Since 1993, Second Nature has worked with over 4,000 faculty and administrators at hundreds of colleges and universities to help make the principles of sustainability fundamental to every aspect of higher education.

Late 2006
Twelve (12) visionary college and university presidents initiated the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). They were motivated by their conviction that higher education had the capacity and responsibility to lead on climate and sustainability action for the sake of their students and society.

These Founding Signatories worked with Second Nature, ecoAmerica, and AASHE to develop the Commitment.  The twelve (12) ACUPCC founding signatories were:

Loren Anderson, President
Pacific Lutheran University
Michael Crow, President
Arizona State University
Nancy Dye, President
Oberlin College
Jo Ann Gora, President
Ball State University
David Hales, President
College of the Atlantic
Bernard Machen, President
University of Florida
Gifford Pinchot III, President
Bainbridge Graduate Institute
Kathleen Schatzberg, President
Cape Cod Community College
Mary Spilde, President
Lane Community College
Douglas Treadway, President
Ohlone College
Darroch Young, Chancellor
Los Angeles Community College District
Paul Zingg, President
California State University, Chico

Early 2007
The founding signatories invited their peers across the nation to join this historic endeavor.

Late 2007
By September 15, 2007, 336 institutions had joined the initiative as charter signatories.

Early 2008
By Earth Day 2008, the ACUPCC was a national initiative with signatories in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Second Nature became the lead supporting organization for the ACUPCC with additional support from AASHE.

Second Nature initiated the annual Climate Leadership Awards, recognizing ACUPCC institutions for their innovation and excellence.

Second Nature became the only supporting organization for the ACUPCC. Through the ACUPCC, higher education has become the only sector in the United States with a critical mass committed both to the scientifically necessary goal of climate neutrality and to preparing students to develop the solutions for a just, healthy, and sustainable society.

Second Nature rebranded and expanded the ACUPCC to form the signature program Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments, which houses the Carbon Commitment (focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions), a Resilience Commitment (focused on climate adaptation and building community capacity), and a Climate Commitment that integrates both.  Climate Leadership Network signatories have formerly signed onto at least one of these three commitments.    

These changes built on the history of the ACUPCC, and were informed by a strategic planning process with extensive feedback and input from signatories and partners.  The Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments were officially launched on October 2015 at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, when ten (10) leading presidents who served on the Climate Leadership Steering Committee joined Second Nature in a signing ceremony. 

These three commitments provide a clearer distinction between Second Nature and its Climate Leadership Network, while also providing higher education institutions flexibility in the climate action activities that they choose to focus on. It also provides an opportunity for higher education to continue to lead on the defining issue of our time and to model and innovate the climate solutions necessary to preserve a climate conducive to supporting human civilization.