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EDITED TO ADD on Oct. 27, 2020: AASHE and PLAN will meet mid-November to discuss processes and next steps.

Recently, PLAN, DivestEd, Uprooted & Rising: Real Meals Campaign, and UnKoch My Campus and others shared an open letter regarding the businesses we interact with, specifically related to sponsors at the Global Conference on Sustainability for Higher Education.

We are grateful for the opportunity to reflect on how we can better advance our mission while adhering to our values. Our goal is to identify strategies for doing this in partnership with our community especially given that AASHE engages with many different stakeholders and change agents.

While we wholeheartedly agree that there are many areas where AASHE can and needs to improve, and are eager to hear and explore strategies for doing so, this open letter doesn’t represent a collaborative approach to advancing our collective goals. There isn’t an invitation for dialogue and that’s pretty disappointing, especially coming from our partners.

We’re interested in having a discussion with representatives of the concerned organizations, to talk through the complexities at play, affirm our shared goals, and to explore possibilities for meeting them. This approach is representative of the collaborative spirit in which AASHE strives to operate.

We fully acknowledge that for-profit companies are all flawed, and many are engaged in deeply problematic practices. However, whether we like it or not, many campuses contract with these organizations and, as a result, they can play a significant role either in helping or hindering sustainability initiatives on those campuses. We want these companies invested in the AASHE community so they are part of the solutions we’re moving forward.

We reached out to the partner organization authoring this letter last week and await word to continue this important conversation.