Notice of open comment for the Presidential Policy on Sustainable Practices

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Elida Erickson, Sustainability Director

The University of California Office of the President invites comments on the proposed updates to the existing Presidential Policy on Sustainable Practices. The proposed revisions address the following key issues:

  • Green Building Design: The first two updates to this policy section codify campus best practices and respond to comments from the systemwide review of last year’s updates to the Sustainable Practices Policy and to requests from several Regents. The first update raises the minimum green building certification level for new buildings from LEED Silver to LEED Gold. The second update addresses the fact that parking structures are no longer eligible to earn LEED certification by requiring new parking structures to achieve a Parksmart Silver certification. Parksmart is a rating system similar to LEED that is designed for parking structures and has already been piloted on two UC campuses. The third update to this section removed references to the Savings by Design Program that California’s investor-owned utility companies recently discontinued.
  • Climate Protection: The date that campuses will achieve carbon neutrality from scope 3 sources was moved up from 2050 to 2045 to align with the State of California’s updated goal. A new provision was added to the Procedures section to integrate the University’s “Framework for Incorporating Environmental & Climate Justice into Climate Action” into the climate action planning processes.
  • Zero Waste: The target dates for the foodservice-related single-use plastic requirements were postponed until July 2024 to allow time for foodservice facilities to adjust to post-pandemic operating conditions. Additionally, as campuses can no longer count incinerated waste toward their waste diversion rates, language related to that completed transition was removed.
  • Sustainable Foodservice: Consistent with comments received during the systemwide review of last year’s updates to the Sustainable Practices Policy, this update sets a new target for UC locations to procure 25% plant-based food by 2030 and strive to procure 30%. These new targets will facilitate and track efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of food served at UC locations.
  • Sustainability at UC Health: The updates to this policy section set new goals for sustainable procurement. Specifically, provisions were added to cover medical device reprocessing and the procurement of appliances, hardware, and office supplies.
  • Health and Well-Being: Drawing on research, analysis, and pilot projects led by the Global Food Initiative, Healthy Campus Network and Healthy Beverage Initiative, updates to this policy section establish targets for the percentage of beverages and food in vending machines that meet the UC Healthy Vending Guidelines. Additional provisions cover the marketing of healthy vending items, energy efficiency, and zero waste goals for vending machines.
  • Minor revisions throughout the policy remove outdated language and targets and help to clarify the intent and improve the readability of the document.

The draft policy is available online.

Please send comments to the Policy Coordination Office by close of business January 31, 2023, to