UCT was one of the original signatories of the Talloires Declaration in 1990 and recommitted to that declaration in 2001. In the same year, the Environmental Management Working Group (EMWG) was formed. The function of this group is to guide Properties and Services in its operations on campus with regards to energy saving, grounds and gardens management, etc.
In 2008 a document called the Green Campus Policy Framework was formally adopted by Council and Senate. This document is a framework for responsible resource use and environmental sustainability at the university. As a direct result of this document, a Green Campus Action Plan was created in 2009.
In 2012 the university became a signatory to the ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter. (The International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) is a global forum dedicated to sustainability best practices.)
In 2019 UCT developed its environmental sustainability strategy and in 2020 the Environmental Management Working Group was converted into a formal university committee called the Environmental Management Committee (EMC) reporting into the University Building & Development Committee (UB&DC) that reports into Council. This provides a governance structure when it comes to green campus issues at the university.