Continuing to answer the call to bend the curve on climate change, UC Davis launched a large-scale construction project — the Big Shift — in spring 2020 that lays the groundwork for ultimately reducing the campus’s reliance on fossil fuels while immediately decreasing energy and water use.

In honor of the 50th Earth Day, the Office of Sustainability at UC Davis led campus partners in planning a month-long celebration that transitioned into a virtual festival featuring events such as the World Climate Simulation and the Tempestry Project. The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden’s Learning by Leading program went online to keep students involved in learning virtually and by creating content during the pandemic. 

The annual Sustainability Summit also went virtual to ensure that student, staff and faculty champions of sustainability were honored, including the first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Champion. In July 2019, UC Davis welcomed its first vice chancellor of diversity, equity and inclusion, Renetta Garrison Tull, to oversee the campus’s plan to ensure that institutional diversity, systemic inclusion and social equity are addressed systematically through support such as at the Student Community Center and through initiatives such as Aggie Square.

As demonstrated by UC Davis’s newest Gold rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), UC Davis students, faculty and staff vigorously engage in advancing sustainability. UC Davis Global Affairs launched Grants for Advancing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to support academic projects. Students announced the establishment of the Environmental Sustainability Student Coalition and led the effort to garner UC Davis a Fair Trade designation. And UC Davis achieved LEED Gold certification for the Central Cage Wash Facility project, which reduced water consumption by approximately 70% while improving cleaning quality. 

Students having a discussion at UC Davis

UC Davis COVID-19 Discussion Series

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UC Davis Global Affairs organized a series of discussions about the future of international education; co-hosted a panel, COVID-19’s Impact on Global Agricultural Supply Chains and the Challenges Ahead; and received funding from the Universitas 21 network to partner with Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University […]

Three students filling bags of donated food

Food Unites the UC Davis Community During Campus Closure

In March 2020, many UC Davis operations were suspended in accordance with the state’s shelter-in-place order.  The Student Farm, which delivers produce to the UC Davis Dining Services, the Associate Students of UC Davis (ASUCD) Pantry, Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center and about 120 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscribers, continued to function with an essential […]


Line graph depicting emissions levels between 2009 and 2019, with projected goals through 2025, and split into two categories. Scopes 1+2 decreased from 226,725 metric tons CO₂e in 2009 to 135,486 metric tons CO₂e by 2019, with a goal of 0 emissions by 2025. Scopes 1+2+3 decreased from 280,225 metric tons CO₂e in 2009 to 219,082 metric tons CO₂e by 2019, with a goal of 0 emissions by 2050.

Metric tons CO₂e in Thousands

Bar graph depicting Renewable Electricity Generation levels, split into four categories: On-Campus Systems (30,956 Mwh/year), Off-Campus Contracts (114,615 Mwh/year), Off-Campus Opt-in Utility Programs (18,660 Mwh/year), and Off-Campus UC Wholesale Power Program (5,897 Mwh/year). 


Line graph depicting energy use intensity (EUI) between 2012 and 2019, split into two categories: EUI Target and EUI Actual. EUI Actual has remained close to the EUI target goal. 

EUI (kBtu/Sqft)

UC Davis continued to make strides in its efforts to use alternative transportation methods and support the use of electric vehicles in 2020.

Riding a bike icon

of UCD employees are utilizing alternative commuting methods

Electric vehicle charing station icon

EV charging stations at this location for 2019-2020

Electric vehicle with charger icon

of light-duty vehicles acquired in 2020 were electric (zero-emission) and hybrid vehicles


Stacked bar graph depicting average water usage for FY 2019-2020. The water usage reduction goal for 2025 has already been exceeded in 2020. 

Thousands of gallons per capita

Bar graph depicting waste generated between 2016 and 2020, split between three categories: Recycle, Organics, and Landfill. During this period, Landfill decreasing significantly, Recycling decreased slightly, and Organics has remained generally consistent. 


Line graph depicting total waste diverted between 2011 and 2020, split into Diversion rate (no C&D) – Calculated and Calculated Diversion rate (MSW+C&D). Diversion rates in 2020 were 69% and 71% respectively, with a goal of 90%. 

Percent diverted

UC Davis continues to set ambitious goals, with a goal for 2030 of 25% spend on sustainable food and beverages.

Salad bar zoomed in on bowl of spinach image

total spend on food and beverages


of food and beverage purchases met sustainability criteria in fiscal year 2019-20

Desk Chair icon

green spend on indoor office furniture

Cleaning supplies in a bucket with a leaf

green spend
on cleaning supplies

Desktop computer and smart phone icon

green spend on electronics

UC Davis’s goals for procurement include 25% green spend on electronics and indoor office furniture, and 75% green spend on cleaning supplies.

Green building

UC Davis received 4 Gold LEED certifications in 2020.

11 Platinum, 25 Gold, 5 Silver and 1 Certified

Total number of LEED certifications

Sustainable Building & Laboratory Operations
Two laboratory beakers with stems with leaves coming out the top

total assessed research labs

UC Davis has met the goal of assessing three labs.


UC Davis was the proud recipient of several sustainability awards in 2020.

A full list of awards is here.