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Report Card 2010

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Brown University
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Brown University

School details:

  Overall College Sustainability Leader

  Campus Sustainability Leader

  Endowment Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $2,040 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Enrollment: 8,020

Type: Private


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


Data compiled from independent research. For information on data collection and evaluation, please see the Methods section.

Overall grade  
A -
The Energy and Environmental Office at Brown has created an energy action plan, the results of which are reported in a sustainability progress report. A purchasing policy takes into account materials, vendor sourcing, and disposal. It specifies that all cleaning products are Green Seal-certified, all pesticides are organic, and all paper is 30 percent postconsumer content at minimum.
Brown has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 42 percent below 2007 levels by 2020 for existing buildings. In the first year of this commitment, the university saw a 7.7 percent reduction. The heating plant cogenerates electricity. An energy efficiency investment program, which will help the school meet future reduction targets, has funded 30 projects.
Through the Community Harvest program, Brown makes local food a priority, purchasing from over 20 local farmers and over 30 local processors. Most food scraps are composted or sent to a local pig farmer. All take-out containers are biodegradable. An end-of-semester move-out program collected 15 tons of unwanted goods for donation.
New construction must meet LEED Silver standards and consume at least 25 percent less energy than state code requires. There is one LEED Silver building on campus, and seven more under construction. The majority of buildings have been fitted with energy-efficient lighting, motion sensors, light timers, and steam trap systems.
Brown has an environmental program house and eight student groups that focus on sustainability. Eco-Reps provide leadership within dorms and have addressed trayless dining, bottled water reduction, and a move-out donation program. The emPower student group has reduced bottled water purchases and campaigned for Brown's carbon reduction commitment.
Employees are given cash incentives for carpooling. Anyone with a Brown ID can ride Rhode Island public transportation for free, and a shuttle goes around campus and to nearby destinations. There is a bike- and car-sharing program. Master plan policies discourage students and employees from driving.
The university makes all holdings available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community, and asset allocation is available to the public online. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions by category is available to all members of the school community on a password-protected website.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds. Through the Social Choice Donor option, individuals giving $25,000 or more can choose to have their money invested in companies that are working toward sustainability. Brown's investment managers consider sustainability factors.
Students, faculty, staff, and alumni serve on an advisory committee, which makes proxy voting recommendations to the board on environmental and social matters. The university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting for corporate governance matters.
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