Logo for the AASHE STARS Sustainability Reporting ProgramSTARS Reporting

STARS is Cornell University's annual public sustainability reporting mechanism. Cornell reports on 1,000s of sustainability progress metrics every year. See our progress in diversity and inclusion, food, sustainability courses, green buildings, and more.

Current STARS Report: 2018 

Areas of Progress 

View 2018 STARS Report for Cornell
Cornell achieved a STARS Gold ranking for the 7th year in a row in 2018, making it the longest running institution to do so.  Our institutional score increased 7%, with an overall score of 72.4, increasing from the 2017 score of 68.5. 

  • #1 for Ivy Institutions and New York State
    Cornell had the highest ranking of any Ivy league institution, and highest overall ranking of any institution in New York State.  However, of the "Ivy+" institutions, Cornell ranks second after Stanford University, which has achieved a Platinum rating.

  • 1st in Coordination & Planning  
    Cornell had the highest ranking of any Ivy league institution, and highest overall ranking of any institution in New York State.

  • 8th in Diversity & Affordability 
    Cornell was listed as 8th in the country for Diversity and Affordability, and 2nd for campuses in New York State. 

  • Sustainability Course Offerings Cornell offers 732 courses with sustainability content, and launched an Environment & Sustainability major open to all disciplines, and 56% of students now graduate from programs at Cornell that have at least one sustainability learning outcome as a requirement. Over 480 faculty and staff are engaged in sustainability research as well.
    Cornell Sustainability Courses 

  • Commuting
    Over 90% of Cornell students, both graduate and undergraduate, use sustainable or alternative transportation options as their primary means of mobility across campus, to work and class

Areas for Improvement

  • Investing Only 1.80% of the investment pool is in positive sustainability investments (Cornell ranks 108th in the Investment & Finance category).  Historically, the score in Investment is one of the lowest for Cornell's STARS report. However, this is true across higher education - sustainable investment continues to be an area of collective improvement. Cornell scores 1.7% and the average national score is 16.72% in this category.

  • Wellbeing  Cornell currently scores only 39% in this area.  However, Human Resources has recently launched a new Wellbeing Framework and many partners on campus are working on overall health and wellbeing programs.

  • Office Paper Purchasing  35% score overall.  Only 16.5% of office paper expenditures go towards 90-100% post-consumer recycled paper, or FSC Recycled label paper. 

  • Waste This is one of the few areas where Cornell's performance has decreased over time.  Due to recycling changes in the county and country, and lack of engagement across campus, the current score is 47.6%, with over 820 lbs of waste generated per campus community member each year.


The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS®) system administered by The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS provides a framework for understanding sustainability progress within and across institutions by standardized performance metrics.   STARS helps institutions celebrate areas of accomplish and identify topics for improvement.  The platform facilitates a framework which includes social justice, human wellbeing, and economic security alongside planetary and ecological issues.