Unit Level Carbon Planning

The OSU Sustainability Office will work with academic colleges and administrative divisions to create college and division (unit) level carbon plans that reduce carbon emissions and integrate sustainability and climate change education across curriculum and research efforts. The goal is to increase and standardize practices that help reach OSU's aggressive carbon emissions reduction goals and support OSU's Strategic Plan

Unit level carbon planning is adaptive to unit needs, and guidance is available. Recognizing the need for a tailored approach, and after extensive benchmarking and development, the Sustainability Office and our partners adapted the toolkit below from similar work at Penn State University.

Carbon Planning Toolkit Introduction

Our goal is to inspire individual actions at the unit level related to operations, curriculum and research that reduce global carbon emissions. One method successful at other leading institutions is unit level education, assessment and conversation. At OSU, this process will be supported by the Sustainability Office every step of the way.

With their permission, we have adapted and supplemented Penn State University's Sustainability Planning Guidebook and process; you will see frequent references to that institution rather than OSUPlease keep in mind that although Penn State's Guidebook is constructed around sustainability planning, our core work focuses on climate and carbon impacts. The process and tools for carbon planning are largely the same. We appreciate our Penn State colleagues' willingness to share, and anticipate releasing an OSU-specific version of these tools in the future.

To get started: Form the Team

We will work with you and/or your college or division leadership to designate a primary contact person and establish a group of stakeholders from within your unit.  This group will share responsibility for moving your planning process forward.

Step 1: Educate

What does carbon planning look like, why is it important, and how does it fit with OSU's mission and climate protection goals? We will provide a variety of resources to help get your team up to speed.

Step 2: Assess

Your college or division is probably already doing great things related to climate protection and sustainability. We will help you create a portfolio of these activities and highlight linkages to your college or division strategic plan. We can also help illustrate your unit's direct carbon emissions.

Step 3: Prioritize

Based on your portfolio, your team will identify points of convergence around your unit's climate protection expertise.

Step 4: Vision

To clearly and concisely articulate your strategic destination, your team will develop a short vision statement.

Step 5: Set Goals, Draft Plan

Using a combination of adaptive and prescriptive planning tools, we'll create the first draft of your plan. The outcome is to have goals that include both big wins and quick wins - a mix of actions and strategies for your unit - that are specific, measureable, actionable, realistic and time bound (SMART strategies).

Step 6: Implement

A few final tools help assure plan adoption and implementation. Your Implementation Summary Table will be a concise document where your goals, actions, key personnel and other details can all be seen in one place. We will help create a checkup calendar that aligns with the strategic plan update cycle for your college or division.

You've been introduced, start using the Toolkit!