Concord Academy’s Sustainability Plan

Sustainability at Concord Academy is when the school’s community, operations, and resources function in balance with the natural world. This balance requires CA to act in accordance with our responsibility to make the world a better place for all beings to thrive now and in the future, and to recognize the past and the current harm we have inflicted on the earth. We cannot simply refrain from impeding nature’s survival; we must support our world, and teach others how to, in order for it to flourish.

In spring 2019, Concord Academy students and adults joined the youth-led Sunrise Movement in calling for action on the climate crisis. They stood on the quad and on the main school steps, holding hand-made signs. One of these signs read, “There is No Planet B.” Another read, “What is your plan?”

I hope that this document might serve as Concord Academy’s answer—one piece of a much larger picture, but nonetheless an important step.

The curriculum and culture here at CA have long been steeped in these same values. Numerous courses have been taught on the subject, from Advanced Environmental Science to the Environmental Consortium, as well as student-led institutional studies undertaken, including projects in hydroponic greenhouses, electric cars, and traditional farming. The school, too, has implemented initiatives from building to LEED equivalents, to lighting efficiencies and holistic sustainability reviews. Through the efforts of many adults and students alike, we have been a school that is green not just in branding, but in ethos as well.

This document represents CA’s efforts to set meaningful goals for leadership, for change, and for education. Our hope is that this plan will make this school better here and, in doing so, might educate kids to lead on this issue as we contribute to a more just and sustainable world.

Concord Academy's 2017–18 Annual Report TEST 1
Fay Lampert Shutzer ’65
President, Board of Trustees

Plan Summary

With this sustainability plan, adopted in the fall of 2019, Concord Academy is committed to becoming a leading secondary school in sustainability through a coordinated set of integrated and operational goals. By investing in a set of ambitious carbon reduction, facilities and supply chain, and food systems goals, CA will cultivate both innovators and leaders in sustainability, and also significantly reduce our negative impact on the world.

This plan sets ambitious yet achievable phased goals. The goals articulated in this plan are split into two time frames: the first being four years goals, which we hope to have accomplished by our centennial; the second comprise another set of longer-term goals that we hope will be achieved by 2050, the schools 128th anniversary. Interim targets are set to help us realize incremental achievements between now and these two time frames.

We believe that our centennial presents a once-in a generation opportunity to deliver on sustainability initiatives. These values were set forth in the Concord @ 100 working group in anticipation of our Centennial, whose constituent members set forth sustainability as a core value we as a community would like to see achieved by our centennial. In fulfillment of those values, and in honoring that work, we have set forth goals to be realized by our 100th anniversary.

Also to emerge from these working groups was the consensus that the core values of sustainability—fundamentally, one of looking after one another, and our world, with care and respect—dovetail perfectly with our core values. There is a strong shared conviction that these values can and should be more deeply integrated into the fabric of CA’s academic and social culture. This integration would aim to arm our students not only with a literacy on the issues relevant to sustainability, but also with greater skills that enable them to address the world with compassion an understanding. Surely, this is a worthy goal.

The goals are divided into three main working groups: greenhouse gas reduction (known simply as “GHG”), sustainable food, and materials and operations management. Within each of these working groups, consideration was given for both how to integrate these goals into the curriculum, and how to communicate about their progress.

Both the working groups and the goals were themselves defined by a broadly representative and large group from the CA community; the entire current community was asked to articulate goals at the start, goals that were then refined by a small group of about 50 students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumnae/i, who, over almost 10 months, defined the working groups and articulated a set of goals within each working group.

We hope that these goals will help CA through its centennial and in the decades beyond. We hope that the creation of Concord Academy’s Sustainability Plan will be much more than a strategic plan; it is an invitation for everyone in our community to step forward and participate in creating our shared future.

Summary of Goals

One full-time equivalent of faculty/staff dedicated time to sustainability by 2022

Reduce on campus GHG emissions from buildings by 15% by 2022

Reduce food waste by 20% by 2022 from a 2019 baseline

Reduce overall waste by 10% by 2022

To learn more about the plan, including how we will aim to achieve these goals, please view the sustainability plan in its entirety below.