Harvard Business School 2015 Commencement Features Sustainability (Just Means)

Harvard has made it a University-wide priority to address the challenges of climate change and sustainability. The University created a Sustainable Plan in 2014 that provides the roadmap for building a healthier, more sustainable campus.

As a part of this commitment, the 2015 Harvard Business School Commencement held in the last week of May, highlighted a variety of sustainable measures. For the first time, the event featured completely compostable lunch containers and utensils along with guest compost bins. Twenty sorting stations staffed by HBS Green Team volunteers assisted guests in sorting items into recycling, composting, and trash bins.

Allison Webster, the HBS Sustainability Program Manager, said that the goal was to make it easier for the guests and members of the HBS community to contribute to the School’s sustainability mission and at the same time offer them a learning opportunity while they were on campus. Guests also had the opportunity to offset the carbon footprint of their travel by planting a tree in the Harvard Business School Forest through a partnership with Patagonia Sur.

The sustainability commitment of HBS pervades through its healthy and efficient buildings. Eleven HBS building projects have been LEED-certified, more than 277.5 kW of rooftop solar PV have been installed, and over 100 energy efficiency measures have been implemented. To date, HBS has reduced emissions on its campus by 45 percent and energy use has dropped by 21 percent.

Leftover food from the School’s Spangler Dining Hall is donated to local shelters and food banks via the Food Donation Connection. Single-stream recycling, composting in the dining halls, increased awareness through peer-to-peer education programs, and reuse collection stations during move-out have helped contribute to reaching the University’s goal to reduce waste per capita by 50 percent by 2020.

Leah Ricci, HBS Assistant Director of Sustainability and Energy Management said that moving over to compostables at Commencement and other major events would help them reach, and hopefully surpass, Harvard’s waste reduction goals. In 2014, HBS achieved a 67 percent recycling rate, exceeding the University’s rate by 14 percent.

The HBS Sustainability Team also focuses on staff and student engagement with its employee-based Green Team and the Student Sustainability Associate Program, which hires 10 MBAs each year to lead campus sustainability projects. On the academic side, the Business and Environment Initiative is led by HBS faculty and staff working to deepen business leaders’ understanding of today’s environmental challenges and to assist them in developing effective solutions.

Source: HBS.edu

Image Credit: Flickr via CA Malaysia