Plans & Progress

In December 2019 the UVA Board of Visitors approved a resolution for the University to be carbon neutral by 2030 and fossil fuel free by 2050, as well as updated goals for nitrogen, water, waste, and food.  These goals align with UVA’s 2030 Great and Good Plan and build upon the successes of the Board of Visitors’ 2011 and 2013 sustainability resolutions, the first UVA 2016-2020 Sustainability Plan, and the work of thousands of engaged individuals over the past several years. 

UVA and the College of William & Mary have committed to partner in achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 at each university, and UVA has joined with the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County sustainability staff to collaborate on engagement through Climate Action Together.

Since 2007, UVA has set university-wide sustainability goals to address its environmental impact, including both carbon and nitrogen reduction goals. Much of the research necessary to measure the university’s nitrogen footprint originated at the University of Virginia, and UVA was the first institution of higher education to set a target to reduce its nitrogen footprint. UVA’s first pan-university Sustainability Plan, launched in April 2016, put forth specific short and long term goals, with targeted actions to outline UVA’s sustainability efforts through 2020.  Going forward, UVA will be developing updated action plans to achieve these goals at all levels of the university.

    UVA Board of Visitors Sustainability Commitment

    • WHEREAS, the University of Virginia’s long tradition of environmental stewardship and sustainability practices has enabled it to put its values into practice, create and advance knowledge, and translate research into action to serve the Commonwealth and beyond; and
    • WHEREAS, due to investments in energy efficiency, utility scale solar, technology innovations, and other related initiatives, the University expects to meet its current carbon goal of a 25% reduction below 2009 levels in calendar year 2019, six years ahead of schedule; and
    • WHEREAS, the University is committed to ambitious goals that will build on previous successes and establish the University as the leader among institutions of higher education in the areas of sustainability and energy and environmental stewardship; and
    • WHEREAS, the University has developed a 2020-2030 Sustainability Plan that calls for bold leadership in addressing sustainability challenges across the interconnected areas of research, teaching, operations, service, and community engagement;

    Be carbon neutral by 2030 and fossil fuel free by 2050;

    Achieve the “30 by 30” goal by 2030 (relative to 2010 levels): Reduce water use and reactive nitrogen emissions by 30%, Reduce its waste footprint to 30%, Increase sustainable food purchases to 30%;

    The University will educate and engage its students, faculty, staff, and the larger community; contribute to knowledge through research; promote health and well being; and foster public service related to these sustainability principles

    Partner with the community to accelerate collaborative initiatives to advance sustainable, equitable, and healthy places for all; and

    Initiatives to achieve these goals will be evaluated on the basis of benefit, cost, and availability of funding; and 

    A progress report will be presented annually to the President and the Board of Visitors.


    View our resources for ways you can implement sustainability within your organization. Our case studies provide replicable and scalable models for successful initiatives that can work at any institution.