Tracking Your Progress > Sustainability Reporting

Many schools and other organizations with a commitment to environmental improvements issue annual reports on their progress. Look over the campus and corporate examples below, and consider ways to integrate athletics and recreation greening progress into your school’s annual sustainability report.

In the absence of a campus-wide sustainability report, review the examples and additional resources below that may assist your sports department in reporting on your sustainability successes, including operational resource saving, environmental education, and environmental benefits.

Even if you don’t publish a full sustainability report, you can compile successes and environmental measurements and feature these in social media or other outreach. For events, consider compiling an Environmental Achievements document that outlines the strategies and successes related to event purchasing, facilities, and operational greening.

Collaborate with the campus facilities department, campus administration, any sustainability staff, and other experts on campus to build a model data collection system for your sports facilities. Work with other departments across your institution to encourage campus-wide adoption of the system and report on the data you gather.

See the Sustainability Metrics section for suggestions on implementing a data collection system and the Online Outreach section for suggestions on tracking fan engagement.

CAMPUS SUSTAINABILITY REPORT EXAMPLES

Harvard University Sustainability Report
University of Michigan Sustainability Progress Report 2013
Brown University Sustainability Progress Report 2013
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Campus Sustainability Report
Michigan State University Sustainability Report 2013
Yale University Sustainability Progress Report 2013
Stanford University Sustainability Reports
University of Florida Sustainability Report “Reaching The Vision”

CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY REPORT EXAMPLES

AEG1Earth Sustainability Report 2010
Disney 2010 Corporate Citizenship Report
Nike Corporate Responsibility Report 2010
Sustainability at UPS 2010
IBM Corporate Responsibility
Bank of America Corporate Sustainability Report 2010
Time Inc. 2009-2010 Sustainability Report
Seventh Generation 2010 Sustainability Report

Life Cycle Assessment

A life cycle assessment (LCA) is an analytical technique to assess the environmental aspects and potential impacts associated with a product, process, or service, by: (1) compiling an inventory of relevant energy and material inputs and environmental releases, (2) evaluating the potential environmental impacts associated with identified inputs and releases, and (3) interpreting the results to help you make a more informed decision.

This analysis takes into account all production stages, from cradle-to-grave (including raw material acquisition, transport, materials processing, manufacturing, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling).

Some campuses and even sports departments are beginning to evaluate their operations and major events using a life-cycle assessment approach. While it is challenging to gather enough data to conduct a complete life-cycle assessment, consider the following case study example featuring the University of Arizona’s ongoing LCA strategies.

Case Study: University of Arizona

The University of Arizona has pursued employing a life-cycle assessment (LCA) approach, called Project Pawprint, that takes into account all upstream and downstream impacts of its annual homecoming event. The UA is one of the first to use aspects of an LCA approach to assess the environmental impacts of a so-called “mega” event like their annual Homecoming. With over 60,000 attendees over three days, Homecoming is the UA’s largest long-running annual event, offering a unique opportunity to engage students, employees, and alumni in sustainability.

In 2012, the UA used LCA methodology to evaluate some of the environmental impacts associated with attendee travel and accommodations, 25 major events, game-day festivities, and the football game, with the goal of understanding how to reduce impacts of homecoming and other large UA events as well as developing a transferable assessment method.

For this project, the UA Office of Sustainability and several campus departments assembled a team dedicated to collecting and analyzing some of the available environmental impacts data related to Homecoming. This team included a graduate assistant, two NASA Space Grant undergraduate interns, and four engineering management undergraduates. This team worked to evaluate some of the environmental data associated with the raw material extraction, material processing, manufacturing, assembly, transportation, product use, and end of life for the products used during Homecoming with the “SimaPro LCA Software” system. The team used LCA methodology based on EPA’s Tool for the Reduction and Assessment of Chemical and Other Environmental Impacts (TRACI). On game day and throughout the weekend, 120 honors students collected data from attendees at a diverse array of events.

The assessment will be conducted again in 2013, with a number of strategies based on the 2012 assessment in place to improve the environmental performance of the 2013 Homecoming celebration in a meaningful and verifiable way. Based on their findings, the Office of Sustainability will assemble an environmental better practices guide for hosting large events. For more information about the research results, partners, and project resources, visit the UA Project Pawprint website: http://projectpawprint.arizona.edu.

To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Collegiate Game Changers report.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS

Publishing a sustainability report takes time and effort, but it helps your institution track your supply chain impacts and costs, is a useful tool to declare your institution’s commitment to sustainability, and will help to track and report environmental improvements annually. Sustainability reports let students, alumni, faculty, staff, suppliers, and the public know that your organization is serious about achieving and documenting environmental improvements.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) National Sustainability Reviews
AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System
The College Sustainability Report Card
Global Reporting Initiative
Global Reporting Initiative Guidelines
Templates for Best Practices Reporting
Sustainability Report Best Practice Examples
Database of Sustainability Reports
Ceres Award-Winning Sustainability Reports