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Setting goals Once the basic elements of a plan have been established – i.e., categories for goals, timeline, likely desirable outcomes etc. – it is critical to identify ‘delegates’ who will support the development and implementation of the plan and who will subsequently be held accountable for specific projects and goals. The goals included in the plan should be ambitious but realistic, measurable and time-bound. During the planning process, it is imperative to establish systems to measure results and to hold groups and individuals accountable. If, for example, the university opts to commit to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 10%, how is that to be measured? By whom? With what frequency? And what programmes will support the transition to solutions that are more energy-efficient and will reduce carbon emissions? As goals are being set, it is also critical to establish baselines and tactics for collecting metrics. Some might consider this a first step, but to start with what you can measure may also be limiting and might preclude some of the most environmentally impactful themes. If, instead, the process is structured to identify what should be managed and then determine how to quantify those factors, the plan can be more inclusive and effective.


As goals ar e being set, it also critica is l to establish b aselines and tactics collecting mfor etrics

Cases in which there should be mechanisms to quantify outcomes but the data is weak or missing will highlight the need for data collection and analysis. For targets or projects that do not lend themselves well to quantification, such as behaviour-change campaigns, it is often possible to identify proxy indicators; for instance, tallying the number of clicks for a particular link, assessing staff commitment by collecting pledges, or tallying participants in green workplace programmes. Finally, it is important to continually explore and communicate about best practices and ways for various members of the community to get involved. It is crucial that regular progress reports reference the environmental, financial, and social benefits of sustainability programmes.


IARU - Green Guide for Universities – pathways towards sustainability  

Green Guide for Universities – IARU pathways towards sustainability developed by 10 leading international universities and the think-tank Su...

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