The Sustainability Next Plan Transforms Vision Into Reality

cover of the 2023-2030 Sustainability Next Plan

Cover of the Sustainability Next Plan

On the one-year anniversary of the launch of Sustainability Next, a publicly available version of the plan is being released and several plan initiatives are coming to life.  

Following the creation of Georgia Tech’s 2020 – 2030 strategic plan, the Institute’s executive leadership team launched a task force to create a strategic sustainability roadmap — the Sustainability Next Plan — to help advance some of its most important goals.  

“Sustainability Next is central to Georgia Tech’s commitment to developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition,” said President Ángel Cabrera. “As one of the largest technological universities in the world, we have the opportunity and responsibility to help find solutions to the biggest problems we face, achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and support a human population that will soon rise to 10 billion while reducing the stress we’re causing on our planet.” 

The plan calls on Georgia Tech to:  

  • Be a global sustainability thought leader.  

  • Catalyze innovation through education and research.  

  • Lead by example in the practice and culture of sustainability. 


Since the fall of 2022, Sustainability Next has begun to implement projects, including: 

  • The Climate Action Plan to develop a roadmap for integrating climate action strategies across operations, research, and education focusing on climate justice and reducing emissions. 

  • Sustainable X, which supports students interested in and passionate about developing climate tech, sustainability, and social impact startups.      

  • Sustainability Education Innovation Grants for faculty to expand Sustainable Development Goals concept and skill integration across the undergraduate curriculum.   

  • Research Seed Grants to support interdisciplinary climate and sustainability research initiatives.   

  • Living Campus connecting Georgia Tech’s built environment and surrounding landscape to serve as opportunities for collaborations between academics, research, industry, operations, and community partnerships. 

These initiatives alone have created collaborations between several sustainability-focused departments on campus, including the Office of Sustainability, the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business, and the Center for Teaching and Learning.  


Creating the Foundation for Successful Implementation 

As an outcome of the strategic plan to more intentionally integrate sustainability and lead by example with campus operations, Georgia Tech restructured its facilities management into Infrastructure and Sustainability (I&S) in 2021. The following year, the Office of Campus Sustainability was restructured into the Office of Sustainability within I&S to bridge sustainability efforts across research, education, and operations. It was later expanded to integrate the departments of utilities, sustainable building operations, and The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design. 

Additionally, Sustainability Next has supported the Brook Byers Institute in becoming a transformative unit focused on climate and sustainability that integrates research and education. It has also strengthened ties in the sustainability cluster of the Vice President for Institutional Research, comprising the Byers Institute, the Renewable Bioproducts Institute, and the Strategic Energy Institute — including the permanent integration of Serve-Learn-Sustain into the newly established Center for Sustainable Communities Research and Education. 


Looking Ahead 

In the next few months, the Sustainability Next Plan will be supported by a refreshed website, a schedule of sustainability-related events, and calls to action, reinvigorating the sustainability charge set forth in the Institute’s strategic plan. 

The Sustainability Next co-chairs invite every member and unit of the Georgia Tech community to join in bringing the Sustainability Next Plan to life and expanding its ambitions over time so that we can build a just, equitable, and sustainable future — together. 

For continuous updates and to find out how you can get involved, visit the new Sustainability Next webpage.  

News Contact

Emma Blandford

Program and Portfolio Manager

Institute for Sustainable Systems