

“The University shall develop policies and programs that work toward achieving zero waste and will comply with the provisions of NC General Statute 130A-309.14 regarding recycling and waste management.”

Responsible Purchasing

“Any purchasing shall, to the extent practicable, improve the environmental performance of its supply chain with consideration given to toxicity, recycled content, energy and water efficiency, rapidly renewable resources and local production, and shall also improve the social performance of its supply chain with consideration given to working conditions and historically underutilized businesses.”


Commitment is used to refer to the one practice that includes a deadline:

Carbon Commitment

The University shall develop a plan to become carbon neutral as soon as practicable, and by 2050 at the latest, with an ultimate goal of climate neutrality.

This commmitment follows the language currently used for the President’s Climate Leadership Commitment originated in 2009 by former Chancellor Philip L. Dubois and renewed in 2021 by Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. The university reports greenhouse gas emissions for Scope 1, 2, and 3 to Second Nature.