Claremont McKenna College is taking tangible actions, both big and small, toward ecological responsibility. The broad scope of this responsibility culminates in the goal of reducing the environmental impact of campus infrastructure and operations and encouraging the campus community to participate in these efforts.

CMC tracks environmental impacts as reported by the Roberts Environmental Center, and takes steps to reduce its environmental footprint. Sustainability guidelines have been adopted to encourage leadership opportunities in such areas as power use, building construction, waste management practices and purchasing.

These tangible actions take place in these key areas:


Reusable To-Go Containers

Collins Dining Hall eliminated use of dining trays and began offering reusable, to-go containers including clamshells and travel mugs. These reusable items can be used to transport food and beverages outside the dining facilities, cutting down on associated waste from disposable products. Diners can exchange dirty containers for clean ones upon entering any Claremont Colleges dining hall.

Farm to Fork

Farm to Fork is a Bon Appétit initiative to buy locally, formalized in 1999. Our first choice is to purchase seasonal ingredients from small, owner-operated farms and ranches within a 150-mile radius of campus. Food grown locally is fresher, better-tasting, and often has greater nutritional value. Our commitment to local food is about preserving biodiversity, protecting open space, supporting family farmers, and keeping money invested in your community. Bon Appétit aims to spend at least 20 cents of every dollar with our network of over a thousand Farm to Fork suppliers. By doing so, we aim to strengthen our regional food systems so that everyone in our communities can eat well not just today, but for the future.

Animal welfare

    • Our ground beef is humanely raised.
    • No foie gras or crate-raised veal.
    • Shell eggs and pre-cracked eggs are certified cage-free.
    • Vegetarian/vegan options offered every meal day.
    • Pork is produced without gestation crates.
    • Our chefs strive to serve only seafood species that are rated Green and Yellow according to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch® guidelines for commercial buyers.

Antibiotics and hormones

We buy chicken and turkey raised without the routine, non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in feed and water. We source our ground beef from animals never, ever given antibiotics or artificial hormones. Our milk and yogurt comes from cows not given bovine growth hormone, a.k.a. rBGH.

Fair Trade

    • Baking chocolate: On Valentine’s Day 2011, Bon Appétit became the first food service company to purchase Fair Trade Certified baking chocolate companywide. We selected Cordillera Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate, which is unusual in that it is made from cacao beans — a blend of Criollo and Trinitario — not only grown in Colombia, but also processed there. (Cordillera has since dropped its certification but states that its operation still adheres to Fair Trade principles and standards. We are evaluating how to proceed.) 
    • Chocolate bars, bananas, and coffee: All year round, various Bon Appétit cafés around the country — from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., to St. Olaf College in Minnesota and TASTE at the Seattle Art Museum — offer Fair Trade items for our guests. We are proud to support local roasters of Fair Trade Certified, shade-grown and/or organic beans through our Farm to Fork program. Fair Trade Certified coffee from Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company and chocolate from TCHO Chocolate, as well as fair trade movement products such as sugar from Equal Exchange Sugar, are some of the many items we are proud to purchase. 
    • Fair Trade uniforms: We launched a pilot program to supply Fair Trade Certified shirts made from 100% Certified Organic cotton to student employees in several of our university cafés. Managers can choose Fair Trade shirts in a variety of colors, and with a slogan that reads, “Organic, Fair Trade…This Uniform is Ethically Delicious!”


Alternative commuting incentives
CMC actively promotes employee ride-sharing and zero-emission commuting like walking, biking, and riding public transportation. Employees are encouraged to increase average vehicle ridership (AVR) with a $1.50 per day incentive for using alternative modes of transportation. A public transit subsidy of up to $60 per month is also provided as an added benefit.

Electric service fleet
96% of the service vehicles on the Claremont McKenna College campus are plug-in electric.

Vehicle charging stations
CMC encourages employees and visitors to drive clean air vehicles. The College has invested in four plug-in electric vehicle charging stations to help reduce emissions from transportation sources.


High-efficiency lighting and LED conversion
CMC underwent a campus-wide lighting ballast conversion in 2011. Conversions to LED fixtures continue with 70 outdoor lighting poles converting from high-pressure sodium lamps to LEDs that use 76% less energy.

Centralized district cooling and better monitoring
Electrical chillers represent the single largest use of electricity in most institutions. Six inefficient chillers at the west end of campus were replaced with a central district chiller that improves efficiency by reducing electricity consumption and lowering peak demand. Installed sub-metering monitors in 18 highest energy-use buildings with remote monitoring.

Renewable energy
In 2014, 24% of the purchased electricity used on campus was generated from renewable sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal.


Compost and food recovery
All organics waste is composted with the City of Claremont, and all edible, leftover food from the Athenaeum, Hub, and Collins Dining Hall is donated to local food banks.

Donations for reuse
Through a partnership with the Institution Recycling Network (IRN), CMC donates surplus office furniture and other unwanted items to local and overseas organizations in need. In 2015, 6 tons were reused in this fashion.

Encouraging the use of reusable water bottles with water bottle refill stations
Bottle-filling stations are located in every residence hall on campus and in Roberts Pavilion. These encourage the use of reusable water bottles and promote tap water over greenhouse-gas-intensive plastic bottled water.


Intelligent irrigation systems
The College employs a centrally-controlled, intelligent irrigation system that is tied to a local weather station. This system uses evapotranspiration rates and measured rainfall data to determine the minimum water necessary to apply to each zone to meet plant material requirements.

Turf grass removal
Through the summer of 2015, in response to the prolonged California drought, Claremont McKenna College underwent a transformation in landscaping materials, removing 25% of non-athletic grassy areas, totaling 5 acres.

Other landscaping changes
The College constructed bioswales and landscape elements designed to remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water.

Ongoing low-flow, high-efficiency conversion
Faucets, shower heads and toilets on campus have been converted to low-flow, high-efficiency fixtures.


LEED Silver green building commitment
In 2008, the Board of Trustees of Claremont McKenna College implemented a policy for all new buildings and major renovations to achieve a minimum of LEED Silver Certification and support green building practices. The policy also states that all other building renovation projects will also apply LEED standards throughout the course of the project, as applicable. Similarly, the College will apply principles of sustainability and related best practices in its daily maintenance and operation. In accordance with this policy, Crown Hall achieved LEED Silver certification, and Kravis Center achieved LEED Gold. The Mid-Quad dormitory additions were built to LEED silver standards, and the Roberts Pavilion achieved gold LEED certification in 2016.

Master Plan incorporates sustainability as major consideration
Following the College’s Master Plan, the campus landscape will be transformed over time to better utilize native and drought-tolerant plant species consistent with the micro-climate of the region. The goal of significantly reducing the use of irrigation for non-native plant species and lawn areas throughout the campus is a central objective of the landscape portion of the Master Plan. In addition, opportunities to reduce the amount of storm water runoff will be incorporated into the landscape planning by significantly increasing pervious surfaces throughout future development. Tree-planted green courts on the east and west sides of buildings will provide a buffer against solar heat gain.