2008 College Sustainability Report Card

Cambridge, MA (January 1, 2008)- The College Sustainability Report Card is a comparative evaluation of campus and endowment sustainability activities at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. In contrast to the academic focus on sustainability in research and teaching, the Report Card examines colleges and universities, as institutions, through the lens of sustainability.


Sustainability signifies meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Are these considerations guiding how resources are managed in campus operations and endowment practices? The Report Card is designed to identify colleges and universities that are leading by example on sustainability. The aim is to provide accessible information for schools to learn from each other’s experiences and establish more effective sustainability policies.
Just as the grading system serves as an incentive in the classroom, the Report Card’s grading system seeks to encourage sustainability as a priority in college operations and endowment investment practices by offering independent yearly assessments of progress. The focus is on policies and practices in eight main categories: Administration, Climate Change & Energy, Food & Recycling, Green Building, Transportation, Endowment Transparency, Investment Priorities, and Shareholder Engagement.
The two areas that overlap directly with urban forestry are:
* Schools are taking on climate change through aggressive carbon reduction commitments. A significant shift occurred in addressing climate change, with the proportion of schools committing to reductions in carbon emissions more than tripling (from 14 to 50 percent). Notably, more than 25 percent of the schools have committed to achieving carbon neutrality in the long term by signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. For more details, see page 14.
* Green building policies are becoming more widespread. The percentage of schools with green building policies increased from 48 to 69 percent.
Now in its second year, the College Sustainability Report Card covers the colleges and universities with the 200 largest endowments in the United States and Canada, representing more than $343 billion in endowment assets, or more than 80 percent of all university endowments. It doubles the number of schools included in the first edition of the Report Card and provides insights into recent trends.
Related Resources:
2008 College Sustainability Report Card
Sustainable Endowments Institute