About us

The Sustainable State Institute is the outcome of a sustainability project launched by the Trenton-based non-governmental organization New Jersey Future in 1995. Over several years, a broad group of stakeholders developed a set of sustainability goals and indicators for the state. The process involved close to two thousand participants from state government, NGOs, business, educational organizations, faith-based organizations, local government, and other citizen groups. It led to the identification of eleven goals, plus forty-one indicators with which to track progress towards the goals.

The first edition of those indicators, Living With the Future in Mind 1999 was published by New Jersey Future. It included a description of the goals and a presentation on each indicator, showing trends in its value over the past decade and describing how it contributes to the sustainability goals.

The state played a key role throughout this process. In 1999 then-Governor Whitman issued an executive order requiring all state agencies to pursue policies compatible with the goals, collaborate with each other to further the goals, and to report to the governor each year on their progress. Responding to this order, the Department of Environmental Protection convened an interagency working group, which issued an update of the indicators, Living With the Future in Mind 2000. The working group then undertook a detailed analysis of how state activities could be used to further the sustainability goals. This was issued in 2002 in the report Governing with the Future in Mind.

The experience of developing and calculating the indicators showed that the goals and indicators could be a useful tool to spur more sustainable behavior. The participants in the Sustainable State project, both at New Jersey Future and in the Department of Environmental Protection, wanted to ensure that they would be calculated regularly and used to establish targets for state progress, and to encourage businesses, institutions, government agencies, and individuals to set their own goals to help the state achieve its targets.

After much consideration, they decided that an independent institute would provide the best anchor for the goals and indicators. Two schools offered to jointly host the new institute, the York Center for Environmental Engineering and Science at New Jersey Institute of Technology and the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. A Memorandum of Understanding between New Jersey Future and the two schools sets out the basic guidelines for operations of Institute. It calls for a Board of Governors whose members come from government, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and business. A state appropriation provided start-up funds and work began in June 2002.

By Train:

We are a ten-minute walk from the NJ Transit station in New Brunswick. From the main entrance to the station, turn left and walk a short block to George Street, the main commercial street in downtown New Brunswick. Turn right onto George and walk about five short blocks to Livingston Avenue, which is a diagonal right off of George. Walk down Livingston past two theaters. The Bloustein School is a 5-story modern red-brick building just after the theaters.

By Bike:

Follow your map and directions above to get to the Bloustein School. Safe bike racks are available in the basement parking garage of our building. The entrance to the garage is around the corner off of New Street, on Kirkpatrick Street. Bikes are not allowed upstairs in the building.

By Car:

Take exit 9 off the New Jersey Turnpike. Keep right through the tolls and follow signs to Routes 18 and 1. Once onto 18 and 1, shift into the left lane to stay on Rte 18. Once past the two exits for Route 1, shift into the right lane on Rte 18. Go a total of two miles from the tolls to the New Street exit into New Brunswick. The Bloustein School is a large modern red-brick building on the right side of New Street, less than a quarter of a mile from Rte 18. The parking garage is under the building; to get to it, go past the school and turn right onto Kirkpatrick Street, then right down the garage ramp. If you are coming for an appointment, please feel free to contact us in advance so we can arrange for parking in the building. Our office is room 155.