Climate change and environmental degradation are truly complex problems that require leadership and collaboration from all sectors. Institutions of higher education have a crucial role to play, and Washington University in St. Louis is fully committed to being a national sustainability leader in research, teaching, and operations.

Our faculty conduct research that helps us understand these complex issues and develop innovative strategies. Our students gain knowledge and leadership skills that prepare them to play important roles in shaping future solutions. Our staff members are engaged in a multi-decade process to transform our traditional campus operations into truly sustainable operations. We have accomplished much in a short amount of time, and we continue to set loftier goals for ourselves and work toward a more sustainable future.

While the timeframe for the most recent Strategic Plan for Sustainable Operations (2015 – 2020) has expired, university leaders and stakeholders are aligning the next sustainable operations plan with the university-wide strategic planning process, which will be organized around nine topics, including environment, climate change, and sustainability.  

Explore the eight focus areas below to learn more about our progress, vision, and commitment to sustainable operations.

Energy & Emissions

WashU is charting a path to carbon neutrality without purchasing renewable energy credits.


WashU serves as a national leader in green building design and operations.


WashU fosters a highly collaborative, diverse and inclusive sustainability movement.


WashU fosters a food system that advances environmental and public health while supporting a strong local economy.


WashU fosters human and environmental health through low impact, resilient landscapes that provide an array of ecosystem services.


WashU is becoming a model in the Midwest for alternative and low carbon transportation.


WashU is charting a path towards zero waste.


WashU is becoming a leader in water conservation.