2014 Presidential Summit on Climate Leadership

October 1, 2014

The Climate Leadership Summit took place October 1-3, 2014 at The Revere Hotel in downtown Boston.

Summit Program

Additional Readings and Summaries

The 2014 Climate Leadership Summit is designed by Presidents for Presidents and Sustainability Staff in higher education. Focus on climate mitigation, resiliency, and regional and national collaborations will be discussed within the framework of: New Science and Solutions for a Changing Climate, Higher Education’s Climate Leadership Imperative, Creating a Culture of Sustainability, Investment Strategies and Institutional Values: How, Why, and at What Risk? and Corporate Partnerships for Climate Leadership.

Track Chairs are members of the ACUPCC Steering Committee and Sub-Committee on Summit Planning who create the vision for the five tracks of the Summit.  They convene experts within their network and collectively identify topics for discussion

New Science and Solutions for a Changing Climate

The objective of this track is to provide a comprehensive update regarding the implications of new science, new inclusive sustained climate assessment processes from the National Climate Assessment, and to look at mitigation, adaptation, and resilience as areas of knowledge development and action. Climate change science is complicated, emergent, and it requires sophisticated interdisciplinary knowledge and information exchange. What are the latest findings, how do we bridge the science-practitioner divide in generating and using scientific knowledge, how can climate resilience help integrate knowledge and what do our campuses need to know? How can presidents be the conveners of this dynamic field?

Topics will include the relationship between mitigation and resilience, the impact on and partnership of campuses and communities, the prospects for civic and regional cooperation, and the science of climate change communication.

Higher Education’s Climate Leadership Imperative

College and university presidents can significantly influence public awareness of climate preparedness, sustainability, and the educational, economic, and political issues that emerge. This track will focus on how to maximize that influence and leverage in the national landscape.

Topics will include the role of the university in supporting climate science, conducting interdisciplinary research, the role of the public intellectual, building community and regional partnerships, and convening platforms for deliberating policy solutions, ethical dilemmas, and institutional obligations.

Investment Strategies and Institutional Values: How, Why, and at What Risk?

Many campuses are supporting campus-wide discussions on the relationship between campus investments (including endowments, procurement, and capital projects) and institutional values. To what extent do these investments promote sustainability, climate action planning, and other institutional values? These are complicated discussions that involve multiple stakeholders, community members, students and faculty, and the ramifications of these discussions are gaining national coverage. What role does the president, the CBO, and the board chair play in organizing these discussions and then coordinating campus-wide approaches?

Topics include how to shift investment strategies to align with financial, environmental, and social goals, how to initiate campus-wide dialogues, the educational opportunities of these discussions, and the philanthropic implications of these decisions.

Corporate Partnerships for Climate Leadership

Many corporations are making excellent strides in sustainability infrastructure, research, and operations. What are the ways that they can create supportive partnerships with colleges and universities to promote climate leadership?

This track will emphasize how specific corporations are addressing climate leadership. How has such an approach changed business operations, strategic planning, and corporate philosophy? What are the ramifications for partnerships with colleges and universities? What does climate leadership mean in a business environment?

Other Program Highlights

Sustainability Showcase

The Sustainability Showcase is a public portfolio of interesting and notable sustainability initiatives and ideas, including efforts from colleges and universities, corporations, publishers, and other organizations. We aim to bring together diverse and innovative exhibits that engage the conference participants, and present an exciting picture of emerging knowledge and of leading change.

Presidential Reflections

Three college and university presidents from the leadership of the ACUPCC Steering Committee will offer their reflections on the summit, synthesizing the proceedings and then challenging participants to take the most salient next steps. This will be followed by a discussion involving all the participants.

ACUPCC Town Hall

Meet Second Nature’s new President and Janna Cohen-Rosenthal, Director of the ACUPCC, to participate in discussions to identify opportunities, and explore implementation of the ACUPCC, including reporting challenges, leadership transitions, Climate Action Planning, greenhouse gas inventory completion and tracking ongoing progress of mitigation and education programs.