Tracking Progress and Ongoing Data Collecton

"We hope that this website serves as a clearinghouse for new ideas, comments, feedback, and latest research as the Colgate community strives to advance sustainability and achieve climate neutrality."  --Sustainability and Climate Action Plan Steering Committee, September 2011

Continuous monitoring and tracking of our progress is an essential component of Colgate's sustainability program and climate action planning effort.  For each sustainability initiative and mitigation strategy identified in this report we have highlighted our milestones, metrics and timelines, and those who will take the lead responsibility in pursuit of those targets.  As a result, monitoring and evaluating our progress was not an afterthought but built directly into each strategy.  In addition, Colgate will continuously track our progress through:
  1. The publication of our annual Greenhouse Gas Inventory. 
  2. Publication of the Sustainability Office's Annual Sustainability Review.
  3. Updating our Sustainability and Climate Action Plan on a routine basis in compliance with the ACUPCC reporting guidelines. 
  4. Tracking our sustainability "Dashboard Indicators" that offer a snapshot of our progress overtime.  Colgate's Dashboard Indicators include:
    • Colgate's annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory in MTeCO2
    • Total electricity consumption in kWh
    • Fuel oil #6 consumption in gallons
    • Fuel oil #2 consumption in gallons
    • Wood chips consumed in tons
    • Landfill waste generated in short tons
    • Colgate's annual recycling rate
    • Paper consumption in pounds of paper purchased for each type of paper stock (e.g. 30% recycled, 50% recycled, 100% recycled, etc.)
    • Local food purchased measured as a percentage of money spent on food produced within a 150 mile radius.
While it is important and worthy for Colgate to establish our own metrics for measuring sustainability, there is also merit in joining and participating in a nationally recognized system that provides meaningful metrics and comparisons across institutions over time.  For this reason, we recommend that Colgate join AASHE's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).   STARS has emerged as the most comprehensive sustainability framework in higher education. 

Over the next few years, our goal will be to implement the mitigation projects detailed in this report.  However, striving for sustainability is an ongoing process of continuous improvement. 
We must remain vigilant to new opportunities and be willing to refine, replace, and even shelf certain projects in the Plan when better options arise. Like a turn-by-turn dashboard navigator, we must be willing to "recalculate" when a more effective route to climate neutrality emerges.  We hope that this website serves as a clearinghouse for new ideas, comments, feedback, and latest research as the Colgate community strives to advance sustainability and achieve climate neutrality.