Sustainability Awards and Rankings

Cornell University is a top-ranking Ivy league institution in campus sustainability and has been recognized for leadership in other areas related to the creation of a sustainable campus and community. 

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

2021 Platinum Rating - Highest Honor Available
STARS Platinum Logo

Our current ranking: STARS Platinum, 2nd Year

Top Ivy League institution
1st for Diversity & Affordability in New York State
3rd Overall in Coordination & Planning

Browse STARS Reporting


In 2020, Cornell University became the leading Ivy League institution rated by AASHE STARS, and one of just eight universities in the world to achieve the highest possible STARS rating of Platinum.  Previously, Cornell held the longest-running Gold Rating for 8 years of reporting.

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS®) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS is intended to engage and recognize the full spectrum of higher education institutions, from community colleges to research universities. The framework encompasses long-term sustainability goals for already high-achieving institutions, as well as entry points of recognition for institutions that are taking first steps toward sustainability.


Second Nature Carbon Commitment

Marks of Distinction for Carbon Neutrality Progress 

Marks of Distinction is an initiative for the Climate Leadership Network that recognizes signatories that set high-performance goals, demonstrate and report measurable progress towards those goals and support Network activities.

Mark of DistinctionOur current ranking: 3 Marks of Distinction

Leadership Signatory and on track to meet neutrality by 2035
Top Ivy League Institution for overall carbon reduction 
Top 25 for reduction by FTE student
Top 25 most aggressive carbon reduction goals among Doctorate granting institutions
4th largest reduction in the country for campuses with over 12,000,000 sq. feet

Second Nature Website

The Princeton Review Green Honor Roll

The Princeton Review’s Green Rating is a comprehensive assessment of an institution’s campus quality of life, environmentally responsible policies, and its preparations towards a carbon-neutral future.

The Princeton's Review top 50 medalOur current ranking: 8th Green College & Honor Roll

Cornell ranked 8th among The Princeton Review Green Colleges
The only New York institution to make the top 10  list of Green Colleges
Received  a score of 99 - the highest possible 
One of 30 universities, and the only Ivy, in The Princeton Review Green College Honor Roll 

The Princeton Review Green Honor Roll  


Sierra Club Cool Schools

The Cool Schools Ranking, led by Sierra Club's national publication, uses raw data from the AASHE STARS self-reporting tools along with its own custom-built formula to evaluate campus sustainability. It weighs progress in areas of energy, air, climate, and transportation more heavily than other sectors to align with Sierra Club’s priorities. 

Sierra Club Cool SchoolsOur current ranking: 4th Coolest School

The only Ivy League institution to make the top 20
One of two New York schools in the top 20

Sierra's Cool Schools Ranking



  • EPA Green Power Partner
  • 2018 Leadership in Green Power Education Award from the EPA

    Cornell was selected U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Center for Resource Solutions for its efforts to advance access, education, and public interest and engagement in renewable energy resources, especially in low-income communities. Read the news article

  • EPA Green Power Partnership Member: The EPA Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program encouraging organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use.

Questions about Reports and Awards: The Campus Sustainability Office manages and coordinates data from units across campus, using sustainability metrics, for submission to national surveys and rating organizations.  This page is updated annually each Fall.  Reporting and ranking agencies may update on a more frequent basis.