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Report Card 2010

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Key Findings

Among the 332 schools evaluated this year, the level of campus sustainability initiatives far outpaces that of endowment sustainability activity. For all schools in the  College Sustainability Report Card 2010 , key findings include:


More than one-half of schools earned an overall grade of “B-” or better (53 percent, or 176 schools).  The cumulative grade distribution is as follows: 8 percent of schools earned cumulative “A” level grades, 45 percent earned “B” level grades, 34 percent earned “C” level grades, and 13 percent earned “D” level grades.


Campus sustainability initiatives outshine endowment sustainability activity.  Strong performance across all six campus categories resulted in a collective total of only 78 “F” grades. In contrast, a widespread lack of endowment sustainability activity resulted in 136 “F” grades in the Shareholder Engagement category and 87 “F” grades in the Endowment Transparency category.


Twenty six schools are recognized as overall Overall College Sustainability Leaders.  Schools whose campus operations and endowment practices merited an overall grade of “A-” qualify as Overall College Sustainability Leaders–our highest level of recognition. See list on the  Leadership Challenge  page.


More schools attained Campus Sustainability Leader status.  High marks for all six campus categories resulted in 80 colleges and universities achieving the Campus Sustainability Leader designation. All such schools received an average grade of “A-” or better for the campus categories. 


Twelve schools qualify as Endowment Sustainability Leaders.  These colleges were the only schools to receive an average grade of “A-” or better across all three endowment categories. 


A significant percentage of schools have endowment investments in renewable energy funds.  Currently, 44 percent of schools report having endowment investments in renewable energy funds. An additional 48 percent report exploring endowment investments in this area. As a result of this and other factors, 49 percent achieved “A” grades in the Investment Priorities category. For more details, see the  Investment Priorities  page.


Schools are weakest in Shareholder Engagement and Endowment Transparency categories.  The weakest category was Shareholder Engagement, with an average grade of “D”; 41 percent of schools received an “F” grade (an additional 23 percent could not be evaluated and received a grade of “NA”) while only 8 percent attained an “A” grade. Similarly, schools fared poorly in the Endowment Transparency category, receiving an average grade of “C-”; overall, 26 percent of schools received an “F” grade, while only 12 percent earned an “A” grade. For more details, see the  Shareholder Engagement  and Endowment Transparency  overviews.


Within the six campus categories, schools perform best in Administration and Food & Recycling. Both of these areas are influential in helping schools achieve their sustainability goals. An impressive 40 percent of schools earned an "A" grade in the Administration category, while only 5 percent earned an "F" grade. For more details, see the  Administration overview. Comparably, 36 percent of schools earned an "A" grade in the Food & Recycling category, while only 2 percent earned an "F" grade. For more details, see the Food & Recycling overview.


More than two-thirds of schools have full-time staff dedicated to sustainability. A majority of schools have recognized the need for full-time campus sustainability administrators. Currently, 68 percent report having dedicated sustainability staff, with additional schools announcing imminent hiring plans. For more details, see the Administration overview.

Increased attention to climate change is reflected in aggressive carbon reduction commitments.  With the urgency of confronting climate change receiving increasing attention, almost half the schools have made a commitment to carbon reduction. More than half of schools have committed to achieving carbon neutrality in the long term by signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. Many schools are already taking action,  with 40 percent purchasing at least some renewable energy while 45 percent have onsite wind, solar, or geothermal energy production. For more details, see the  Climate Change & Energy  overview.

For further facts and analysis, please refer to the summaries in the  Categories section and to the individual school profiles. The category summaries provide descriptions of each of the nine categories and brief highlights about leading schools. Leadership is also recognized by including a list of schools that received an "A" grade in each category.

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