January 2017 Meeting of Sustainability Task Force

Notes for January 27, 2017

Task Force attendees:  Andrew Friedland (co-chair), Rosi Kerr (co-chair), Lisa Adams, Gabe Lewis, April Salas, Anne Kapuscinski, Merritt Patridge, Steve Moore, Flora Krivak-Tetly, Meg Rauner, Alex Durenchuk, Maanav Jalan, Amro Farid, Frank Roberts, Julianne Perry

Invited Guests: Abbe Bjorkland, Molly L. Smith, Laura Carpenter, Jenna Musco

Welcome: Andy Friedland started the meeting and welcomed the Task Force.
Asked the question: What would you want to come away for this process? How can we generate action in a tight economic environment?

Rosi Kerr introduced the next focus areas (food, water, landscape) as topics we know we need action on but we have less clarity into these areas. As a result, we are aiming for higher level goals that will lead to future action.

Overview of Public Gatherings to Date
We have hosted two Open Houses where we invited feedback on current draft of recommendations and the categories (but not specifics) that are still in draft form.
The community contributed substantive ideas brought up and these were incorporated into a second draft of energy and waste sections. We will recirculate with feedback from second open house
Still to be scheduled is an alumni webinar.  
In addition, we received a letter from Dartmouth Alumni for Climate Action addressed to our Task Force – asking for bold action on climate and suggesting goals. The letter will be circulated to Task Force and can be found here: https://dartmouthalumniclimateaction.org/sustainability-task-force-letter/

Identifying Key Messages
Rosi Kerr: If we were to make elevator pitch for outcomes of this Task Force, what would we say?
Members of the Task Force provided feedback on this question. Ideas included:
• Making sure to balance goals and tactics. We will have to invest to reach some of these objectives. How do we balance that?
• Contextualize our action or lack of action compared to peers.
• Change format to a table with risks, benefits and costs, as well as positive impact, to make these more clear.
• How do we frame precedents in a way that gets our leadership excited? Do we want to frame as leader or a laggard? Combination of both.

The goal of this exercise was to push us through exercise of brevity  and creating  a succinct action plan.

Evaluate food section
Rosi Kerr: These sections (food and water) are a bit harder to develop recommendations for because we know less about our impacts in these categories. Food is single largest contract at Dartmouth. We know it is a big impact, but also a complicated issue. Food has cultural connections, health impacts etc. and has direct implications for users.  It has a complex supply chain and problems are often upstream.  As a result, we divided our approach into broad categories and high level principles and goals.

Members of the Task Force provided feedback on the Food draft. These included:
• Can we identify the biggest food costs are and see where sustainability and cost intersect?
• Let’s make sure to include auxillary impacts to the food system, like disposable silverware.
• How do we manage the intersection of one section with another? E.g. do we cover food related waste in this section of in the waste section?
• Let’s be mindful of how we measure food. Perhaps calories are a useful measure? 
• How do we think about how food relates to health & nutrition? Should we include this in goals?
• How do we quantify what social standards & impacts we use for food? Separate report?
• We clearly need a detailed report on how our food system works now to understand the impacts. This will require an investment in the near term. Lack of time, energy and expertise is why we haven’t made as much progress on food.
• How do we capture urgency of properly resourcing all these goals?
• We need to remain goal oriented but tactics are useful. Have an appendix with recommended tactics brought up by committee?

Evaluate water section
Members of the Task Force provided feedback on the Water draft. These included:
• Let’s clarify which water is covered by this section of the report. E.g. potable water, storm water?

• Perhaps water could be discussed alongside land stewardship. Also has connections to environment.
• We should make connections to energy clear.
• We should not downplay importance of water in the Northeast.

Rosi reminded members that we have 2 more meetings and a lot to cover. Abbe Bjorklund moved to add a meeting to the calendar and Task Force agreed.
Group discussed budget constraints.

• Efficiency, how do we make every dollar spent go farther?
• Task Force discussed the talking points to get ready for announcement in April.
• Where are the places to make argument beyond finances? In which areas does financial argument need to be front and center?
• We should do due diligence to highlight low hanging fruit. Where are areas you can get immediate consensus and get ball rolling on action? We should be mindful of what other unversities are doing and we should keep up and if possible lead.
• Highlight the risk associated with not doing these actions. Is there a risk with not doing these things in an integrated way? Highlight each piece as an opportunity.

Meeting concluded.

Follow up Tasks: 
Send out version 2 of outcomes sheet (Rosi)
Schedule 1 more meeting, early March (Rosi)
Sending out DACA letter (Rosi)
Sending out updated food & water sections, and energy & waste including community feedback. (Rosi)